Losing weight, particularly around your midsection, can be a difficult journey.
Not only does excess belly fat make you feel bloated and self-conscious, but it can also put you at risk of developing serious health issues.
However, with the following collection of tips and tricks, you can start making progress towards your goal of achieving a flat belly in a safe and steady manner.
It’s important to note that achieving a slimmer waistline requires a combination of dedication to both diet and exercise.
By cleaning up your diet and prioritizing your workouts, you’ll not only look better, but also decrease your risk of developing serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
These tips will not only help you achieve a flat belly, but they will also improve your overall health and well-being.
1. Reduce Your Calorie Intake
Your body requires a certain amount of calories to function properly.
Decreasing your caloric intake too much will cause your metabolism to crash.
Obviously, this would be the opposite of what we want! Instead of cutting 500-1000 calories from your diet each day, cut 200-300 and make up the difference with exercise!
If you can maintain a deficit of 500 calories a day, through a combination of diet and exercise, you will progress towards your goals at a safe and steady pace. This would allow you to lose approximately 1 pound per week.
2. Eat More Protein
Protein will not only reduce your appetite and help you maintain muscle mass, but it also forces your body to work harder during digestion, burning even more calories in the process.
Studies have also shown that people who eat a high-protein diet, typically have slimmer waists.
If you’re looking to lose weight and maintain your current muscle mass, you should aim to get 20-30% of your daily calories from protein.
For instance if you eat 1500 calories a day, 300-500 of them should come from protein.
If your goal is to build strength or more muscle, you should aim for 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight.
For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you’ll aim to eat 140 grams of protein, each day.
3. Pick More Whole Foods
Whole, single-ingredient foods, are extremely nutrient-dense while remaining relatively low in calories (compared to processed foods.)
These foods make it difficult to overeat, thus aiding in the weight loss process.
When calorie intake is decreased, your body will burn fat for energy instead.
Examples of whole foods are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish, and unprocessed meat.
4. Up Your Soluble Fiber Intake
Soluble fiber will slow the passage of food through your digestive tract, allowing you to feel fuller, longer.
Additionally, studies have shown that soluble fiber may decrease the amount of calories that your body can absorb from food.
There is also some evidence to show that consuming more fiber will decrease your risk of developing fat around your organs, thus reducing your risk of several different diseases, as well.
If you want to increase your fiber intake, you should eat more oats, legumes, avocado, blackberries, and flaxseeds.
5. Choose Foods Rich in “Good Fats”
Also referred to as monounsaturated fatty acids, good fats have the ability to decrease (or prevent) the accumulation of abdominal fat.
Some of the best examples of these foods include olive oil, avocado, nuts, or seeds.
6. Cut Out All Refined Carbs
These processed carbohydrates can negatively affect your metabolism and cause you to gain weight around the midsection. Replacing these refined carbohydrates with whole grains will actually have the opposite effect! Your metabolism will function optimally and belly fat will decrease.
7. Incorporate Probiotics Into Your Diet
Having the right composition of beneficial gut flora (bacteria) can play a huge role in weight maintenance, weight loss, and a decrease in belly fat.
8. Eat a Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar a Day
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which has been shown to reduce the accumulation of fat all over the body, especially the waistline.
All it takes is a tablespoon a day. You can choose to drink it directly or add it to salad dressing or a beverage.
9. Drink More Water
Staying hydrated will not only increase your metabolism and “de-bloat” you, but also trick your body into thinking it’s full so that you consume fewer calories at every meal.
In order to accomplish this, you should drink a full glass of water before every meal. The average adult should drink a minimum of 64 oz. of water each day.
10. Learn to De-Stress
Stress will cause your body to produce cortisol, which is directly related to an increase in belly fat.
When you’re stressed, you also have a tendency to experience an increase in appetite, usually for sweet, processed foods.
If your life is stressful, you should find a way to de-stress, naturally.
Our favorite ways to relax are through exercise and yoga!
11. Get More Sleep
Speaking of relaxing, sleep plays a direct role in weight loss and weight gain.
One study showed that adults who consistently got less than 5 hours of sleep put themselves at a greater risk of developing abdominal fat.
This is widely due to the fact that consistently not getting enough sleep will cause you to snack and over eat the next day.
Do what you’ve gotta do to get a little more rest each night.
Turn off the electronics an hour earlier, or meal prep ahead of time so that you can sleep a little longer in the morning!
Your mind and body will thank you!
12. Cut Out Sugar
Sugar contains fructose, which has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess.
These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease.
Observational studies show a relationship between high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat.
It’s important to realize that more than just refined sugar can lead to belly fat gain.
Even healthier sugars, such as real honey, should be used sparingly.