If only getting rid of a muffin top was as easy as, well, eating a muffin. The good news is that no matter what body shape you were handed down by your family -- pear, apple or muffin -- you too can have a flat stomach, even if the rest of your body is already lean. All fat is created equally, which means that by burning more than you eat, you will lose extra fat. And the good news is that although you cannot choose where to lose fat, if you don't have fat anywhere else, you will likely lose your belly fat quickly. With the right diet, exercise and relaxation, you can get a flat stomach.
Change your eating habits. Aim to cut 500 calories each day in your diet, which will amount to a loss of 1 pound each week. Eat small meals every three to four hours to keep your metabolism going and avoid overeating. Avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, packaged foods, white breads and pastas. Skip alcohol unless it’s red wine. Add foods like nuts, seeds, olive oil, green tea, whole-grain pasta and bread, avocados and salmon to your diet.
Get moving. Include between 30 to 60 minutes of cardio such as running, biking, dancing or swimming five days per week in your routine. Perform weight training at least two days per week, scheduling at least 48 hours in between each weight-lifting session. If your muscles are sore after cardio or weight lifting, wait until those muscles are no longer sore to continue working that muscle group. Also, jog or bike to work and take the stairs to burn even more calories. The more you move, the more calories you will burn and the faster you will whittle away at extra fat.
De-stress your life. Whether that means taking a walk, soaking in the tub or going out with friends, find your own way to release stress. Stress means high cortisol levels, which results in the destruction of lean muscle in your body -- the type of muscle that burns calories in the best way. That means fewer calories are burned. Plus, high cortisol levels also encourage your body to store belly fat. Kick stress to help lose your belly.
Sleep at least seven hours each night. Lack of sleep results in eating more and higher cortisol levels, both of which result in a bigger stomach.
Tone your tummy. Once you get rid of stomach fat, you’ll want to have ab muscles to show for all of your hard work. Do the plank at least three times each day. Put your forearms flat on the floor. Push your body off of the floor, balancing on your forearms and your toes. Keep your body in a straight line. Hold the position for 30 seconds or as long as you can.
Tips & Warnings
- Check in with your health care practitioner before beginning a new weight-loss plan.
- Cosmopolitan: 7 Habits That Are Giving You Belly Pudge
- Oprah: Get Rid of Belly Fat
- Canadian Living: 8 Ways to Blast Belly Fat: Exercise and Diet Tips for a Slimmer Stomach
- Forbes: 6 Ways to Burn Your Belly Fat Fast
- Health: 25 Ways to Cut 500 Calories a Day
- Shape: 5 Core Exercises Better than Crunches
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