The Secret to Flatter Abs
Carrying around extra fat around your midsection is not just uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. Getting rid of belly fat is simple, but not easy. If it were, everyone would have a six pack and you wouldn't be reading this. Talk to experts and they'll tell you, it's not impossible.
Here are the top 10 tips (according to my research) to getting a flatter tummy.
- Eat Soluble Fiber. It absorbs water and slows down food as it passes through your system. This makes you feel full lover, so you eat less. Find a way to add good sources of soluble fiber to your diet like flaxseeds, shirataki noodles, brussel sprouts, avocado (hell yes!) legumes, and blackberries.
- JUST SAY NO to trans fats. Once again, this is simple. If you're eating clean, whole foods, you avoid this altogether. If it says "partially hydrogenated" on the label, put that ish down! You'll mainly find trans fats in processed foods.
- Don't drink too much alcohol. Now I like a celebration as much as the next gal but studies show that people who consume less than one alcoholic drink a week (how is this possible?) have smaller midsections. If you have questions about this skip to number 6.
- Eat a high protein diet. High protein diets make you feel fuller and also raises your metabolic rate. This means that you burn calories at a higher rate. look for good sources of protein like nuts, fatty fish and lean cuts of meat. It may seem exotic, but try going wild! If you have any hunter friends try some wild game. Meats like venison, buffalo, and antelope are out there eating grass and getting plenty of exercise. I got my hands on some ground antelope meat a few weeks ago and made tacos. They were the BOMB!
- Limit stress. Stress hormones make the body hold onto fat. Stress also leads to a lot of unhealthy behaviors like overeating and drinking too much. Stress is usually a big factor when it comes to disease in general. Whatever floats your boat to eliminate stress, do it! Take a walk, take a bath, spend time doing something you love. I also suggest meditation and powering down those smartphones for at least an hour during the day. Constant notifications make our brains feel like they are always "on".
- Cut the sugar. When I decided I wanted to take my body to the next level, (I'm still a work in progress BTW but aren't we all?) my health coach told me one thing. "You need to cut the sugar way down. I mean to almost nothing" I'm still battling that fight because she told me this during girl scout cookie season. If revealing the muscles in your abs or any part of your body is a priority, you will need to evaluate how much sugar you consume. Alcohol contains a lot of sugar as well. Stay away from the "diet" drinks and fake sugar as well. There are too many chemical complications to outweigh the benefits of a "sugar-free" treat.
- Get your cardio in. This may seem intuitive but you have to move your body. When you lose fat anywhere, you'll lose fat everywhere, including your tummy.
- Cut back on carbs - especially refined ones. Refined carbs are broken down into two types: sugars (once again, go back to #6.) and refined grains. Refined grains are grains that have had all the fibrous and nutritious parts removed, such as white flour. Basically, they're empty calories that spike your blood sugar and provide no nutritional value. If it's got no nutritional value, why the hell are you eating it? It is not fuel. The main sources we see most often are white flour, white bread, white rice, pastries, sodas, snack foods, pasta, sweets, breakfast cereals and added sugars.
- Lift weights. It's not enough to do ab workouts alone. Building muscle mass all over will help you in getting the toned tummy you want. And muscles are friendly, so they like to work together. If you are only doing crunches and not working your back or vice versa, you're more like to injure yourself.
- Probiotics - all those happy little bacteria helps get rid of the bloated feeling and balance your gut. You don't have to take fancy supplements or specially branded yogurt either. Fermented vegetables are the way to go. Double check that you're getting non-pasteurized saur kraut and kimchee though. The pasteurized kind has all the natural probiotics processed right out of them.
BONUS: All these tips will help improve your overall health and lead to a flatter tummy. But what if you want a six pack? Then you'll actually have to "work it" There are no shortcuts! It's rumored that Demi Moore did 100 sit-ups and crunches a day to prepare herself for the 1996 hit, Striptease. If you're old enough to remember that movie, you remember how hot she looked and probably wanted the same body for yourself. It doesn't have to be just sit ups. Bicycle crunches, planks, and standing side bends work as well. Mix it up! You won't get bored and soon you'll see some progress!