How would you like a straight-talking guide to losing belly fat that won't have you doing endless crunches or taking bogus pills?
Belly fat isn't just unsightly; it's dangerous too. Excess fat around the midsection can crowd internal organs and put your health in jeopardy.
In fact, studies have shown that people who carry extra weight in their abdomen have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The only way to reduce belly fat is to reduce your overall body fat percentage through healthy diet and exercise. While you're working on the big picture, you can follow these tips to flatten your belly faster:
Find an ab routine you can stick with
Let's face it: Crunches just aren't very fun, especially if you do hundreds of them every day. Luckily, there are other ways to flatten your belly that won't leave you bored.
Look for challenging routines that strengthen your core, like Pilates or exercises with a stability ball. You could also try cardio workouts that feature lots of abdominal work, such as bellydancing.
Many people smoke because they believe it helps them relax and helps them stay thin. Actually, the opposite is true.
Besides its other detrimental effects, smoking can actually make you fatter around the middle.
That's because, in spite of the fact that smoking is thought to be relaxing, it actually stimulates production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol causes the body to store fat, particularly around the belly.
According to Dr. Jacob Seidell of the National Institute of Health in the Netherlands, smokers generally have more abdominal fat than their non-smoking peers.
By quitting, you can trim your belly fat and reduce your risk for heart and lung disease.
Skip the alcohol
There's a reason why people associate beer with big bellies: People who drink more than one alcoholic beverage at a sitting are far more likely to have higher BMIs than those who drink only sparingly.
Alcohol gives you extra calories but doesn't provide nutrition. It can also lower your inhibitions toward overeating. These are good reasons to sip on water or tea instead.
Eat more fiber
Sometimes belly bulges are caused by a problem that can be embarrassing to talk about: constipation. To combat this, you should consume at least 35 grams of fiber each day in the form of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
This will keep your bowel movements regular and, in turn, make your stomach appear flatter.
Drink more water
Some people hesitate to drink water when they're already retaining fluid, but water is actually the solution to the bloating problem.
When you put more water into your system, your body will let go of the fluid it's been holding onto. Water will also help curb your appetite; sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger, leading to endless cravings and mindless snacking.
Snack on fat-burning superfoods
Wise food choices can help shrink your belly. When you snack, choose whole roasted almonds, boiled eggs and low-fat dairy products.
These foods contain just enough fat and protein to leave you feeling fuller longer. Plus, they have all been featured in studies linking them to increased fat burning ability.
Work your abs all day long
You can give your abs a constant workout by practicing good posture.
When you're sitting at a desk, pull yourself forward to the edge of your seat. Straighten your spine, scoop your tailbone up, and pull in your ribs to activate those abs. You can keep the ab work going while you run errands too.
Simply suck in your stomach as much as you can, imagining that there's a magnet pulling your navel back into your spine.