Losing belly fat requires looking at different strategies and approaches. And to successfully get a flat stomach, it all depends on your genetics, your metabolism, your willpower, etc.
What works for your girlfriend won’t necessarily be your be-all and end-all solution. To simplify things, we compiled what we think are the 32 best flat belly tips to help rev your metabolism and lose your muffin top—once and for all.
There is however some work for you – you’ll have to do some trial and error to deduce which ones work best for you. But if you put in the work and incorporate a few of these tips each week, you’ll be well on your way to a smaller waistline. Who said your glory days in a bikini were over?
1. Eat more protein
About 25%-30% of the calories in each gram of protein are burned in digestion, compared to only 6%-8% of the calories in carbs. Do the math: You save 41 calories every time you substitute 50g of protein for an equal amount of carbs.
2. Read labels
Avoid foods with “high-fructose corn syrup” in the ingredients list. Since 1971, consumption of this sugar substitute—which is used to sweeten soda, commercial baked goods, and even condiments has increased more than 350% in the U.S., paralleling the rise in obesity.
3. Get off your hiney
Do every exercise standing instead of sitting. You’ll expend up to 30% more calories. Instead of chest press, try dips.
4. Embrace yardwork
View any type of physical activity—even those you try to avoid, such as mowing the lawn—as a chance to burn fat and condition your body. Just make sure you use a push mower (again, get off your hiney).
5. Better yourself
Challenge yourself to run farther in the same amount of time—even if it’s just one-tenth of a mile—every single workout. This ensures you’re always burning more calories from one workout to the next. And it also gauges how ‘fitter’ you’ve become.
6. Use smaller plates
That way, even if you fill your plate to capacity, you’re ultimately eating less than what you would likely pile on your existing platters.
7. Cut carbs
Yes, you’ve heard it a zillion times. The reason: It works. In just one of many recent studies, a Journal of Nutrition report found that men who reduced their carb intake to just 8% of their daily calories lost 7 pounds of fat and gained 2 pounds of muscle in six weeks.
8. Lift first, then run
By doing cardio after you’ve lifted—when you’re already tired—the same speed or intensity will have a greater effect than had you done it beforehand.
9. Fill up on high-fiber foods
Consider them “good carbs”. Their bulk takes up space in your stomach, helping you feel full and eat less. The top fiber food: beans, which contain 8g per 1/2 cup.
Research shows that women who added 12g of fiber a day to their diet lost a quarter of an inch from their muffin top, without otherwise modifying their diet.
10. Top your salad with vinaigrette dressing
Studies show that acidic foods such as vinegar and lemon juice work like lighter fluid in your body’s fat incinerator, increasing carb combustion 20%-40%. Researchers believe the acids blunt insulin spikes and slow the rate at which food empties from your stomach. Fermented foods like pickles and yogurt are also good sour options.
11. Don’t skip meals
Not eating for long periods of time puts your body into a catabolic state, meaning it starts to break down muscle tissue for energy—and conserves fat.
12. Don’t be a couch potato
If you’re a TV junkie, add up the number of hours you watch right now, and cut out all reruns—even if there’s an episode of Seinfeld on you’ve never seen. Spend the time you save on your feet: outdoors or in the gym.
13. Hit the weights
If you’re lazy, it’s not as bad as you think—just 10 minutes a day of lifting, three days a week will help. Harvard research shows that 30 minutes of weight training per week has a greater reduction on waist size than almost any other variable.
14. Drink water before a meal
The water will take up room in your stomach, making you feel fuller and reduce your appetite.
15. Ask for substitutions
Any time your restaurant entree comes with a side of pasta, potatoes, or rice, ask for vegetables instead. Your server will be more than happy to accommodate you.
16. Break up your cravings
That is, if you can’t live without ice cream, cake, or other calorie-laden desserts, go ahead and have one scoop or one small slice. Then, if you still want more, wait 20 minutes. Typically, you’ll find that while you wait, hormones kick in and trigger a feeling of fullness, reducing desire for that second serving.
17. Brush your teeth more often
In a recent Japanese study of 14,000 people, researchers found that women who brushed their teeth frequently were leaner than women who did not. Thank that minty-fresh flavor, which may make you less likely to snack between meals.
18. Eat an unbalanced diet
By cycling your calorie intake so that you eat less calories one day and more the next, you’ll keep your metabolism on its toes. And that’ll ensure you keep burning fat at a high rate. The key: shoot for an average of 2,000 calories a day over a week’s time.
19. Dial up an incline
When you run outside, you apply force to the ground and propel your bodyweight forward all by yourself. When you run on a treadmill, the belt helps you. To counteract this, always walk or run on at least a 1% incline, the treadmill grade an English study found is nearly equivalent to outside running.
20. Have breakfast every day
Research from Harvard and Boston’s Children’s Hospital shows that obesity rates are 35%-50% lower in people who eat breakfast regularly, compared with folks who don’t. Nutritionists believe a.m. meals help regulate insulin levels and hunger, so you’re less likely to overeat throughout the reminder of the day.
21. Avoid foods that come in a bag or box
Typically, these are highly processed carbs—foods that quickly raise blood-sugar levels and shut down your body’s ability to burn fat.
22. Snack between meals
This not only keeps you from being ravenous—and overeating—at lunch and dinner, it forces your body to process food all day long, which keeps your metabolism stoked.
23. Load up on yogurt
When researchers at the University of Tennessee put a group of volunteers on one of two diets—one high in calcium and one not—and cut each group’s calorie intake by 500 calories, they found that the people getting calcium lost twice as much weight (an average of 13lbs) compared with people on the standard diet.
24. Do sprint intervals
Interspersing short, all-out sprints with brief periods of rest is the most effective form of cardio for fat loss, Try a 2-to-1 “work-to-rest” ratio. That is, sprint two times longer than you rest. So if you run a 150-yard sprint—a good distance to start with—in 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, then repeat 3-7 times.
25. Find inspiration
Take a digital picture of yourself, shirtless at the beginning of your journey. Every couple of weeks, take a progress pic to visually document your progress. It’ll help you stay accountable.
26. Get enough restful sleep
By restful, we don’t mean falling asleep with the lights on or your tv as background noise Studies show that people who don’t get enough restful sleep tend to gain more weight, especially in their mid-section.
A 16-year study in more than 68,000 women found that those who slept less than five hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept seven hours or more per night.
Now, can you argue with a 16 year study with 68,000 participants? Nuff said.
27. Cheat once a week
Use the meal as a reward for a week’s worth of hard work, or the completion of a project you’ve been dreading. It’s OK for people to blow one meal a week without feeling guilty. If you follow a healthy diet 95% of the time, you can relax and enjoy yourself the other 5% of the time without gaining weight.
28. Avoid white bread
When Tufts University researchers studied the waistlines and diets of 459 people, they found that even in women of similar age and activity level, those who ate white bread frequently weighed more than those who didn’t. The calories from white bread and refined grains just seem to settle at the waistline more than calories from other foods.
29. Keep an eye on portion sizes
Most people who have been lean their whole lives have a much better understanding of proper portion size than people who are overweight. If they go out to eat, they’re much more likely to ask for a doggie bag right away or to leave food on their plate rather than cleaning it up.
30. Never forbid yourself a favorite food
Here’s a shocker: When a group of U.K. researchers told 30 women to avoid chocolate, then packed them into a room filled with the stuff; the women were much more likely to sneak a bite than individuals who hadn’t been given the order. Blame the allure of the forbidden: The more you tell yourself you can’t eat something you love, the more you’re going to want it.
31. Don’t starve yourself
Under normal conditions, humans absorb only about 80% of the nutrients from the food they eat. But when the body is deprived of nourishment, it becomes a super-efficient machine, pulling what nutrients it can from whatever food is consumed. Start eating again normally and your body may not catch up; instead it will continue to store food as fat.
32. Eat with a purpose
Renowned nutrition expert John Barban has long been known for his focus on the inherent differences between men and women when it comes to getting results from diet and exercise. He recently started emphasizing what he calls the “5 wonder veggies for women.”
Studies showed that when women added these common vegetables to their diet their metabolisms (and as a result, weight loss) increased significantly, regardless of the woman’s lifestyle or body shape. Learn the 5 veggies in this video (1:05 mark) that explains how it works.
Now, these don’t seem so hard to work into your lifestyle, do they? So, let’s get going