If you’re like most people, you likely look at your mid-section as your biggest area for improvement. Unfortunately, an increase in your belly size may be instantly visible, giving the appearance of a bloated belly and impacting the way you fit in your clothes and your confidence level. More importantly it can also be very harmful to your health leading the way for issues such as, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
In your attempt to de-jiggle your middle you may have spent hours doing cardio and abs exercises only to find that although your efforts are grand, your results are minimal. The truth is that while exercise is important for shaping svelte abs, it’s not quite enough. What you put in your mouth actually has a greater impact on your waistline than any efforts you could make in the gym. Let me fill you in on what it really takes to reduce belly bloat or fat!
- Fiber up – Increasing your soluble fiber not only reduces weight by helping you feel full but also reduces the calorie intake, all of which significantly reduces belly fat. Some studies have shown that just eating 10 grams of fiber a day can help decrease belly fat by 3.7%. Increase your fresh fruit and vegetable servings to up your fiber intake. Great examples of soluble fiber include berries, apples, flaxseed, broccoli, beans, and oatmeal.
- Say no to one more drink – While an occasional glass of red wine has been shown to have many health benefits, downing a bottle with dinner on a Saturday night will have adverse effects. Not only does the consumption of alcohol increase your number of empty calories, it also fights against your body’s metabolism, slowing it down over time. And when your metabolism slows down, it can quickly lead to fat gain around the midsection or belly area. So if you’re truly dedicated to a trimmer tummy, cut back to a couple of drinks a week.
- Increase your protein – Ensuring you’re eating an adequate amount of protein is a major key to minimizing belly bloat and achieving a flat stomach. Protein intake can help you feel full longer, resulting in a decrease in your overall calorie intake and the dreaded hanger binge. Plus it also boosts your metabolism helping you gain and retain muscle mass. And as you may have heard, muscle burns more calories than fat and can help reduce belly bloat. So be sure to increase your protein consumption. In fact make it a rule of thumb to include protein with every meal. Some examples include chicken, fish, eggs, and greek yogurt.
- Say no to sugar (sometimes) – Sugar is one of the biggest contributors to belly fat, mainly because we simply eat too much of it. It is linked to a heavier mid-section because we are inclined to over-eat sugary treats, which adds up quickly, sending us way over our daily caloric goal. Besides belly bloating or an increase in your waistline, sugar is also a major contributor to obesity in general as well as heart disease and diabetes. If you need something sweet in your diet, it’s best to eat it in moderation. Also refrain as much as possible from drinking fruit juices, even the so-called 100% natural juices, which tend to be loaded with sugar.
- Incorporate resistance training – If you are dieting, a common side effect is loss of muscle mass. When we lose muscle, our metabolic rate drops which in turn decreases the number of calories we burn. Incorporating resistance training on a regular basis prevents the loss of muscle mass, in turn helping you to maintain and improve your metabolic rate. An enhanced metabolism can help curb the fat deposits around your waist, thereby reducing the probability of gaining belly fat or getting a belly bloat.
- Lower stress – Increasingly fast-paced lives with work pressure and other challenges can lead to raised stress levels. While mental strain and worry can be harmful on all counts, it can have an especially debilitating effect on your fat loss efforts, especially around the waist. Increased stress levels lead to elevated cortisol levels, which in turn can increase your resistance to insulin and also increase appetite. So keeping your stress levels in check is essential for reducing or keeping belly fat at bay. Try incorporating relaxing techniques whenever you feel your stress levels rising.
Following these simple belly fat reducing tips can take you closer to your goal of achieving a flattened stomach. To take the guesswork out of changing your body for good, consider joining SloaneSquad and take the guess work out of changing your body for good! Or, you may want to check out the One-on-One Life Coaching Plan for an even more personalized workout plan.