If you’re like most people, you likely look at your mid-section as your biggest area for improvement. Belly fat not only impacts the way you fit in your clothes and your confidence level, it can also be very harmful to your health leading way to such issues as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
In your attempt to de-jiggle your middle you may have spent hours doing cardio and ab exercises only to find that although your efforts are grand, your results are minimal. The truth is that while exercise is important to 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!
- Fiber up – Increasing your soluble fiber not only reduces weight by helping you feel full and reduce calories, it also 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%. 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. 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 getting a flat stomach. Not only does protein help you feel full longer, decreasing your overall calorie intake and the dreaded hanger binge, it also boosts your metabolism helping you gain and retain muscle mass, which as you may have heard, muscle burns more calories than fat. 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. It’s 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.
- 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.