Losing fat around the abdomen can be a battle. In addition to being a risk factor for various diseases, excess abdominal fat can affect people’s mood. Fortunately, several strategies have proven to be especially effective in reducing waist size. If you dream of having a flat stomach, this article may be just what you need. Here are 30 methods backed by science to reach the goal of a flat abdomen:
1. Decrease Calories, But Not Too Much:
It is a well known fact that it is necessary to decrease calories to lose weight. The most common premise is to reduce the daily intake from 500 to 1,000 calories to expect to lose approximately 1-2 pounds (0.5-1 kg) per week. However, exaggerated restriction of calorie intake can be counterproductive. Eating too few calories can cause a significant decrease in metabolic rate, or the number of calories burned daily. In one study, a group of people who ate 1,100 calories per day decreased their metabolic rate more than double than those who consumed about 1,500 calories per day for four consecutive days. What’s more, this decrease in metabolic rate can persist even after starting to behave as it normally does. That means you may have a lower metabolic rate than you had before severely restricting your calorie intake. Therefore, it is important that you do not restrict your calorie intake too much or for too long.
Summary: Eating low calories can slow the metabolic rate, even in the long term. Therefore, it is important not to restrict calories too much or for too long.
2. Eat More Fiber, Especially Soluble Fiber:
Soluble fibers absorb large amounts of water and slow the passage of food through the digestive tract. This has been shown to make food longer in the stomach, causing it to expand and make you feel full. In addition, soluble fiber can decrease the number of calories that the body is able to absorb from food.
“By eating soluble fiber, fat is also less likely to accumulate around the organs, which reduces waist circumference and the risk of various diseases”.
An observational study showed that each 10 gram increase in daily soluble fiber intake decreased fat gain around the midsection by 3.7% for five years. Good sources of soluble fibers are, among others, oats, flax seeds, avocados, legumes, Brussels sprouts and blackberries.
Summary: Eating soluble fiber has been linked to a lower risk of developing fat around the waist.
3. Take Probiotics:
Probiotics are live bacteria, it has been suggested that they play an important role in weight loss and maintenance. It has been shown that people who are overweight and obese have different intestinal bacteria compositions than people of normal weight, which can influence weight gain and fat distribution. A regular intake of probiotics can change the balance towards beneficial intestinal flora, reducing the risk of weight gain and fat accumulation in the abdominal cavity. Some strains of probiotics have proven particularly effective in reducing belly fat. These include:
- Lactobacillus fermentum
- Lactobacillus amylovorus
- Lactobacillus gasseri
Some foods contain probiotics such as: some types of yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi and pickles. There is also a wide variety of probiotic supplements available. However, these supplements usually contain several strains of bacteria, so be sure to choose one that contains at least one of the strains mentioned above.
Summary: Probiotics can help create beneficial intestinal flora. Some strains of Lactobacillus have proven particularly effective in reducing waist size.
4. Do Cardio:
Doing cardio, or aerobic exercise, is a great way to burn calories and improve overall health. In addition, studies have shown that it is very effective in strengthening the midsection and reducing the waist. Studies usually recommend doing 150-300 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate intensity at high intensity weekly, which translates into approximately 20-40 minutes per day. Some examples of cardio are: running, brisk walking, cycling and rowing.
Summary: Doing moderate to high intensity cardio for 20-40 minutes per day has proven effective in reducing belly fat.
5. Drink Protein Shakes:
Getting enough protein in the diet can increase metabolism, reduce appetite and help with fat loss, especially the abdomen. In addition, studies have suggested that the addition of protein shakes to weight loss may be especially effective in reducing waist circumference.
Summary: Protein shakes are an easy way to add additional protein to the diet. Including them as part of a weight loss diet has proven effective in reducing waist size.
6. Eat Foods Rich in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids:
Monounsaturated fatty acids are liquid at room temperature and are usually classified as “good fats.” Studies show that diets high in monounsaturated fatty acids can prevent the accumulation of fat in the abdomen, the most dangerous type of fat. The Mediterranean diet is an example of a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, and has been linked to many health benefits, including a lower risk of central obesity. Some of the foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids are olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
Summary: Diets high in monounsaturated fatty acids can reduce the risk of central obesity.
7. Limit Carbohydrate Intake, Especially Refined Carbohydrates:
Limiting carbohydrate intake has been shown to have powerful health benefits, especially for weight loss. More specifically, studies show that low carb diets burn the fat that is lodged around the organs and causes your waist to expand. Some studies also suggest that you can significantly improve your metabolic health and reduce your waistline simply by replacing refined carbohydrates with whole, unprocessed carbohydrates. Observational studies have shown that people with higher intakes of whole grains are 17% less likely to have excess abdominal fat than those who consume diets high in refined carbohydrates.
Summary: Limiting total carbohydrate intake, as well as simply replacing refined carbohydrate intake with whole food carbohydrates, can reduce waist circumference and improve health.
8. Do Resistance Training:
Loss of muscle mass is a common side effect of the diet. This can be detrimental to the metabolic rate, since muscle loss decreases the number of calories burned daily. Doing resistance exercises regularly can prevent this loss of muscle mass and, in turn, helps maintain or improve the metabolic rate. On the other hand, resistance training can be especially effective in toning the middle area and reducing waist size. In fact, combining resistance training with aerobic exercise seems to be the most effective way to slim your waist.
Summary: Resistance training can prevent the loss of muscle mass that often occurs with diets, which can help maintain metabolic rate and reduce waist circumference.
9. Do Standing Exercises Instead of Sitting:
Performing foot exercises can benefit health rather than performing the same exercises while sitting or using weight machines. When standing, you activate more muscles to maintain balance and support your weight. Therefore, you will spend more energy while exercising. A study comparing the effects of standing and sitting exercises showed that some standing exercises increased muscle activation by 7-25%, compared to the sitting exercise session. Another study suggested that standing can improve breathing, compared to the sitting workout. Although this may seem like a small difference, it can strengthen the middle section and it is worth a try.
Summary: Stationary exercise instead of sitting can burn more calories, activate more muscles and improve oxygenation and breathing.
10. Add Apple Cider Vinegar to the Diet:
Apple cider vinegar is linked to several impressive health benefits, most of which are mainly attributed to its acetic acid content. Several animal studies have suggested that acetic acid may reduce the accumulation of body fat. Although studies in humans in this area are not enough, a study in obese men showed that taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every day for 12 weeks reduced their waistline by 0.5 inches (1.4 cm), on average.
Summary: Apple cider vinegar is mainly composed of acetic acid, a compound that can reduce the accumulation of body fat.
11. Walk at Least 30 Minutes Every Day:
A combination of diet and exercise is probably the most effective way to achieve weight loss and improve overall health. Interestingly, studies have shown that it is not necessary to exercise vigorously to obtain health benefits. Regular and energetic walks have been shown to effectively reduce total body fat and fat located around the abdomen. In fact, walking quickly for 30-40 minutes (about 7,500 steps) per day has been linked to a significant reduction in dangerous abdominal fat and a thinner waist.
Summary: Walking for 30 minutes a day can thin your waist and prevent the accumulation of dangerous abdominal fat.
12. Avoid Liquid Calories:
Sugary soda, fruit juices and energy drinks are generally loaded with sugar and liquid calories. It is also very easy to drink large amounts at a time, resulting in an abundance of empty calories. The issue with liquid calories is that your brain does not record them as if it records solid calories. Therefore, you will end up consuming these calories in addition to everything you eat or drink. One study showed that each daily serving of a sugary drink increased the risk of obesity by a huge 60% in children. These drinks generally contain significant amounts of fructose, which has been linked directly to belly fat gain.
Summary: The brain does not record liquid calories as it records solid calories. Therefore, they are added additionally to everything else that is consumed and contributes to weight gain.
13. Eat Whole Foods with Only One Ingredient:
The best dietary advice that can be given to someone is to base their diet on eating more whole foods, with only one ingredient. Whole foods are loaded with nutrients such as fiber, water, vitamins and minerals. This makes it very difficult to consume these foods, some of which even have their own benefits to prevent weight gain. Try to eat many whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, raw fish and meat.
Summary: All, single ingredient foods are loaded with nutrients, and it is difficult for them to eat too much.
14. Drink Water:
There are at least three ways in which water can help achieve a flat abdomen. First, it can help with weight loss by temporarily increasing the metabolic rate. In fact, drinking water can increase total energy expenditure by up to 100 calories per day. Second, drinking water before meals can make you feel fuller, so you will ultimately eat fewer calories. Third, it can help relieve constipation and reduce belly swelling. It is suggested to drink a large glass of water before each meal. This can help reach the goal.
Summary: Drinking water can increase the metabolic rate, make you feel full and help relieve constipation, all of which can contribute to achieving the goal of having a flatter abdomen.
15. Practice Consciously Eating:
Consciously eating is a technique that helps to recognize and cope with emotions and physical sensations regarding food and hunger. It’s about slowing down, eating without distraction, focusing on the signs of physical hunger and eating only until you feel full. Most studies agree that conscious eating helps you lose weight by changing eating behavior and reducing stress-related behavior, such as anxiety and binge eating. In addition, it is more likely to help you maintain weight in the long term, as it focuses on behavior change.
Summary: By eating consciously, you can focus on physical hunger and eat only until you are satisfied. Which reduces the risk of eating from stress or anxiety.
16. Avoid Swallowing Air and Gases:
The major source of gas in the diet is carbonated drinks such as soda. The bubbles in these drinks contain carbon dioxide, which is released from the liquid in the stomach. This can cause bloating or bloating. This can also happen when you chew gum, drink it through a cigarette or talk while eating. Eating in silence, drinking from a glass and changing carbonated drinks with water can help achieve a flatter abdomen.
Summary: Carbonated drinks and chewing gum can cause bloating in some people.
17. Do High Intensity Training:
A popular way to do high intensity training is to perform very intense activity intervals, such as running, rowing or jumping, with short breaks in the middle. This form of exercise causes the body to burn more fat and increase your metabolic rate, even long after you have finished training. It has been shown that high intensity training has superior effects on fat burning, compared to other types of exercises, and is especially effective for slimming the waist. In addition, this type of exercise takes much less time than other types of exercise, since it can usually be done 10 to 20 minutes.
Summary: High intensity training increases fat burning and metabolic rate, even long after training ends. It is especially effective for thinning the waist.
18. Reduce Stress Levels:
Stress and anxiety are very common, and most people experience them at some time in their lives. Stress is related to the development of many diseases, and is also a common reason why people tend to eat or overeat, often without being hungry in the first place. In addition, stress causes the body to produce cortisol, a stress hormone. Which is known to increase appetite and lead specifically to the storage of fat in the belly. This can be especially damaging in women who already have a wide waistline, as they tend to produce more cortisol in response to stress, which further increases belly fat gain. Try adding some activities to relieve stress to your daily routine, such as yoga or meditation.
Summary: Stress triggers cortisol production, which increases appetite and leads to fat storage in the belly.
19. Eat More Protein:
Protein is the most important nutrient when it comes to weight loss. The body burns more calories to digest protein than for fat or carbohydrates. Therefore, a high protein diet can represent an extra 80 to 100 calories burned per day. Protein-rich diets also reduce appetite, make you feel full and help retain muscle mass during weight loss. In addition, studies have observed that people who eat more protein have a thinner waist than those with less protein intake. The amount of protein needed depends on many factors, such as age, sex and activity level. In general, you should try to get between 20 and 30% of calories from protein based on daily intake. This can be easily achieved by incorporating a source of protein in each meal.
Summary: Protein-rich diets can increase metabolic rate, reduce appetite and help retain muscle mass during weight loss. They are also linked to lower abdominal obesity rates.
20. Tracking Food Intake:
When you are trying to lose weight, it can be useful to control food intake. There are several ways to do this, but the most popular and effective are counting calories, keeping a food diary and taking pictures of the food. You don’t have to do this all the time, but it can be good to track your intake for a few days in a row, every few weeks. This will make you more aware of calorie intake and will allow you to adjust the diet for weight loss if necessary. Studies generally agree that people who track their food intake are more likely to achieve their weight loss goals.
Summary: Tracking food intake from time to time can help you lose weight by making you more aware of your calorie intake.
21. Eat Eggs:
Eggs are healthy, high in protein and have some unique weight loss properties. A large egg is very nutritious and contains only about 77 calories. Some studies have shown that eating breakfast eggs as part of a calorie-restricted diet can cause weight loss up to 65% greater in eight weeks, compared to other types of breakfast foods. It has also been shown that an egg breakfast significantly reduces calorie intake over the next 24 hours, completely involuntarily and effortlessly. In addition, eggs have been shown to be more effective in reducing waist size than other foods with the same caloric content.
Summary: Eggs have well-established weight loss properties and may be more effective in reducing waist circumference than other foods when combined to obtain calories.
22. Get Enough Sleep:
Having a good rest and sleeping long enough is very important for weight loss. Studies have repeatedly shown that sleeping less than five hours a night for adults and less than 10 hours for children is associated with an increased risk of weight gain. In women, having short periods of sleep is constantly linked to increased waist size, compared to those who have a good night’s sleep. Similarly, people who lack sleep are up to 55% more likely to be obese. Fortunately, it has been shown that shifting sleep duration from shorter periods to healthier times helps eradicate these effects.
Summary: Those who do not get enough sleep are much more likely to gain weight and increase waist circumference, compared to those who sleep normal time ranges.
23. Try Intermittent Fasting:
Intermittent fasting is a nutritional method in which you oscillate between eating and fasting for specific amounts of time. The most popular intermittent fasting approaches pose a 24-hour fast two to four times a week or a 16: 8 fast, where time between meals is restricted to eight hours each day, often between lunch and dinner. Usually, this causes fewer calories to be consumed without consciously thinking about it. Although intermittent fasting has only proven effective, for daily calorie restriction in reducing abdominal fat, many people find it easier to stay in intermittent fasting than in traditional weight loss diets.
Summary: Intermittent fasting usually makes you eat fewer calories with little effort by restricting your “window to eat.” It is effective in reducing belly fat and may be easier than following traditional weight loss diets.
24. Fatty Fish Every Week or Drink Fish Oil:
It is usually recommended to eat fatty fish once or twice a week. Fatty fish is very healthy and rich in essential long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and good quality proteins. Protein has been shown to help with weight loss, and studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may also help reduce fat accumulation in the liver and abdominal cavity. If you don’t like to eat fatty fish, you can get long-chain fatty acids, fish oil or fish oil supplements.
Summary: Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish can help reduce the accumulation of fat around the waist.
25. Limit Consumption of Added Sugar:
Added sugar is related to most common diseases in today’s society, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. The intake of added sugar is too high in most societies, and Americans eat about 15 teaspoons of added sugar a day. Studies have shown a direct link between high intake of added sugar and increased waist size, especially in people who drink sugary drinks. Added sugar is hidden in various foods, so it is very important to read the ingredient lists of the foods.
Summary: Added sugar has a direct link to the increase in waist circumference, especially in those who regularly consume sugary drinks.
26. Replace Some Fats with Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids. It is one of the few foods rich in medium chain triglycerides (TCM). Studies have shown that replacing dietary fat with TCM can increase energy expenditure and make you feel fuller. In addition, it has been shown that coconut oil reduces waist size more effectively than other types of fat. Keep in mind that coconut oil is still a fat with only 9 calories per gram. Therefore, it is important not only to add coconut oil to the diet, but to substitute other sources of fat with it.
Summary: Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides. Replacing other fats with coconut oil can increase energy expenditure, make you feel full and reduce waist circumference.
27. Strengthen the Middle Zone:
Abdominals and other abdominal exercises can benefit both overall health and appearance. By doing regular basic exercises, the abdominal muscle mass is strengthened and increased, which can prevent backaches caused by improper posture. A middle toned area will also improve posture and support the spine, allowing you to look taller and more assertive. In addition, basic exercises help strengthen the muscles that support the belly, making it appear thinner. Try to do basic exercises that involve all the muscles in the middle area, such as irons or Pilates rotations.
Summary: By strengthening your middle zone, you are training the muscles that support your abdomen. By having well-trained abdominal muscles, you will look taller, safer and leaner.
28. Drink Coffee or Green Tea (Without Sugar):
Sugar-free coffee and green teas are among the healthiest drinks in the world. It has been shown that coffee consumption increases the number of calories burned from approximately 3 to 11%. Similarly, it has been shown that drinking tea or taking green tea extract supplements increases fat burning up to 17% and calorie expenditure by 4%. This includes green tea, black tea and oolong tea. Most importantly, some studies in animals and humans have shown that drinking coffee and tea can reduce the risk of belly fat accumulation, helping to reduce waist size.
Summary: Drinking coffee or tea without sugar can increase fat burning and reduce waist size.
29. Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol:
Alcohol contains seven calories per gram, which partly explains why alcoholic beverages are usually high in liquid calories. For every ounce, beer contains a similar number of calories as a sugary soda, while red wine contains twice as much for every ounce. Although moderate alcohol consumption is unlikely to affect weight gain, excessive alcohol consumption is related to weight gain, especially around the middle section. If you want a flat abdomen, you should try to reduce or eliminate alcoholic beverages.
Summary: Excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to weight gain, especially around the abdomen.
30. Add Additional Activity on a Daily Basis:
You can easily strain additional activity during the day by increasing the amount of activities that are not considered exercise. This involves walking, standing, moving, and basically everything that is not physical training, sleeping and eating. Studies have shown that just standing, moving or walking can increase calories burned five to six times, compared to inactivity. One study suggested that moving, walking and standing could burn up to 2,000 additional calories a day, depending on weight and activity level. Set the goal of walking while talking on the phone, getting up regularly, working at a standing desk or taking the stairs whenever possible.
Summary: Increasing the amount of activity while not exercising can significantly increase the number of calories burned daily.
Bring the Message Home:
As you can see, there are many strategies that can help you achieve your goal of getting a flat abdomen. By incorporating some of the tips mentioned above in your daily routine, you can reach your goal sooner than you think. Keep in mind that it may take some time and effort, but everything will be worth it in the end if done correctly.