Many people store fat in the belly, and losing fat from this area can be difficult. Sometimes, this process makes it difficult to fit in into that lovely dress of yours. Truthfully, it’s not easy to get a flat tummy. To lose belly fat and reduce waist size, fitness experts say you’ll need to be serious about cutting on calories, exercising, eating right, and taking care of your body.
Jillian Michaels, celebrity trainer and creator of The Fitness App explained that diet and exercise, not undergarments are what count mostly. While it’s not necessary or realistic for everyone to develop rock-hard abs, trying to cut down on excess abdominal fat can still come with health benefits. And there are many proven strategies to do it — though it will take time.
Michaels emphasised on calories, saying when you eat less and exercise more, you can create deficit and when you burn more calories than you take in, it will cause you to lose weight all over your body and most especially in the belly.
“The way to achieve fat loss is very straightforward: you reduce the amount of calories you consume and you increase the amount of calories you burn, and this will create weight loss over time. That said, those two habits, while simple, are not easy for most.”
“How many calories you should eat is highly individual, but being mindful of your calorie intake is key. “Don’t eat more than your body burns in a day,” Michaels stressed.
“Exercising daily helps create a calorie deficit that can lead to weight loss and can also help strengthen the core muscles, which help your stomach look flatter.
“While certain exercises like HIIT workouts will burn more calories, the most important thing is to just get moving. The key is to be absolutely sure you get no less than four thirty-minute training sessions in a week,” Michaels noted.
He said you need to out your whole core, adding that most people think about crunches to get a flat stomach, but working your entire core including your back, your sides, and chest is essential.
“Developing an exercise routine that includes a well-rounded core exercise routine is critical for eliminating belly fat,” says Brian Quebbemann, MD, weight-loss expert and bariatric surgeon with The New Method Weight Loss Clinic in Orange County, California.
When it comes to exercise, not all workouts are created equal. Exercise that is more vigorous tends to burn more fat, including in the abdomen, Quebbemann said.
Michaels noted that while you are trying to exercise, you must watch what you consume, how you consume and how you consume it. He said eating whole foods, rather than processed ones, will help you avoid excess salt and increase your fiber intake.
“Whole foods that are high in fiber take longer to digest and cause you to feel more full, allowing you to eat healthier and achieve a calorie deficit.
“Reach for an apple rather than juice, whole-grains rather than white bread, and wild-caught fish over lunch meats, Michaels explained.
He further stressed the importance of skipping salt, salt can contribute to water retention, which might leave your stomach looking bloated, Michaels says. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends limiting sodium consumption to less than 2,300 mg per day, or about 1 teaspoon.
He also said fruits should be part of your daily diet. “Most fruits are high in fiber and can help you feel full throughout the day, preventing frequent snacking. In particular, berries are high in antioxidants like quercetin, which can reduce inflammation and bloating.
“Another way to keep bloat from building up is to drink plenty of water. The amount is depended on the individual, but drink water “until your pee looks like lemonade,” Michaels says. “That’s how you know you are hydrated.”
“Alcohol is simply the worst when you are trying to lose weight,” Michaels says. When you drink, you consume lots of extra calories, but the problem is deeper than that.
With alcohol in your system, your liver focuses on metabolising alcohol, not metabolising body fat, Quebbemann says. That can cause belly fat to accumulate.
Quebbemann also warned people with the way they consume a lot of sugar like soda, drinks, or sweetened coffee. This can spike your blood sugar.
“In turn, that signals your body to store fat, especially in your belly. Too much sugar can also create an inflammatory response in the body, and when that happens, belly fat will accumulate. Cutting back on your sugar intake can help you avoid this storage of belly fat,” he said.
Aiming for a flat stomach is great, but some people are just biologically likely to have rounder tummies, no matter how healthy they are. “We all store body fat differently. The most important thing is to know your body,” Michaels says.
Quebbemman says that men often store stomach fat internally, which means it may be easier for them to maintain a flat stomach, even with fat stores. Women, on the other hand, tend to store their fat at the surface, making it easier to spot.
“You can still work toward a flatter stomach, but know that “flatter” for you might not be the same as for others”.
“Having a flat stomach can be appealing, but the most important thing is to focus on your well-being”, says Michaels.
“Many of the steps that can lead to a flat stomach — like eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep — are critical for overall well-being, and a good idea for everyone”.
“This isn’t about perfection. No one needs to look like a sports illustrated model. This is about health,” Michaels says. “And while a flat stomach is associated with health, it doesn’t mean you aren’t healthy if you have a little roll on your tummy”.