Having a flat stomach is on most people’s list of things they want to achieve when starting a new fitness regime. Sometimes bloating gets in the way of this, whether it’s because you drank a soda or ate a meal high in salt – your stomach can look a little puffy. If you have a special occasion or simply want to learn the tips and tricks to a flat stomach, read on!
Eat a Snack at 3 pm
For most people, 3 pm is their weak spot. They find themselves really hungry all of a sudden so they reach for the most satisfying thing that they can find. For some people, this is usually a pack of chips, a muffin or chocolate bar. The problem with this is that it can cause your insulin and blood sugar levels to spike and then drop shortly after, which may leave you feeling tired and lethargic and even more hungry!
On the other end of the scale, many people find 3pm to be the busy point in their day and generally don’t eat anything until dinner. The issue with this is that it causes such a large gap between lunch and dinner (5-6 hours). During this time, your metabolism begins to slow down and your blood sugar levels begin to drop. To make sure you are keeping your blood sugar levels stable (not too high, nor too low), it is important to snack on lean protein and whole grain carbohydrates throughout the day (i.e. every 3-4 hours).
So rather than reaching for foods that are going to wreak havoc on your insulin and blood sugar levels, swap them for some turkey slices, nuts, or a piece of cheese with wholegrain crackers.
Stay Away From Salt
If you eat many foods high in salt, this could be the reason your stomach is bloated and looking all puffy. Salt (or sodium) is often hidden in foods to help make them taste better, even if the food doesn’t actually taste ‘salty’. Some examples include pre-packaged soups, dressings, crackers and sauces. Try to reduce your intake of salt (including soy sauce) and instead flavor your foods with other herbs & spices.
Eating too fast will cause you to swallow air, which in turn leads to poor digestion and bloating in your stomach. Try to slow down and enjoy each mouthful – this mean no multi-tasking and no distractions. This way you can really concentrate on chewing your food properly and not gulping it down! Try putting your fork or spoon down after each mouthful and only going in for your next one when you have completely swallowed the last.
Find Your Zen
Did you know that anxiety produces extra cortisol, which is a hormone that encourages the body to store fat? If you are following a healthy meal and exercise plan but are also super stressed out and not seeing results, that could be the reason why! Try to practice deep breathing exercises to help alleviate stress levels. Take 10 deep breaths every hour to help calm your mind.
Green tea has an antioxidant in it called EGCG, which may help to boost your metabolism and help your body to utilize fat. For best results, drink 2-3 cups of green tea a day. You can even make it iced by adding ice cubes and leaving it in the fridge for a few hours!
Watch The Sugar
Most people would be surprised to know how much ‘hidden’ sugar they are consuming on a daily basis. Even if you try your hardest to stay away from things such as chocolate bars and cookies, sugar is hidden in ‘healthy’ foods too. Things such as yogurts, frozen foods, sauces, health bars and dressings may contain a large amount of sugar that contributes to ‘empty’ calories. As insulin increases fat storage, consuming large amounts of sugar may make it harder to lose belly fat! The best thing to do is read all labels of food you consume carefully, and if you have an event coming up that you want to look your best for, stick to natural, wholesome foods.
Perform Cardio Daily
Before you groan at the thought of slugging it out on the treadmill every day, hear me out! Performing any type of cardio daily can help keep your metabolism going and fat burning. This can be as simple as waking up earlier and going for a 30 minute walk, or incorporating HIIT into your exercise routine. Whatever it is, make sure to get your heart rate pumping at least once a day to help burn fat and get lean.