Is there extra or unwanted fat around your belly making you feel embarrassed? Are you ready to do something to achieve a flat and trim stomach? Abdominal, or visceral fat, is the most dangerous kind.
For women a waist size of more than 35 inches (89 centimeters) is a sign of unhealthy fat around the belly and can put you at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Here are some things you can do:
• Stretch and crunch
People often make the mistake of jumping into an abdominal workout without stretching, which makes you do almost all the work with your hips and back, the stressed area around the core muscles makes it hard for them to activate.
Before you do crunches put a foam roller in the center of your back touching the edge of your shoulder blades, stretch your back over the roller, arms up. Repeat until your back feels loose.
• Healthy Diet
Focus more on plant-based foods including many colors of vegetables and fruits, and whole grains. Choose lean sources of protein and low-fat dairy products. Reduce consumption of saturated fats found in meat and dairy. Moderate fat is what you find in nuts and certain vegetable oils.
• Olive oil
Olive oil has components that sends signals to your brain that you’re full. You feel less hungry which manages your appetite. Try using olive oil in your food or dip some multi-grain bread in one tablespoon olive oil for 15 minutes then eat it, this will keep you from overeating and putting on extra fat.
• Green Tea
Experts suggest sipping green tea to cut belly fat. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods showed that those who sipped on 1 1/2 cups of catechin-enriched green tea daily lost 16 times more visceral fat than those who drank green tea without added antioxidants. If you drink regular green tea you need 2-4 cups daily for this effect.
• Keep Moving
The Department of Health and Human Services suggests moderate aerobic activity for all healthy adults, like brisk walking, for 2.5 hours, or 150 minutes, each week. Cardio should be done 75 minutes each week, and strength-training activities at least twice a week. You can spread your exercise into 3 ten minute bursts if that is what works best for you and reap the same benefits.
• Limit alcohol
Alcohol accumulates as weight in the middle of your body as it is digested as sugar which turns into fat. For most women 1-2 servings of alcohol is considered moderate. Limit drinking alcohol to once a week, and enjoy water and teas instead.
Eat More Protein and Produce
Eating more lean proteins from low-fat Greek yogurt, fish, poultry, beef, and beans in place of low-quality carbs has been shown to help banish belly fat. Strive to get 25 grams of protein at each of your meals to provide the optimal effects on maintaining lean muscle and helping to keep hunger in check.
Filling up with fruits and veggies is recommended because the antioxidants and other bioactive compounds in produce make it harder to store calories as abdominal fat.
Limit Added Sugars
Diets rich in added sugars are linked to abdominal obesity, so keeping soda, candy, baked goods, and the vast majority of processed foods sold in supermarkets should be limited. The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of added sugars per day — equal to no more than 100 calories.
Focus on Whole Grains
Women who eat more of their grain servings as whole grains tend to gain less weight over time and have smaller waistlines. On the other hand, eating too many highly refined grain-based foods like white flour, white bread, and baked goods have just the opposite effect.
Added sugars and other fast-burning carbs (white bread, baked goods) cause rapid rises in blood sugar and insulin spikes, which lead to a shuttling of excess calories to be stored as fat. Studies have linked increased ab fat with diets rich in high-glycemic carbs.
Enjoy Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated and diets containing plenty of unsaturated fats (like the Mediterranean diet) are associated with smaller waistlines, while saturated fats are more likely to be stored as harmful visceral fat.
Beneficial unsaturated fats are found in nuts, seeds, avocados, fatty fish, and vegetable oils like olive or canola oil. Saturated fats are found in full-fat dairy products, fat-rich meats, and fried foods.
High-Intensity Cardio and Resistance Training
Without losing excess body fat, crunches, planks, or any other type of abdominal exercise won’t help you lose inches. What’s best for a trim midsection?
In one study, University of Minnesota researchers reported that women who participated in high-intensity interval training lost more abdominal fat compared to those who participated in lower-intensity aerobic training. Always strength train to maintain and gain more lean tissue to boost your metabolism.
Tip: How to Measure Your Waist Circumference
To accurately measure your waist, a tape measurer should be snug horizontally around your hip bones where your waist would be narrowest.
Take the measurement as you exhale a normal breath of air. For most women, an inch off your waist is equal to about five to six pounds lost.