So you might be working out, driving yourself nuts and yet you still cannot manage to have washboard, perfect, flat abs. It’s frustrating, discouraging and disheartening, especially when it comes time for bikini season.
OK – so I know you want to get rid of your belly fat, but don’t get rid of all your belly fat. After all, a little bit of belly fat is actually good for your body. You need it to protect your internal organs, as well as your stomach and intestines.
The key words in that phrase were a little bit of belly fat – too much is terrible for you. When you have too much stomach fat, it extends deep into your body, creating “visceral fat” that throws off your blood chemistry and causes inflammation that increases your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
That’s the bad news, but here’s better news: women are actually very good at losing belly fat compared to men – they lose 30% more abdominal fat compared to total fat.
So here’s how to skyrocket your body’s fat burning potential and focus it on your belly to get rid of that stubborn pudge once and for all:
1. Put some more color into your meals
This might seem strange but it’s actually true – foods that are brighter in color (natural color, not artificial!) contain much higher levels of vitamin C, which lowers your stress hormones that cause belly fat to stick around. Plus, a study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate red, yellow, and orange nutrient rich foods wound up with smaller waists.
So try adding some mango to your meal – like in a salsa on top of a fish dish – or some bright red peppers to that salad and watch your waistline shrink down.
2. Skip the low fat diet
This is counterintuitive – but it’s actually better to eat fats when you’re trying to lose fat. More specifically, it’s better to eat monounsaturated fats. Scientists have found that diets high in monounsaturated fats are much more effective at trimming belly fat off the body – because those “healthy” fats are so satisfying to your body, they curb cravings and stop you from eating junk foods.
Get your monounsaturated fats from healthy sources like nuts, olive oil, or avocado and watch the inches disappear off your waistline.
3. Burgers are bad
Researchers recently conducted an experiment where two groups of people were given 750 extra calories per day. One group got the calories mainly from saturated fats, and the other group got the same calories but from unsaturated fats. Over 7 weeks, the group that ate more saturated fat generated 2 times the amount of visceral fat.
Try getting your fats from fish instead of burgers. Reach for salmon or trout rather than ground beef to up your intake of polyunsaturated fats – and switch out the cheeseburgers for protein that has less saturated fat, like chicken.
4. Knock it off with the diet soda
A recent scientific study published in Obesity found that people who drink diet soda are much more likely to have a higher percentage of belly fat than others – because they overestimate the number of calories that they’re saving by drinking diet soda, and over eat at other meals.
If you don’t want to stop drinking diet sodas, instead, try cutting back on the number of calories you eat per day instead.
5. Pump up the magnesium
People who skimp on magnesium in their diets feel the effects – even if they don’t know what’s causing them. That’s because magnesium serves a crucial purpose in your body… actually, it serves about 300 crucial purposes in your body. Scientists have found that people who don’t eat enough magnesium have higher blood sugar levels and higher levels of insulin.
So at least twice every day, make sure to eat foods that are full of magnesium, like bananas, soybeans, and dark leafy greens.
6. Quit eating out of a box
Foods that come in boxes and packaging are generally terrible for you – and for your ability to burn belly fat. That’s because prepackaged foods either are heavy in carbs (like chips or pretzels) plus they have a ton of added sugar (like sweet drinks) that spike your blood sugar and floods your body with insulin. Excess insulin will decrease your sensitivity, plus signal to your body that you should be storing more fat around your middle.
However, it’s hard to cut junk food out of a diet cold turkey. That’s why a far better way to ease off junk food is to add in healthy food to your regular meals (like more fruits or veggies during lunch and dinner), which makes you fuller and kills your cravings for junk.
7. Beer makes a beer belly
Danish scientists found in 2013 that beer is actually linked to belly fat – just like the saying goes. That’s the bad news, but here’s worse – wine is bad for your belly fat too. All alcohol consumption has been linked to weight gain in women.
So what’s a girl who likes to get a buzz to do? Well, try sticking to 7 or less alcoholic drinks per week to keep the belly fat down and the pudge at bay.
8. Try yoga – it really works!
Here’s the bad news – when a woman’s body goes through menopause, it starts to hold onto belly fat more and more, making it harder to tone your stomach. But here’s the good news – a study conducted in 2012 found that women who had gone through menopause who did yoga 3 times per week slimmed their waistline by ½ an inch.
If you really don’t like yoga but still want the benefits, try treating yourself to something relaxing and pleasant at least once per day. By