3 Simple Ways To Flatten Your Belly And Slim Your Waistline
By Sara Novak
It is that time of year again. Less clothes, more skin, and hopefully, less belly. As the weather warms up and bathing suit season grows closer, it is all about having a flat belly and a slim waist. Do you think that you have tried everything and that nothing works? Are you tired of starving yourself and then binging when your willpower wanes? No need to worry, these simple steps can help you slim down to look and feel your best this spring and summer.
Table Of Contents:
- Belly Fat Is Not Just About The Bulge
- Causes Of Belly Fat
- Foods That Cause Belly Fat
- 3 Ways To Get A Flat Belly And Slim Waist
Belly Fat Is Not Just About The Bulge:
It is called central adiposity and in simple terms, it means having a beer belly or a gathering of fat around the belly. A large body of research has shown that slimming down your waist is not just important for cosmetic reasons, it is also crucial for your cardiovascular health. A large study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association following 55,000 people between the ages of 49 and 60. According to Harvard Health, “the women who carried more weight around their middles (measured by waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, or waist-to-height ratio) had a 10 to 20 percent greater risk of heart attack than women who were just heavier overall (measured by body mass index, or BMI, a calculation of weight in relation to height).”
While both men and women are vulnerable to a higher risk of heart attack with an expanded waistline, it appears that the risk is even higher with women. This is because fat that gathers around the waist area indicates an increase in visceral fat, the fat that encircles the internal organs, which increases your risk of both cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Visceral fat has also been shown to increase your risk of colorectal cancer, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and premature death from any cause.
Learn More: The Only Way To Lose Weight (It's That Simple)
Causes Of Belly Fat:
What causes fat to gather around the belly? There are a number of reasons why you cannot seem to beat the belly bulge. The most obvious reason is calories-in versus calories-out. If you are eating more calories than you burn on a regular basis, then you can be sure that you are going to gain weight and it often happens around the belly.
Another big reason, according to the Mayo Clinic, is age. “Loss of muscle mass decreases how quickly your body uses calories, which can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men in their 50s need about 200 fewer calories daily than they do in their 30s due to this muscle loss.” The same is true of women, who should also reduce calories as they age.
In women, the transition to menopause can cause an accumulation of fat around the abdominal because drops in estrogen levels cause fat to gather around the belly rather than the hips and thighs, which is more common during childbearing years.
Genetically, some of us are more prone to belly weight than others. You may have to work a little harder to attain a flat belly, but we are all capable of it. Additionally, too much alcohol consumption can lead to belly fat because not only does alcohol contain calories, it also reduces our inhibitions so we are more likely to overeat or eat richer foods that are too high in calories.
Foods That Cause Belly Fat:
If your diet is filled with foods that cause belly fat, you may want to make some adjustments.
- Trans Fats - Tran fats are often found in processed foods. While they are not used as often as they once were, trans fats were popular because they have such a long shelf life. A study published in the journal Obesity found that “rats fed a trans diet showed significantly increased visceral fat and liver lipid accumulation relative to the low-fat control diet.”
- Low Protein - Research has also shown that those who consumed the lowest protein diets were also more likely to have increased belly fat. A study published in the journal Nutrition found that “substituting a modest amount of protein for carbohydrates may reduce abdominal obesity in a diverse multi-ethnic population.”
- Not Enough Fermented Foods - Your gut health has a lot to do with the size of your gut. A wide body of research has shown this to be true. A study published in the journal Nature “indicates that obesity has a microbial component, which might have potential therapeutic implications.”
3 Ways To Get A Flat Belly And Slim Waist:
Looking to flatten out your belly and slim down your waist? These tips can help.
It is no surprise that exercise would be on this list. But what is the best kind? Research points to resistance training for a number of reasons. Lifting weights builds muscle and it also increases your metabolism so that you are burning calories even when you are at rest. To burn fat and build lean muscle mass, you will need to make resistance training a regular part of your workout repertoire. Working out large groups of muscles, called compound exercises, is a great way to go because it burns even more calories. These include walking lunges, bench press, deadlifts, and pull-ups. A study published in the International Journal of Cardiology found that “increased intensity in high volume training is efficient in improving visceral fat loss” in moderately obese individuals. According to Harvard Health, weight training is an effective tool for reducing belly fat. The authors write, “measuring waist circumference is a better indicator of healthy body composition among older adults. Engaging in resistance training or, ideally, combining it with aerobic exercise could help older adults lessen abdominal fat while increasing or preserving muscle mass.”
2. Strategic Eating
If you want to lose belly fat, then you need to eat strategically. What does that mean? It means eating foods that are low in calories in bulk. If you are a person that tends to overeat and is not into portion control, then you will want to choose foods that you can munch on for a while because they are so low in calories. Here are the best foods for amping up your metabolism and losing belly fat.
- Coffee - Coffee is well known for stimulating your metabolism. A study published in the journal Obesity Reviews found that “a catechin‐caffeine mixture has a stimulating effect on fat oxidation compared with placebo.” On the other hand, decaffeinated coffee does not have the same impact on metabolism.
- Tea - Tea has also been shown to increase metabolism. A study published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome found that “habitual green tea extract consumption or green tea component supplements have a number of positive effects on health, including anti-obesity, anti-diabetes, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammation.”
- Eggs - Eggs have also been shown to be big calorie burners because they are great sources of high quality protein. A study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism found that consuming high quality protein like organic, free range eggs can go a long way in helping to reduce abdominal fat.
- Chili Peppers - Chili peppers have also been shown to increase metabolism. A study published in the journal Open Heart found that capsaicin, the antioxidant that is responsible for making chili peppers spicy, may also help increase your metabolism.
- Bulk Foods - Certain foods that are low in calories and high in nutrient density are a great addition to your strategic eating diet, including fruit, berries, melons, tubers, squash, zucchini, sauerkraut, pickles, and potatoes. However, it is best to stay clear of cruciferous vegetables that can cause bloating and keep you from a flat belly. Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, leafy green vegetables, etc. can ferment in your gut because most of us do not have the digestive enzymes necessary to break them down. While they are low in calories, the impact that they have on the gut makes them worth avoiding.
Sleep is actually a really easy way to lose weight. Why does sleep have such an impact on waist circumference? In short, sleep impacts every aspect of your health. When you do not sleep, you are less likely to hit the gym and you are more likely to eat calorically dense, metabolism-busting foods. A study published in the journal Metabolism found that “disruptions in circadian rhythms impair metabolism and influence the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases.” Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that “advances in genetic studies of circadian rhythms have led to the recognition that the circadian system is tightly coupled with processes controlling both sleep and metabolism.” Finally, an article published in the journal Science put it perfectly, “understanding the mechanisms that impact the daily sleep-wake cycle and metabolism has increasing importance for humans who are living under diverse work schedules, lifestyles, and food preferences.”
If sleep is an issue that you feel that you cannot control, here are some steps towards what experts call good “sleep hygiene”:
- Wind Down - Bed is something that you move towards gradually each night. You do not just hop in bed and hope for sleep. At night, dim the lights, avoid overly emotional books and screen time, and put on some comfy clothing. Everything should be calm around you as you are getting ready for bed.
- Take A Bath - A nice warm bath is a great place to start. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the tub. you can also add it to a spray bottle and spritz your pillow.
- Lay Off The Caffeine - Coffee and tea is great for your metabolism, but not if it keeps you from sleep. It might be best enjoyed in the morning rather than the afternoon.
- No Night Caps - Drinking too much alcohol in the evening may end up keeping you from sleep or causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. If you are going to have a beverage, limit yourself to one or two and make sure you choose organic or biodynamic wine or a clean liquor like organic tequila.
- Meditate - Nightly meditation is a great way to get yourself ready for bed at night. Even better, consider adding in a nightly stretching routine with meditation and deep breathing to really take it to the next level. Deep breathing or inhaling for 1-2-3 and holding and then exhaling for 1-2-3 for around two minutes is a great way to calm down the central nervous system and get your entire body ready for bed. Additionally, extending the exhale so that it is a few seconds longer than the inhale, is another great way to calm yourself down before bed.
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