A flat belly represents strong core muscles, good posture, healthy balanced food choices, and a desirable percentage of body fat. All these are signs of optimal muscular strength, muscle endurance, and body composition.
They contribute to perfect overall health, fitness levels, and a healthy lifestyle. Apart from these health related issues, a flat belly is also a desirable attribute for improving your physical appearance.
Significance of having a flat belly
A flat belly is indicative of a healthy percentage of fat in the body. A person’s body weight consists of body fat and lean body tissue. A healthy body fat percentage in women is 18 to 25%, while that in men is 8 to 15%.
Portrait of pretty young woman kneeling on Maui, Hawaii beach lifting up sweater.
Excess fat usually tends to accumulate in the abdominal area, leading to increased health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes. A flat belly also enhances your body posture and alignment.
A healthy alignment places less pressure on connective tissues and muscles around the joints, especially in the spinal region. A protruding belly causes curvature in the lower spine area, thus contributing to lower back pain and muscle fatigue.
Some people think that going to bed immediately after having a meal can cause tummy bulge. But this is not the only reason for having a fat belly.
There may be several other reasons too:
Shocked? Most experts suggest drinking as much water as you can. But recent studies have revealed that drinking water before and during food can lead to belly bulge. The water you drink during this time remains in your stomach with food for several hours, causing belly stretch.
Eating carbohydrate rich food
Certain foods such as refined wheat products and polished white rice are nothing but carbohydrates. Extra carbohydrates stored in your body turn into fat, which usually accumulates on your stomach.
Eating and sleeping at night
If you eat your dinner after 10pm and then sleep immediately, then there are no chances of your calories being burnt, probably due to lack of any physical activity. Most of the calories that you consume with dinner turn into fat.
Lack of physical exercise
Development of computers, Internet and automated tools have minimized the physical exercise we should do daily. Shopping, banking, booking tickets and almost everything else can be done from our own PC at home.
We can reach the 11th floor in a lift or escalator, and we do not go to the nearby grocery store without a car. So, there is no need to step out of the house, as everything can be done from the comfort of our home. So, there is lack of physical exercise in our daily routine, which ultimately leads to a fat belly.
Diet tips for a flat belly
The food that you eat has an important role to play in leaning out that midsection. If you also long to have a flat belly, here are a few sure-shot flat belly diet tips:
If you want to shed that belly bulge, you need to take your food consumption seriously. First of all, try to give up all calorie rich foods, such as fat and sugar. Also, cut out high calorie drinks such as alcohol, soda and sweet beverages like juice and sweet tea. Avoid fatty meats, dairy products and fried foods such as sausages, ribeye steaks, sugary foods, potato chips, candies, granola bars and cereals.
Most people believe that starving yourself or limiting your food intake can help in having a flat belly. But the fact is that if your body enters the starvation mode, it starts storing more fat than usual. So, instead of having 3 large meals in a day, try to eat every 2-3 hours. This keeps your metabolism high, burning a lot of fat from your midsection.
Sodium is a major contributor of bloating. So, keep a watch on your sodium intake. Ideally, you should bring your sodium intake down to 2400mg per day, no more. To minimize sodium intake, avoid processed and packaged foods, and limit visits to restaurants. In order to find the sodium content in a food, read its label carefully or simply find it online.
Best foods that can help in achieving a flat belly:
Once you know which foods you should avoid to have a flat belly, here is a list of foods that you should eat, as these can actually help in shedding belly bulge:
Eating eggs in breakfast can increase your metabolism and you may be able to burn 100 more calories per day.
Green tea is rich in powerful antioxidants, known as catechins, which are helpful in cleansing the system and increasing metabolism.
Its acidity can slow down your digestion and accelerate weight loss. If your food gets digested slowly, you feel fuller for longer, thereby decreasing your food intake.
This high potency berry is full of nutrients and antioxidants, which are helpful in increasing metabolism, suppressing cravings for snacks and removing excess waste and toxins from the body. Other berries like blackberries and blueberries are also equally helpful.
Rich in mono-unsaturated fats, these are specifically helpful in burning belly fat, and reducing digestive issues and bloating.
Low in fat and calories, the probiotic nature of yogurt is helpful in bolstering your digestion. When taken in combination with other low calorie foods it can help in achieving a flat belly fast.
Natural whole grains have slow-released complex carbs which are helpful in shedding that belly fat.
Highly rich in complex and starchy carbs, oatmeal is helpful in burning fat quickly. It remains in your stomach for several hours, constantly giving you a feeling of fullness.
It is a super-grain which has manganese, copper, fiber, magnesium and nine essential amino acids.
Low in calories and rich in nutrients and antioxidants, this low glycemic food can help in burning belly fat fast.
Flat belly exercises:
Dieting alone may not be as effective if you do not incorporate a flat belly exercise program into your routine. Some of the best and most effective flat belly exercises include:
Lie facing up on a mat, place hands behind your head and support it with your fingers. Bring knees towards the chest and lift your shoulder blades without pulling the neck. Straighten one leg, rotate to left and bring the right elbow towards your left knee. Switch sides and continue changing sides in pedaling like motion.
Leg raise on captain’s chair
Captain’s chair is a chair like rack having padded arms. Stand on this chair and hold the handholds. Press back against its pad and contract your abs to raise your legs. Lift knees towards the chest, without arching the back or swinging up the legs.
Crunches on an exercise ball
exercising with a personal trainer
Lie on your back on an exercise ball. Place your arms behind the head or cross them over your chest. Contract abs while lifting your body off the ball and pulling your ribcage bottom down towards the hips. Try to keep the exercise ball stable while curling up.
On average, a person can flatten his or her stomach within a matter of weeks. All you have to do is to control your calorie intake, decrease fat consumption and increase your physical exercise level.