The 15 Best Ways to Get a Flat Stomach: Losing the fat around your midsection can be a battle. In addition to being a risk factor for several diseases, excess abdominal fat may make you feel bloated and discouraged. Luckily, several strategies have been shown to be especially effective at reducing your waist size. If you dream about having a flat stomach, this article may be just what you need. Here are 30 science-backed methods to help you reach your goal of a flat stomach.
1. Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol contains seven calories for each gram, which partly explains why alcoholic drinks tend to be loaded with liquid calories.
Ounce for ounce, beer contains a similar number of calories as a sugary soft drink, while red wine contains a whopping twice that amount.
Although moderate drinking is unlikely to affect weight gain, heavy drinking is linked to increased weight gain, especially around your midsection.
If you want a flat stomach, you should aim to reduce or skip the alcoholic drinks.
2. Cut Calories, but Not Too Much
It is a well-known fact that you need to cut calories to produce weight loss.
One popular approach is to reduce your daily intake by 500–1,000 calories to expect to lose approximately 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per week.
That being said, restricting your calorie intake too much can be counterproductive.
Eating too few calories can cause a major decrease in your metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn on a daily basis.
In one study, a group of people who ate 1,100 calories per day slowed their metabolic rate more than twice as much as those who consumed about 1,500 calories per day for four consecutive days.
What’s more, this decrease in metabolic rate may persist even after you start behaving like you normally do. That means you may have a lower metabolic rate than you had before you severely restricted your calorie intake.
Therefore, it is important that you don’t restrict your calorie intake too much or for too long.
3. Take Probiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria that are suggested to play a big role in weight loss and weight maintenance.
Overweight and obese people have been shown to have different compositions of gut bacteria than normal-weight people, which may influence weight gain and fat distribution.
A regular intake of probiotics may shift the balance towards beneficial gut flora, reducing the risk of weight gain and fat accumulation in your abdominal cavity.
Probiotic foods include some types of yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi and pickles.
There are also a wide variety of probiotic supplements available. However, these supplements usually contain several strains of bacteria, so make sure to pick one that contains at least one of the strains mentioned above.
4. Drink Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are an easy way to add extra protein to your diet.
Getting enough protein in your diet can boost your metabolism, reduce your appetite and assist with fat loss, especially from your midsection.
Furthermore, studies have suggested that adding protein shakes to your weight loss diet may be especially effective at reducing your waist circumference.
5. Limit Your Intake of Carbs, Especially Refined Carbs
Limiting your carb intake has been shown to have powerful health benefits, especially for weight loss.
More specifically, studies show that low-carb diets target the fat that lodges around your organs and makes your waistline expand.
Some studies also suggest that you can significantly improve your metabolic health and reduce your waistline by simply replacing refined carbs with unprocessed, whole food carbs.
Observational studies have shown that people with the highest intakes of whole grains are 17% less likely to have excess abdominal fat than those who consume diets high in refined carbs.
6. Do Exercises Standing Instead of Sitting
Performing exercises while standing up may benefit your health more than performing the same exercises while sitting or using weight machines.
By standing, you activate more muscles to maintain balance and hold up your weight. Therefore, you’ll spend more energy working out.
A study comparing the effects of standing and sitting exercises showed that some standing exercises increased muscle activation by 7–25%, compared to sitting.
Another study suggested that standing may improve your breathing, compared to sitting.
Although this may seem like a minor alteration, it may strengthen your midsection and is worth a try.
7. Walk at Least 30 Minutes Each Day
A combination of diet and exercise is probably the most effective way to achieve weight loss and improve your overall health.
Interestingly, studies have shown that you don’t need to exercise vigorously to reap health benefits.
Regular, brisk walks have been shown to effectively reduce total body fat and the fat located around your midsection.
In fact, walking briskly for 30–40 minutes (about 7,500 steps) per day has been linked to a significant reduction of dangerous tummy fat and a slimmer waistline.
8. Eat Whole, Single-Ingredient Foods
The single best dietary advice you can give someone is to base their diet around eating more whole, single-ingredient foods.
Whole foods are loaded with nutrients, fiber, water, vitamins and minerals.
This makes it very difficult to overconsume these foods, some of which even have their own benefits for preventing weight gain.
Try to eat plenty of whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, dairy, fish and unprocessed meat.
9. Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is a technique that helps you recognize and cope with your emotions and physical sensations regarding food and hunger .
It involves slowing down, eating without distraction, focusing on your physical hunger cues and eating only until you feel full .
Most studies agree that mindful eating helps you lose weight by changing your eating behavior and reducing stress-related behavior, such as stress eating and binge eating.
Also, it is more likely to help you keep the weight off in the long term, as it focuses on changing your behavior.
10. Do High-Intensity Training
One popular way to do high-intensity training is to perform intervals of very intense activity, such as sprinting, rowing or jumping, with short breaks in between.
This way of exercising makes your body burn more fat and increases your metabolic rate, even long after you’ve finished your workout.
High-intensity training has been shown to have superior effects on fat burning, compared to other types of exercises, and be especially effective for slimming the waistline.
What’s more, this type of exercise takes up way less of your time than other types of exercise, as it usually can be done in 10–20 minutes.
11. Eat More Protein
Protein is the most important nutrient when it comes to weight loss.
Your body burns more calories digesting protein than fat or carbs. Therefore, a high-protein diet may account for an extra 80–100 burned calories per day.
High-protein diets also reduce your appetite, make you feel full and help you retain your muscle mass during weight loss .
Furthermore, studies have observed that people who eat more protein have slimmer waistlines than those with lower protein intakes .
How much protein you need depends on many factors, such as your age, gender and activity level.
Generally, you should aim to get 20–30% of your calories from protein on a daily basis. This can easily be achieved by incorporating a protein source in every meal.
12. Eat Eggs
Eggs are healthy, high in protein and have a few unique weight loss properties.
A large egg is very nutritious and contains only about 77 calories.
Studies have shown that eating eggs for breakfast as part of a calorie-restricted diet may cause up to 65% greater weight loss over eight weeks, compared to other types of breakfast foods.
An egg breakfast has also been shown to significantly reduce calorie intake for the next 24 hours, completely unintentionally and without effort.
Moreover, eggs have been shown to be more effective at reducing waist size than other foods with the same calorie content.
13. Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating method in which you rotate between eating and fasting for specific amounts of time.
The most popular intermittent fasting approaches are doing a 24-hour fast two to four times per week or a 16:8 fast, where you restrict your eating window to eight hours each day, often between lunch and dinner.
Generally, this makes you eat fewer calories overall without having to consciously think about it.
While intermittent fasting has only been shown to be as effective as regular, daily calorie restriction at reducing tummy fat, many people find intermittent fasting to be easier to stick to than traditional weight loss diets.
14. Limit Your Intake of Added Sugar
Added sugar is linked to most of the common diseases in society today, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.
The intake of added sugar is way too high in most societies, and Americans eat about 15 teaspoons of added sugar daily.
Studies have shown a direct link between high intake of added sugar and increased waist size, especially in people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages.
Added sugar is hidden in various foods, so it is very important to read the ingredient lists on foods.
15. Strengthen Your Core
Crunches and other abdominal exercises can benefit both your overall health and appearance.
By doing regular core exercises, you strengthen and add mass to your abdominal muscles, which may prevent back aches that result from weak posture.
A strong core will also improve your posture and prop up your spine, allowing you to appear taller and more confident.
Furthermore, core exercises help you strengthen the muscles that ultimately hold in your belly, making you appear leaner.
Aim to do core exercises that engage all your core muscles, such as planks or Pilates roll-ups.