We all wish for that perfectly shaped body from fashion magazines. But, it’s not just about good physical appearance and aesthetic look. It’s about health. Obesity is one terrible disease, related to shorter lifespan and many health problems. Flat tummy is not an easy quest to achieve, but if you make the following changes in your lifestyle you will be very close to toned abdomen.
These 11 suggestions are completely natural, but you should consult your doctor, especially if you have some health issue or if you are on some kind of medications.
1. Drink a glass of water before eating.
You probably know the theory that drinking water before eating is recommended because it helped your feel fuller, reducing the intake of food and calories. A new research showed that consuming 500 ml of water before a meal (alongside a hypocaloric diet) provided weight loss compared to the diet alone. Another study showed that the water intake keeps the body balanced, leading to weight loss. People diagnosed with congestive heart failure and kidney disease must have certain restrictions when it comes to drinking water.
2. Eat five small meals a day.
If you eat frequently but in small amounts, you will prevent overeating, which is one f the main reasons of weight gain and excessive caloric intake. Five small meals a day include: breakfast, lunch and dinner, and two snacks in between. Small but frequent meals are especially recommended to people with metabolic issues, particularly patients diagnosed with diabetes, because it promotes weight loss, lower blood sugar and it reduces total caloric intake.
3. Eat slowly.
It may sound strange at first, but eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly suppresses your appetite and encourages weight loss. This will help you feel fuller and satisfied after eating the meal.
4. Know your serving sizes.
Learn how to look at the nutrition facts on the packaging of the food you buy. But, when it comes to meat and vegetables you should be able to understand the meaning of serving sizes. They are different for each food, but when we talk about meat it is typically the size of a matchbox. Make sure you pay attention on the serving size of a the food you are about to eat, since nutritional facts are usually based on a single serving. There is always the chance of overeating if you don’t know how big a single serving is. So, you should be cautious.
5. Do 30 minutes of cardio a day, five days a week.
The American Heart Association recommends moderate activities like brisk walking, cycling slower than 10 miles an hour, and sports like tennis. The easiest way to remember this recommendation is 150 minutes a week or in other words 30 minutes in 5 days. Vigorous activities like running and jogging take shorter period of time – 75 minutes in a week. Exercising is beyond important. You should always dedicate some time to physical activities, since it keeps the health of your heart and helps you burn calories easier.
6. Good posture
Believe it or not, good posture of your body is actually an exercise. In that way, you keep tension in the abdominal muscles and you exercise continuously. With improper posture, your body experiences more strain, which can result in musculoskeletal problems. Good posture by itself is not enough to lose significant weight, but it keeps the function of your musculoskeletal system at the best level. Did you know that sometimes a flabby stomach appears as a consequence of bad posture and not of excess weight? So, make sure you keep head, back and shoulders in one line to maintain the three natural curves in the back.
7. Core strengthening
These exercises are one of the most effective when it comes to getting a flat stomach. Core strengthening exercises like leg raises and bridges engage the specific muscles in the abdomen, providing you perfectly shaped abs.
8. The plank
This is actually a core strengthening exercise with few modifications. Start with lying on your stomach and bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle. With the tip of your toes balance and lift your torso and lower extremities off the floor. It’s similar to push up but the balance is on your forearms instead of your hands. Modified versions balance the knees instead of the toes, and the plank is done sideways. You do the side plank by balancing on one hand and one foot.
9. Reduce sweets, sodas and junk food.
You have probably expected this warning. Eating sweets and junk food in excessive amounts is always bad news for your body and especially stomach. They don’t contain any nutrients, they just add empty calories to your body which will definitely ruin your figure. As stated by the US Department of Agriculture, empty calories are calories from solid fats and sugars in junk food. They don’t have any minerals and vitamins, but are loaded with calories. These so called ‘’empty’’ calories are found in soda, cookies, pizza, candies, and snacks.
10. Cut down alcohol.
Alcoholic beverages have a lot of calories. Two studies conducted separately on men and women, have shown that the greater is the alcohol intake, higher are the chances of a person to gain weight and struggle with obesity later. In both of the studies was stated that drinking up to 30 grams a day is allowed (light to moderate drinking) but everything above this dose will cause gaining weight.
11. Quit refined sugar.
We all associate refined sugar with gaining weight. But, the worst thing it can happen is its contribution to heart disease and metabolic disorders. The excessive amount of glucose intake is easily converted into fat. Also, cut down on sugar-sweetened beverages and you will see the positive results.