We all dream of having a slim and toned stomach, but losing the fat around your midsection can be quite a struggle. Unfortunately, it is not enough to spend hours in the gym to get a flat tummy. A lot has to do with what you eat and how you eat. Here are some long-lasting ways to get a flat tummy and fit into those cute jeans you’ve secretly saved.
1. Start right: This is the first step to losing weight. You need to kick-start your metabolism and make sure you keep it up all through the day to lose weight fast. The best thing to do is have a glass of warm water, honey and lime first thing in the morning. You can even experiment with different herbal waters like jeera water or barley water.
2. Have protein in every meal: According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist Shilpa Arora,“Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, however having protein at all meal times, accelerates weight loss. It leaves you feeling full for longer and helps lower your total body fat.”
3. Eat at the magic hour: The time of the day you eat your biggest meal plays a critical role in weight loss which should be your breakfast. A 2015 study shows that consuming a high-protein breakfast between 6:00 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. is linked to less accumulation of fat and less hunger through the day. Similarly, you must have a small snack between 3 a.m to 4 p.m. to keep cravings away and finally no eating after 8 p.m. Research conducted by Satchin Panda, associate professor at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, shows that maximum amount of fat gets burned by the body if you go without food from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Eat at the right time to lose weight. Photo Credit: Istock
4. Ditch foods that have a high glycemic index: Sugar in any form is your belly’s enemy. The glycemic index of a food item refers to how quickly it converts the carbs in glucose. Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood explains that the moment you load up on high glycemic index foods, your blood sugar levels spike up suddenly. This excess sugar eventually gets stored as fat mostly around your abdomen. Avoid white carbohydrates from potatoes, refined sugar and white rice.
5. Get more fiber from fruits: Fiber is the best tool to fight fat. “Fruits add bulk to our diets and keep you full without giving too many calories,” Dr. Gargi Sharma, Weight Loss Consultant in New Delhi. She suggests that certain fruits like pineapple, oranges, peach and apples can helping in burning belly fat.
6. Load up on Vitamin C: Stress is one of the unknown factors that can cause belly fat. When you are under stress, your body secrets a hormone called cortisol. What does cortisol do? “The concentration of the hormone is controlled by an enzyme found mostly in the abdominal region. Hence, there is a greater storage of fat in the tissues of abdomen when you are stressed,” shares Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta. Vitamin C rich foods help in balancing out these sudden cortisol spikes that occur under stress. It is also required for making carnitine, a compound that turns fat into fuel. So, get your daily dose from kiwis, oranges, bell peppers and broccoli.
Vitamin C can help fight the effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Photo credit: Istock
7. Reach out for more magnesium: Magnesium regulates more than 300 functions in your body and it also helps in lowering your blood sugar levels and thus, preventing the accumulation of fat. Include
magnesium rich foods like spinach, bananas and pumpkin seeds in your daily diet.
8. Take probiotics daily: A regular intake of probiotics helps in shifting the balance towards beneficial gut flora and reduces the risk of fat accumulation in your abdominal cavity. Probiotic foods include yogurt, kefir and fermented drinks like buttermilk.
9. Eat fat to burn fat: Switch to healthier fats known as the monounsaturated fats which help in stimulating your metabolic activity, are easily digestible and quickly converted into energy by your liver, thus preventing fat storage. Try olive oil or coconut oil.
10. Sip some green tea: Green tea is great for blasting belly fat. It contains antioxidants like catechins that increase the release of fat from fat cells in the belly and also speed up the liver’s fat burning ability.
Antioxidants in green tea help fight belly fat. Photo Credit: Istock
11. Have a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is known to increase satiety and supress your appetite. You should have a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with warm water every morning on an empty stomach. Human studies have shown that it can reduce your body fat percentage, make you lose belly fat and decrease your blood triglyceride levels.
12. Try cinnamon and honey: This is known to be a brilliant fat burning combination. Dr Anju Sood, a Bengaluru-based nutritionist, shares, “Cinnamon increases your metabolic rate which helps sugar to metabolize. If the sugar in your body is not metabolized correctly it turns into fat and usually accumulates around the belly.” Use about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in your morning cup of tea or mix it with warm water and honey and drink it.
13. Eat more green vegetables: You may despise them, but they contain everything that can help your fight belly fat. They are full of fiber, low in calories and rich in Vitamin C and folic acid which plays an important role in boosting your metabolism. So, don’t shy away from them. Opt for spinach, celery, cabbage and broccoli. You can make a light soup or drink them up as a green juice.
Stick to these basic rules and you will not only lose belly fat faster but also be able to prevent it from coming back. It goes without saying that you must pair these diet tricks with a good workout plan.