For many people, the ultimate picture of success in terms of weight loss and health is achieving that goal of a flat belly, and getting rid of those stubborn love handles and persistent muffin top.
While doing so doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s true that you can’t spot target areas when you’re working out, a series of small, dedicated changes can yield success much faster and move you in the right direction for success.
Here’s where to start:
- Drink more water – If you need a place to start, just start by adding in an extra litre of water per day. At first it may feel like you are gaining weight and holding on to all the extra water you are drinking, but with time, your body will start to realize that it is able to use this water, and will flush out toxins, improve digestion, improve your skin and give you better energy. Drinking more water also helps fill you up and reduce your tendency to overeat or be constantly snacking.
- Cut out sugar – It sounds simple, but if you are used to having it at every meal, or in most of your food, it can be a challenge. On the same note though, if you are used to regularly consuming it, cutting it out will have that much greater of a difference when it comes to achieving your goals. It also feels very rewarding and freeing to not be attached to something like sugar and will be a great motivator to show you that you are capable of achieving your flat belly goals.
- Avoid processed foods – Just like sugar (and in many cases, because of their sugar), processed foods are a no go if you are serious about losing that belly bulge. Not only are they loaded with additives and preservatives which just get stored in the body as toxins and overburden our digestive system, but they also are full of fat, sugar and salt, all things which, in large quantities, are taxing for the body to process. This means the body steals energy and nutrients to process these foods, leaving you lethargic, sluggish and tired, before simply making you crave more. Cut off these products at the root, and clean up your diet.
- Focus on whole foods – Fill your diet with healthy, whole foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals and a good source of antioxidants, protein and fiber. Try to purchase the food in its most natural, fresh state, and then cut it and cook it yourself. This limits unwanted processing and maximizes nutrient value. Furthermore, when foods are at their best, and you are getting the most from them, you will feel fuller and more satisfied, leaving you less likely to overeat, a habit that is counterproductive to your flat belly goals.
- Reduce your stress – You may not realize it, but stress plays a huge part in how well you are able to reach and maintain your goals. When you are constantly under stress, your body secretes cortisol, a hormone which, when secreted too much, too often, can cause your body to hold onto fat because it feels like it is under constant stress and needs to maintain energy reserves. Reducing your stress level, adopting a positive mindset and loving yourself can go a long way in helping you reach your goals. Stop saying you look ugly or are fat, that you have gained too much weight, or that you will never reach the goal you want to. Instead, practice self-love and compassion and it will get you much farther along.
Create a habit – Don’t look at changes to your lifestyle or diet as a short-term thing to just get you what you want in a hurry. Instead, focus on the changes as new habits you want to adopt, and a new lifestyle you want to maintain. It takes three weeks to create a new habit, and doing so means you will make changes that will allow you to not only achieve your flat belly goals, but also keep them and maintain your progress.