It’s called a “beer belly” for a reason. Boozy bubbles are a major cause of belly bloat, as anyone who’s ever looked in the mirror after a few too many drinks can attest. But it’s not just the carbonation that is the culprit. Alcohol can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your stomach, leading to gas, not to mention all the empty calories that are going straight to your waistline. Instead, skip the alcohol altogether or limit yourself to one serving per day.
You can also grate a small piece of ginger and add a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of salt, then mix the ingredients. Eating a couple of small pinches of this mixture before you eat each of your meals helps to control appetite and aid digestion.
Though the cover the book states that “not a single crunch is required” in order to flatten your belly, there is a chapter devoted to exercise. I like the suggestion that is made that it can be better to focus on changing one thing at a time. I completely agree with focusing on your diet first. I just think that the claim that is initially made can be misleading. The research is clear that the single best predictor of keeping your weight off is exercise. There are going to be people who can lose some inches from their waist through dietary changes but will not be able to “flatten” their belly without exercise.
The Flat Belly Diet has two phases, a four-day “anti-bloat” phase with specific foods and drinks, and a four-week eating plan during which women eat about 1,600 calories a day. There’s a Flat Belly Diet for men that’s similar, but allows for more calories. The Flat Belly Diet emphasizes eating foods that are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), along with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Breakfast: Green Smoothie. Green smoothies are an awesome way to set the day for a day full of healthy eating. Add a handful of greens, a frozen banana, a few blueberries, and enough milk/milk alternative to reach your preferred consistency to the blender to create a dynamic green smoothie.
What many people don’t realize is that cortisol is a schizophrenic hormone when it comes to fat loss. It increases fat storage due to the actions it has on the major fat storing enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). But ironically, it also speeds fat burning by stimulating the major fat releasing enzyme hormone sensitive lipase (HSL). Cortisol can be your best friend or your worst enemy. By itself it does not have much of an impact on belly fat, unless it is “hanging out with” insulin.
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A scoop of guacamole is one of the most effective fat-burning, hunger-squashing snacks known to man. Not only are avocados rich in vitamin B6—which directly counteracts the belly-fat-building stress hormone, cortisol—they’re also full of monounsaturated fat. This healthy fat may actually prevent body fat distribution around the belly by down-regulating the expression of certain fat genes, according to research in the journal Diabetes Care. These same satiating fats may also be the reason behind another study that found people who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterward.
People who are on the Flat Belly Diet will lose weight, but most of it will be water weight. And while the Mediterranean-style diet is healthy, long-term weight loss will also need to involve exercise, lifestyle adjustments, and perhaps working with a nutritionist, particularly if you are someone who needs fewer or more than 1,600 calories.
Americans are getting less sleep than ever these days and it’s taking a toll on our health—most visibly on our waistlines. Losing just 30 minutes of sleep per night can make you gain weight, according to a study done by the Endocrine Society. Worse, that weight is more likely to go straight to your tummy. Instead, the researchers found, the best sleep cycle is one that follows your natural circadian rhythms, which means sleeping and waking around the same time as the sun.
While you’ll need a well balanced diet to lose belly fat, you should zero in on three key nutrients — calcium, protein and fiber — as your fat-burning triple threat. Why’s that? Protein and fiber both make your food harder to break down, so you’ll burn more calories during digestion than if you eat foods low and protein and fiber. This is one of the only ways to really boost your metabolism, so make the most of it!