Cheat Sheet

Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies

From Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies by Erin Palinski-Wade, Tara Gidus, Kristina LaRue

Excess belly fat is not only unpleasant to look at, but also potentially dangerous to your health. In fact, excess belly fat can increase your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even dementia! So, working to flatten your midsection is vital. And you don’t just have to strive for a six-pack to be healthy. Keeping your waistline under 35 inches for women and under 40 inches for men significantly decreases your risk for health complications. So, what’s the secret to shedding belly fat? Surprisingly, it’s not about giving up foods. Instead, it’s about making sure to eat enough of the nutrients and food groups that have been shown to fight fat and keep it off for good!

The Top 5 Ways to Flatten Your Abs

If you can make only a few simple changes to your lifestyle, you want to make sure the changes you make are the most effective ones. Here are the top five ways to flatten your midsection permanently:

  • Eat more whole grains (such as 100 percent whole wheat bread and brown rice). A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a calorie-controlled diet rich in whole grains trimmed extra fat from the waistline of obese people. This may be due to the decreased insulin response to whole grains versus refined carbohydrates, making it easier to mobilize fat storage.

  • Get more antioxidants through fresh fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in antioxidants help to fight off inflammation-causing free radicals. When inflammation is increased in your body, it triggers the storage of fat — specifically, fat in your midsection!

  • Eat fat to fight fat. Healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids have been found to help individuals lose more belly fat — even without changing the number of calories they consumed or exercising more. You find monounsaturated fats in olive oil and almonds. Omega-3s are in abundance in fatty fish such as salmon, as well as walnuts and flax seeds.

  • Kick stress. Being stressed increases the circulation of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline in your body. These hormones then mobilize fatty acids and, when not burned off, re-deposit them right in your midsection. Eating a diet rich in vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease the levels of stress hormones and fight belly fat. Some foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, and spinach.

  • Get active. Exercise not only helps you to burn more calories (promoting weight loss), but also helps you build metabolism-boosting muscle and fight off belly fat-storing stress. Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

How to Maintain Your Weight Loss Forever

What’s the good in losing weight if you only gain it right back? Weight loss is a journey, not a destination, which is why learning to maintain weight loss long term is vital. If you follow these easy steps, not only will you quickly achieve your weight loss goals, but you’ll have no problem maintaining them:

  • Become a mindful eater. Eating mindfully allows you to listen to your body and understand when you’re truly hungry and when you’re satisfied. When you tune in to your body’s cues, it makes you much less likely to overeat. To become more mindful, limit distractions as much as possible when eating and take your time. Chew each bite at least 10 to 15 times and take at least 15 to 20 minutes to complete a meal.

  • Keep a food journal. Did you know that people who keep food journals lose 40 percent more weight than those who don’t? In addition, keeping a food record after you’ve have achieved your long-term weight loss goals allows you to monitor your food choices and realize right away if you get off-track, before slip-ups lead to weight gain.

  • Power up on produce. Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t about deprivation. In fact, getting too hungry is a surefire way to get off-track and overeat unhealthy foods. To prevent excessive hunger, focus on filling at least half your plate with high-volume, low-calorie foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Embrace slip-ups. Sure slip-ups are discouraging, but don’t let them get to you. Think of slip-ups as learning experiences. The more you learn why you got off-track, the easier it is to come up with strategies to prevent a slip-up in the future. Identifying why you got off-track and coming up with a game plan to overcome obstacles is vital to successful weight maintenance.

Superfoods for a Flat Belly

Many foods are healthy for you, but not all foods contain powerful nutrients that actually target fat, helping to burn it off for good. But that’s exactly what these superfoods contain! Incorporating the following foods into your meal plan on a regular basis is a great way to maximize results for a slim, sexy waistline:

  • Blueberries: Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, giving them powerful anti-inflammatory properties. (Wild blueberries have an even richer antioxidant content than cultivated blueberries do.)

    In addition, a study out of the University of Michigan found that when rats were fed a diet containing blueberries consistently over a three-month period, they showed a significant reduction in abdominal fat. In addition, blueberries helped to lower triglycerides and insulin resistance, making them a potent fighter against heart disease and diabetes.

  • Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acids, which not only have strong anti-inflammatory properties, but also help to regulate stress hormones such as cortisol. By preventing stress hormones from peaking, omega-3 fatty acids can help you store less belly fat.

  • Low-fat yogurt: Diets rich in dairy have been shown to be effective in reducing body fat, especially in the midsection, which may be due, in part, to their calcium and arginine content. Calcium helps to regulating how fat is stored and broken down by the body, while the amino acid arginine has been shown to help promote fat loss and increase muscle mass.

  • Spinach: This dark, green leafy vegetable is a fantastic source of vitamin C, which studies have shown helps to return the stress hormone cortisol to normal levels after a stressful situation. This means that stress hormones will be circulating in your body for shorter amounts of time, helping to fight against belly-fat storage.

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