Panicking that Spring is just around the corner? Fear not ladies. Just follow our expert tips on how to lose belly fat fast and effectively, sans plastic surgery.
Lets face it, there's no quick fix - even liposuction takes 16 weeks to show results and that's if you have £3,000 plus to splash out. But with our tips and just a little dedication to your eating habits and lifestyle, we promise losing weight from your stomach will be more achievable than you think.
So in a mission to get those Jessica Alba abs we've always dreamt of we've teamed up with Sports nutrition and fitness specialist, Kim McIntyre to tell us everything we need to know on how to get the svelte waistline every girl wants...
Why am I bloated?!
Sometimes, just dealing with bloating can make you look slimmer! The stomach is a key part of the digestive system and is affected by the slightest digestion problem. Alcohol, fizzy drinks, air swallowed when eating, constipation, stress and emotion can all make your stomach painful and bloated.
Kim says, "It could be that your diet is too rich in foods which contain large amounts of non-absorbable carbohydrates – such as cabbage, broccoli and pulses – which release small amounts of gas during digestion or alternatively, you may not be getting enough fibre (which causes a build-up in the colon) or you may also be eating too many processed foods."
A good way to find the root cause of your bloating is to write in a diary for 2-4 weeks. Log everything from what you ate that day to what time you went to bed and how you're feeling too. At the end, analyse the results. This will give you a much clearer idea of what it could be.
If you think it could be something more than just a lifestyle factor bring your diary to your doctor and talk about the possibilities of getting treated for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is often a source of bloating too.
How to lose weight from your stomach
- Take your time eating
Eating on the go makes you ingest air and slows down digestion. To avoid this, chew food slowly. Not only will you be more conscious of what you are eating (and be less likely to overeat) but this will also mean food is less likely to reach the gut partially digested, decreasing flatulence, which causes bloating," says Kim.
To combat this, eat in a calm, quiet setting, sitting at a table, and spend at least 30 minutes eating, chewing every mouthful well. It may sound ridiculous at first, but this can really work!
- Get plenty of fibre
Kim says, "Eat more fibre rich foods. Fibre makes you feel more satisfied after eating, fuller for longer and keeps the gut moving, preventing build up in the colon. You need 25 to 30g per day (in whole cereals, fruit and vegetables) for good bowel movements. However, more than this can irritate the intestines and cause bloating so try to increase your intake gradually to avoid bloating gas.
- Eat the right fruit and veg
Eat fruit and veg that's easy to digest, drains the body and helps eliminate toxins. In addition, "avoid sugary and high-glycemic index foods (such as jacket potatoes, white pasta and white bread), which can increase the amount of cortisol - the stress hormone - in your body and as a result can increase stomach fat," says Kim. Take it easy!
- Eat less meat
Meat, fish and eggs are ideal as they provide you with loads of protein and energy without fermenting or increasing stomach volume. Choose lean versions of meat and have a couple of days meat-free to give your digestion a break. Going vegetarian is never a bad thing!
- Eat cooked food
Cooking changes the structure of food and helps chewing, digestion and breakdown. Sometimes salads aren't all that!
- Go easy on the salt
Excessive salt use can lead to water retention around the stomach so too much of it is never a good thing. Kim says, "Drink more water. It helps flush sodium out of the body, and also prevents overeating, making bloating much less of a problem." Another trick to try is to taste your food before sprinkling it with salt. Often if you try first you'll find that you won't need as much salt as you initially thought. But make sure to cut down on processed foods too - they are the king of salted foods.
- Don't snack often
Every time you eat, your stomach juices start flowing and the digestive system starts working again. A light snack is OK, but try to work it into a fixed time to avoid overrunning your digestion.
- Treat your digestive system
If you're having digestion problems, take a course of probiotic supplements, such as, Bio-Kult which is available for both children and adults. If you're suffering from constipation, eat figs and prunes in the morning for a few days to help things along. In the meantime, check out our guide to digestion and healthy guts!
- Breathe properly
Breathing deeply from your stomach rather than from your chest helps eliminate toxins from the body. Lie on your back, place one hand flat on your stomach, inhale into your shoulders and down into your shoulder blades, into your rib cage, diaphragm and then exhale. Try to work this into your daily routine.
When we eat too much of the wrong foods, fat can easily build up around our belly. Ladies, here's how to rid of it once and for all...
To get rid of fat around your waist you need to exercise AS WELL as eat the right foods. Make sure to do endurance exercise at least 3 times a week. Anything from power walking, running, swimming, cycling, aerobics - anything goes! Just make sure to keep it up for at least 30 minutes per session. You can't get results without hard work.
- Go easy on the sugar
Quick sugars (such as cake, sweets and fizzy drinks) and refined carbohydrates cause your blood and insulin levels to peak and as a result, store their calories as fat on your waist. To avoid this, try to opt for non-processed, whole, complex carbohydrates such as whole cereals, rice and whole wheat pasta.
- Look at your calorie intake
When we consume more calories than we burn off, all the extra calories need somewhere to go! And a lot of times they like to make their home around our stomachs. But it's true, some people store fat on their bum and thighs; others store it around their middle (it all depends on your body shape and genes). Bottom line? Losing weight is as simple as burning more calories than you eat. So be mindful of what you're munching!
- Get some muscle tone
Muscles use more calories than fat does (even when we're resting)! To help build muscle pump some iron. Begin by doing repetitions with light weights for a minimum of 3 times a week. You really only need to do three sets of 10x reps to start seeing results BUT make sure to increase the amount as you build your strength. Challenge your body!
- Use slimming creams
Slimming creams containing draining agents are made specifically to fight against abdominal fat. Most of them, are a waste of money especially when used alone. But when you're eating a bit less, moving a bit more and doing toning exercises they do help to tighten your skin giving you a leaner, refined silhouette. We recommend Nuxe Fondant Firming Cream which is formulated with jasmine flower and vitamin E and Brazilian mimosa to help prevent premature ageing and increase elasticity. Apply it everyday in the morning and evening - consistency is key to see the best results.
- Chill out
Kim says, "Ensure you have some form of stress relief. Meditation and yoga can really help reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body, which can sometimes cause stomach fat. Yoga is also great for building core strength."
Another thing to note is the beauty of massage. Massaging your stomach can be an effective way to help your body achieve your weight loss goal. I mean, who doesn't feel great after a massage?
If your not sure where to start begin by massaging your stomach in a clockwise direction. Apply gentle pressure, then 'pinch' and roll your skin. It may be a good idea to incorporate this gentle stomach massage while you're in the shower. The improved circulation, stress relief and digestion boost will do wonders for your body!
How to tone up your stomach
Weak stomachs are often down to a lack of exercise and bad posture. When we sit we often cause our tummies to sag. This can leave you moving the pelvis forward and thereby weakening the muscles, giving you a weak abdomen and sometimes, even back pain.
- Transform the way you sit
The stomach is linked to the back, shoulder blades, sternum, collar bone (scapular belt) and pelvis. Tighten your abs and straighten up that back girl.
- Do exercise that slims your waist.
Climbing, gym, martial arts, dancing, badminton and rowing are all good sports for six pack abs.
- Get a protein boost
It's so important to eat protein immediately after a workout as your body needs it to help repair and tone your muscles.
"If you don’t have access to high quality protein straight after the gym, don’t be afraid to make protein shakes – they aren’t just for 'body builders' and they provide the nutrients you need in order to build muscle tone", says Kim.
"Diet versions, like Performance Diet Whey V2 are good options as they are low in fat, low in sugar, carbohydrates and are packed with protein". The best part? It even helps keep you full. Get whizzing ladies!
- Don't do sit ups and crunches
Lets face it, they're SO boring and to be honest you'll probably get quicker results by doing more core training. "Pair core strength exercises with high intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves doing short bursts of cardio at the highest intensity (you can manage), followed by shorter periods of rest or less intensive activity.
"Core exercises like this will help strengthen the muscles, but without some form of cardio the fat will remain," says Kim. HIIT is the best form to do, as it helps to strip out fat, speedily .Check out our video for how to get flat abs without a single sit up!
Bye bye belly fat...
Are you ready to work for those six pack abs? Tweet us @sofeminineUK!
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