Everywhere you look, strategies to get a flat belly abound: 30-day ab challenges, special diets, and fat-busting pills. However, according to several experts interviewed by the Washington Post, there’s no silver bullet for a toned tummy; rather, it takes a combination of these healthy habits:
- Get enough sleep. Getting adequate sleep should be top priority, says registered dietitian, Rebecca Mohning. Feeling rested can help reduce stress, thereby controlling levels of cortisol—the stress hormone. Cortisol may specifically increase belly fat and the urge to eat more sugar and other unhealthy foods.
- Eat a balanced diet. Good nutrition should be next on your list. Staying hydrated and increasing fiber from sources such as whole grains, beans, and vegetables, is key to a healthy diet and reduced belly fat. Protein is also important: Mohning recommends getting as many as 25 to 30 grams per meal once you hit middle age. You may also want to limit carbonated drinks and chewing gum to reduce bloating—which doesn't affect belly fat per se, but contributes to a protruding tummy.
- Exercise regularly. Last but not least, you have to get moving. The CDC’s guidelines recommend 150 minutes of cardio plus a couple of resistance training sessions every week. Personal trainer Cassia Denton further emphasizes the importance of resistance training, as it can help raise your resting metabolism. Since muscles should rest between resistance training sessions, it may be a good idea to alternate cardio days with resistance training days.
Source: Washington Post