It’s a common mistake we tend to make: after stuffing our faces and engaging in massive indulgence during the festive period, we hit the gym in January, desperate to shed those post-Xmas pounds. We notice our gut practically oozing from our bodies and we despair. We think, “Let me just do a few crunches and all will be right as rain!”
Sadly, it’s never quite so easy as all that. Particularly after you hit 30 and it’s all a downwards spiral from there. After 30, the metabolism slows down, making it harder to lose weight; crash-dieting, which may have worked in your late teens or twenties, suddenly doesn’t produce the desired effects, and furthermore, any weight lost through a crash diet is doubled in weight again once it comes to an end.
So how to remove that stubborn belly fat once and for all. Read the top five tips below to find out:
- Consume Soluble Fibre: Fact is, whether you do 50 crunches a day or 500 crunches a day, it will make very little difference unless your diet is in check. Eighty per cent of flat belly success is to be found in the kitchen. Soluble fibre is one of the best ways of fighting belly fat. Oats, rye, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, wholegrain bread and nuts are all excellent sources of soluble fibre, which keep you feeling full longer and help flush out the belly fat.
- Stay Away From Junk: It should be an obvious one, but junk is a terrible culprit in blockading you from ridding yourself of the belly fat. Crisps, cakes, chocolates, sweets, processed meats, microwaved meals, chips, pasties, sausage rolls – yep, they all have to go, sorry.
- Limit or cut out alcohol: Likely to be met with outraged horror from those who enjoy a drink, but the more alcohol you consume, the more you contribute towards the beer belly or wine belly. Alcohol has a way of piling excess pounds around the waist; if you want to see a decrease in inches, cutting down is essential.
- Consume GOOD fats: Not all fat is bad. Well, the fat that makes you fat isn’t great, but there are some fats out there which actually help you lose weight and are particularly good for shrinking the waist. Avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, fatty fish such as salmon and nuts are all examples of good fats and will help keep the belly at bay.
- Exercises to Target the Belly: A strong core is essential to a flat tummy; in fact, a strong core is essential full stop, because without one we may meet a whole host of health problems that could have otherwise been avoided if we’d just spent ten minutes a day working on it. Abdominal exercises can be done in as little as ten minutes and can consist of crunches, side crunches, flutter kicks and obliques. There are lots of excellent Youtube videos which can show you how to perform them; but remember, no matter how many times you work your abs, if there is excess fat on the belly they will never show (which is what the four points above are for!)
So, follow those five steps if you want to bust the belly fat. I should have included a sixth – self-discipline. Mental focus is everything. Don’t give up after the first week or if things become too hard. Tell yourself why you’re doing this and just keep envisioning your goal. You’ll get there if you keep going, and before you know it you’ll eat and exercise your way to a happy, healthier you.