Can’t zip up your skinny jeans? And when you do, your belly spills out, and not in a cute Meghan Markle baby bump kind of way (you’re not even pregnant!) Get a flatter belly, now!
Even the thinnest, fittest women have trouble getting flat abs, because genetically we’re all predisposed to storing fat around our waist. Before skinny jeans were invented, humans had to store nutrients for long, harsh winters when mammoths were hard to hunt. Mother Nature clearly hasn’t gotten the memo that we now have pizza delivery.
But that leaves us with this problem: how to get rid of belly fat – or at least, wear skinny jeans or a tight dress without somebody asking, “When’s your due date?”
Hit the perfect diet-exercise ratio
You can’t get flat abs from starving yourself or doing 1,000 crunches at the gym. Diet experts say that eating less than 1,200 calories a day will actually cause hormonal imbalances that make you gain weight. Plus, your body will kick into starvation mode and store fat the way you hoard lipstick when Sephora is on sale.
The easiest way to stick to the diet-exercise ratio is to download a fitness app that measures both your food intake and calorie burn. You can eat more on the days you hit the gym, and less when you stayed at your desk the whole day. The best trackers also measure fat, carb and sodium intake. All three contribute to belly bloat – even a salad dressing can hide enough salt and sugars to make you wish you had the cupcake instead.
Work on your posture
Remember when your mom said to stand up straight? She was right. Good posture makes you instantly look slimmer, If you do posture-building exercises each day you also make your ab muscles stronger. Turns out mom always knew the secret to a flatter belly!
Exercises like yoga and pilates rely on good posture and form, so try them out if you’re a chronic sloucher. At work, sit at the edge of your chair or sit on an exercise ball. This forces you to maintain proper posture just so you don’t fall off and make a fool of yourself.
Cardio exercises work better than crunches
Crunches strengthen belly muscles, but only cardio can burn the fat so the muscles are actually seen. Instead of doing 5 minute planks and 100 crunches, hit the treadmill or do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout at home. Studies show that HIIT is one of the best exercises for a flatter belly, and you can find tons of Youtube videos that are 20 minutes long and absolutely free. So, no excuses baby: hit the mat and sweat out the belly fat!
Destress to fit into that dress
Stress increases your cortisol levels, which then increase the fat your body stores. For a flatter belly, find a way (any way!) to detox your mind and your body when you’re just about ready to scream. Watch a funny video, take a walk, pet a cute puppy, put on lipstick – whatever makes you happy! Daily, consistent stress management has more effect on your health and weight than expensive training and diet programs. Plus, when you feel good about yourself you’re more likely to make better food and lifestyle choices.
Take a detox drink
Smoothies can make you skinny! While a straight all-liquid diet will make you lose weight fast, you shouldn’t be doing this every day. You can do a three-day detox and then switch to a more realistic diet, where you replace one meal with a smoothie or healthy green juice and control calories and portions for the rest of the day.
Include food for a flatter belly
Food high in fiber can help prevent belly bloat. And you have tons of options: oatmeal, green leafy vegetables, or even fiber supplements. However, always pair a high-fiber diet with lots of extra fluids or you’ll get constipated!
Other high-fiber food when you start getting sick of oatmeal and salads: almonds and other nuts, salmon, beans and legumes, and whole grains like cereals and some kinds of bread. There’s enough variety so you don’t eat the same thing every day, and you can make “healthy switches” so you can still eat your favorite things. For example, if you like chocolate, just make overnight chocolate oats or homemade granola.
Spice it up
Is kimchi the secret to all the Korean actresses and KPOP stars’ perfect figures? Very spicy foods can stimulate digestion, ease gas and improve metabolism. Sprinkle cayenne pepper or chili oil on your favorite food. And yes, include kimchi as a side dish with your instant noodles. As we discovered after binge-watching Kdramas, there is nothing better than piling a bit of kimchi on top of a bite of ramen.
Dress up your drinking water
Add slices of lemon and cucumber to your water – they’re both known for reducing belly boat, and they add just enough flavor so you won’t miss your sodas too much. If you’re extra bloated, include one glass of coconut water into your daily fluid intake.