Getting a flat stomach is on our must-have list the beginning of each year. “This Year I will reach my flat stomach goal.” But somehow try as you may, your stomach refuses to behave and stay flat. Sucking it in sometimes may give the appearance of a flat belly, but then you want a flat stomach at all times of the day, right?
To get a flat stomach, one needs a certain degree of discipline. It is as top nutritionists say and fitness trainers would agree, 70% diet and 30% exercise. We like it or lump it, we certainly have to agree with the modern day adage, “Abs are made in the kitchen.”
How to Get a Flat Stomach
Sadly, a single pill cannot a slim belly make! Yes, you may be flooded with misinformation everywhere that this pill will give an enviable waistline or that smoothie can cut the flab forever, but the fact is it is not one but many things together that make a flat stomach.
Diet, exercise, and some healthy lifestyle tweaks altogether may finally help you get closer to your elusive dream. Another very important fact that you need to keep in mind, is that having a flat belly is certainly aesthetically appealing but it also has some positive repercussions on your health. It can decrease your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. So, you need to put in a concentrated effort to get a whittled waistline.
Chew on this- We are so busy sometimes that we rush through our meal times at a break-neck speed, hoping we can squeeze ten different things within a short time period. The result is that we just swallow our food and end up with a bloated stomach.
Chew your food, period. Chew it so well that it is almost liquid when you swallow it down. Food is that much more digested when you chew it well, and if your food is well digested, you face less bloating. Less bloating equates to a flat stomach. So, there you go, isn’t it strange that we forget out the very basics when it comes to health and fitness?
Reduce your sugar intake- Dessert lovers, beware! The more desserts you indulge in, the more chances of your bidding adieu to a flat stomach! I know you wish you had it some other way, but the stark facts are out there, stay as close to zero grams of sugar as possible. This is the only way you can keep your insulin levels down and glucagon high. Now, pray what is glucagon? Glucagon is a hormone and your stomach’s ally to keep that stomach flat.
The 4PM snack- 4PM is indeed a dangerous time slot when the ravenous hunger bug kicks in and you feel you could eat anything under the sun. That isn’t a great feeling to have, as once you get your hands on unhealthy snacks, you will gobble up all without caring two hoots about the fact that the food on the plate may not be very flat stomach
Why is it so important to not miss this snack? It is important because a nutritious snack at that hour can boost your metabolism and balance blood sugar. Eating every three to four hours avoids sudden spikes in blood sugar level. An apple with almond butter or a banana with peanut butter can do the job just fine.
Crunches be gone- How many of us went through the rigorous hundred crunches routine at the gym? I put my hand up, albeit sheepishly. But the fact is so much of sweat and toil came to a naught! The reason being spot reducing is a myth; you have to reduce the fat around your abdomen and then work towards getting a flat stomach.
Eat through a small eating window- Though some nutritionists feel that intermittent fasting is a fad and the tall claims that it can give you a flat stomach are not true, there are many nutritionists who would beg to differ. Eat through a smaller eating window like eight to twelve hours and follow a sixteen or more-hour fasting routine.
That means, close the kitchen early and delay your breakfast. While studies have been done on mice following the intermittent fasting protocol, the findings are pretty promising, and that is why intermittent fasting has caught the imagination of the teeming populous trying hard to lose the extra flab from their abdomens!
Eat dark chocolate- It is not that you have to sacrifice all your favorite foods in order to gt washboard abs. You can nibble on some dark chocolate to curb your sweet tooth. As an additional bonus, it not only contains disease-fighting antioxidants but also helps you keep full for longer and stops you from over-eating in your next meal.
Stock on ab-friendly snacks- Snacking is not ruled out in your quest to a flat In fact, the right snacks do their duties well by keeping you full and stopping you from overeating. You do not have to give on up your carbs either.
Just make sure they are packed with whole –grains and MUFA (monounsaturated fats), the good fats are in fact your long-lost buddies and you definitely need to catch up with them. The right proportion of carbs, protein and fats can do wonders. On an average, you should consume carbohydrates: 45-65% of calories, Fat: 20-35% of calories, protein: 10-35% of calories.
Skip the processed junk- A flat stomach cannot be had in a day and if you want those washboard abs, you have to work towards them. The bread, crackers, sweetened drinks, chips, all processed foods have to go. Lose the key of the cupboard where you keep the stuff or just give it all away. Just don’t touch anything which isn’t whole, unprocessed and nutritious. Have anti-inflammatory foods like fruits and vegetables which can prevent inflammation and hence, belly fat.
Carb cycling- Now we believe in this myth that we can get a flat stomach just by eating less. It never happens that way, you have to eat right to fuel your body, and eating less can never solve the purpose. Rather, what you need to do is eat more the days you work out and eat less the days you don’t.
Build more muscles- To get a flat stomach, you need to love weights. Maximum number of calories are burnt in the muscles, especially in the mitochondria. So, you can consider muscles as the furnaces; if you fire up more furnaces or the greater the mass of muscle active, the more calories you burn. The calorie burn will not be limited to the time you exercise but will go on burning throughout the day as it boosts your basal metabolic rate.
Throw some punches- Engage your core the right way by including boxing into your routine. When you are utilizing your might to throw punches in the air, you work on the core and this is one of the best exercises for a flat stomach.
HIIT your way to flat stomach-Have you started including HIIT exercises for a flat belly? If you haven’t, start right now, because high intensity interval training is one of the best ways to lose the flab from the waist. It increases your body’s need for oxygen and incinerates calories. It’s done including in short bursts of intensive exercises at 100% effort which are followed by short periods of complete rest or to a light active recovery exercise.
Get some quality sleep- When we sleep, our body releases HGH or the human growth hormone, which is a fat burning hormone. When you are not sleeping enough, your body releases more of cortisol, the stress hormone, and ghrelin, the appetite enhancing hormone; all of which can help accumulate fat on one area, your stomach.
So however hard you work at the gym, if you are not sleeping for at least for 7-9 hours, all the hard work is more likely to go down the drain.
Reduce the stress- Easier said than done of course, but too much of the stress hormone called cortisol can pile on the kilos in all the wrong areas, namely your abdomen. Try breathing techniques and yoga to deal with stress better. Having a right rein of all the negative emotions and stress can help ease your way to a flat stomach.
Say a big no to Happy hour- Abstaining from alcohol is unimaginable for someone and if you cannot resist alcohol, pooh! There go your dreams of obtaining a rock solid six pack. It’s not that you have to kiss it good-bye forever and ever, just until the time you attain that flat stomach, then slowly you introduce it back, but keep it to the bare minimum, 2-4 drinks a week and we are afraid you have to stop at that.
Move more, sit less- Now if you are constantly sitting it out on the couch, you have to understand that it is hardly going to answer the question how to get a flat stomach. Sitting for long hours is not only going to increase your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart diseases and cancer, but it is also going to make your abdomen less than flattering. So, get up and start moving, to every one hour you sit, stand for 10 minutes or move around, this is especially applicable to people who have desk-bound jobs.
Plank it out- One of the most effective flat stomach exercises is the plank. This exercise not only flattens your stomach but works on every single muscle on your core. Don’t just stay satisfied with conventional planks, do more of different kinds like a moving plank or a side plank, which has only two points of contact on the floor, so it needs greater balance and helps work on your core muscles more.
How to reduce belly fat? The above-mentioned tips and tricks are the most comprehensive answer to the question. So, make sure you follow them and a sample diet plan which will guide you as to what exactly you should put on your plate to get a flat stomach.
Simple Diet Plan for Flat Belly
This diet plan will give you different options as to the things you eat. Once you stick to this diet plan, you will find it easier to make some healthy recipes of your own.
- Breakfast: Omelet made with three eggs and filled with 75g chopped mixed bell peppers and a handful of spinach
- Mid-morning snack: A handful of mixed nuts
- Lunch: millet khichdi with sautéed veggies and sweet potato
- Mid-afternoon snack: I bowl of sprouts.
- Dinner: tofu salad with mixed sautéed veggies.
- Breakfast: one bowl of overnight oats with mango and almonds.
- Mid-morning snack: an apple with peanut butter.
- Lunch: sautéed veggies, black rice and baked salmon.
- Mid-afternoon snack: sprouts salad.
- Dinner: Sautéed veggies with mushrooms.
- Breakfast: Three whole eggs with sautéed veggies. (Carrots, bell peppers and beans)
- Mid-morning snack: banana with almond butter.
- Lunch: amaranth khichdi with veggies
- Mid-afternoon snack: ¼ avocados with sesame seeds and nuts.
- Dinner: Minced chicken with roasted bell peppers and sweet potato.
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (one whole, two whites), tomatoes, green beans
- Mid-morning snack: one glass of green veggie smoothie (1 pear, 4 inches of cucumber, 2 cups spinach, 2 cups kale, main broccoli stem, ¼ cup fresh basil, ¼ fresh lime)
- Lunch: Roasted green beans, cherry tomatoes with tofu (100 gm)
- Mid-afternoon snack: 1 boiled egg with an apple
- Dinner: 100g chicken breast stir-fry made with ½ tsp. clarified butter and green veggies.
- Breakfast: 2 egg poaches, with grilled tomato, tender stem broccoli, and grated parmesan cheese.
- Mid-morning snack: 15 almonds
- Lunch: 150g grilled prawns with a green salad and tomatoes cooked with coconut oil.
- Mid-afternoon snack: yogurt with a pear/apple
- Dinner: 100g chicken breast with steamed broccoli
- Breakfast: oats porridge with apple and 5-8 walnuts.
- Mid-morning snack: One smoothie with almond milk and mango and seed butter.
- Lunch: 200 grams grilled chicken breast with avocado and spinach.
- Mid-afternoon snack: 1 apple with 1 tbsp. of peanut butter.
- Dinner: 150g-200g grilled salmon served with steamed green beans and broccoli.
- Breakfast: one cup poha cooked with veggies and peanuts.
- Mid-morning snack: one glass of kefir with a handful of nuts.
- Lunch: 150g chicken breast with grilled veggies and avocado.
- Mid-afternoon snack: 1 pear and a handful of cashews.
- Dinner: Grilled chicken with spring onion, bell peppers and French beans.
If you are sticking to a diet, try not to count calories as after a while it becomes really tedious. So, concentrate on portion sizes, eat slowly, and you will know when you are full and you won’t over eat. A balanced nutrition plan goes a long way in not only getting a flat stomach but also making you stay healthy and happy for years together