What causes it? Your genes, for one thing. "Some families just carry most of their weight in their bellies, no matter how thin they are," says Caroline Cederquist, M.D., author of The MD Factor Diet. But visceral fat gets worse for all of us as we get older, especially if we're under a lot of stress or not sleeping well, says nutritionist Sara Vance, author of The Perfect Metabolism Plan. That's thanks to hormones that make us hungrier even as our bodies are practically hoarding fat.


Dr. Rasa Kazlauskaite at Rush University Medical Center suggests filling half your plate with vegetables so you don't have room for unhealthy foods. Eating more vegetables not only helps whittle your waist, but also lowers risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. A vegetable-filled lunch might include 4 ounces of grilled chicken breast with 2 cups of mixed vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots sauteed in 1 teaspoon of olive oil with 1 cup of roasted red potatoes. This meal contains 545 calories.
What’s better than squats if you’re looking to get a flat belly? Pairing those squats with a bicycle crunch. This combo is one of Mark’s favorites because of all the different muscle groups it targets. “This compound movement not only hits your legs, but also works lower abdominals, upper abdominals, and obliques—all in one fun move!” he explains. Do a handful of sets a few times a week to start seeing results.
Eggs are the number one source of choline, a fat-burning nutrient. They fire up your metabolism and help turn off the genes for belly fat storage. In a study of 21 men in the journal Nutrition Research, half of the men were fed a breakfast of bagels while the other half ate eggs. The egg group had a lower response to ghrelin and were less hungry three hours later. They also consumed fewer calories for the next 24 hours! And speaking of belly fat, lose more of it with the help of these 42 Ways to Lose 5 Inches of Belly Fat.
Fruits like berries, cherries, apples, and oranges are high in quercetin, a natural compound that reduces inflammation in the belly. And if you put a bowl of the good stuff right where you can see it in your kitchen, you’re more likely to reach for it when you want a snack. These are the 10 reasons why apple cider vinegar is brilliant for slimming down.

Do stability training. How do you turn a bicep exercise into a core workout? Add a stability challenge! Do the exercise in a standing position and add an unstable surface under your feet. That way you have to brace your core and use your abdominal muscles to balance and stay upright while you work your arms. You can add this kind of balance challenge to any exercise. Use tools like a wobble board or a bosu to enhance your stability training.
This easy a.m. ritual works on two levels. First, a recent study found that exposure to sunlight in between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon reduced your risk of weight gain regardless of activity level, caloric intake, or age. Researchers speculate that the morning light synchronizes your metabolism and undercuts your fat genes. And burning calories before you eat means you're exercising in a fasted state—the energy you burn comes right from your fat stores, instead of from the food you ate. But what really stunned Martha was the improvement in her heart health. Before starting Zero Belly Diet, Martha's heart rate would typically soar to 112 beats per minute (bpm) within moments of starting her exercise bike workout. "After the first week and a half I could not raise my heart rate over 96 bpm with the same workout. It was great to see change in the mirror, and even better to know good things were happening that I couldn't even see."
Ask a woman struggling to lose weight, where does she want the weight to come off first, and I can promise you that she is more than like to say the tummy! This is especially true if you are talking to a woman who has had a baby. For most of us, a flat tummy makes us look slimmer, more proportionate, taller and ultimately more attractive. And the clothes fit better too!
Work to reduce your stress level. It turns out that you can place a little bit of the blame for your bulging belly on our caveman ancestors. Part of the “fight or flight” reflex that helped protect our predecessors from sabre-tooth tigers triggers a release of cortisol, which signals the body to store fat in the abdominal area — saving it as energy for tough times to come.[14]

With our new 21-Day Tummy plan, you will be eating more anti-inflammatory foods, especially those rich in magnesium, and fewer carb-dense foods and FODMAPs (rapidly fermentable carbohydrates that can aggravate your gut). This plan helped my fellow testers and me shrink our stomachs (by up to 4 1/2 inches in one case!) and ease our tummy troubles. At least two people stopped taking prescription drugs for heartburn entirely, and GI symptoms disappeared completely for several testers.
Squat-thrust push-ups. Start in push-up position, do one push-up, then push off with your feet and pull your knees up to your chest so your feet land between your hands (still on the ground in push-up position), then jump as high as you can, arms over head. Squat back down with your hands on the floor, then jump back to push-up position again. Do as many as you can do well with good form.
Quick question for Cassie. I’m LOVING my results from this abs challenge but I’m wondering how I maintain or continue my progress after the challenge is over. Should I find another ab challenge for the month, repeat the challenge or just continue on with next month’s calendar and continue eating clean to maintain my results? Any feedback you could give would be so helpful! Thank you again! Xoxo
It's an all-too-common problem once you hit thirty: Despite your best efforts, you just can't seem to lose the extra weight around your middle, and you look in the mirror wondering what month and year you lost your waistline. Medical research proves you're not alone--that the average American gains one to two pounds a year after age thirty--usually around the stomach. Not only does this excess belly fat make you look and feel bad, it's the most damaging kind of fat; a precursor to heart attacks and certain types of cancer. Discover the hidden culprit behind the 'middle-age spread'--and the simple plan that's helped hundreds of women over 30 break the fat cycle! The result? Well within four weeks you'll lose pounds and inches… and reveal the flat belly--and the health and vitality that go along with it.
This plan, created by Cederquist exclusively for REDBOOK, cuts carbs significantly for three days, reducing excess insulin, a fat-storing hormone. Then it brings them back slow and steady (see below). During each phase, you should eat plenty of lean proteins ( g) and healthy fats ( g) throughout the day to keep you feeling full and ward off cravings. The protein will help you build and maintain muscle mass, too, which is key to burning calories, Cederquist says. Pack your bags, belly fat!
Contrary to what many people believe, doing thousands of sit-ups or crunches all day, every day, will not get you closer to achieving those washboard abs. Yep, you read that right. Both belly bulge and love handles are about excess body fat, NOT lack of muscle. And sadly, we can’t spot reduce fat. That's why ab exercises alone are not the solution. Scoring a flat stomach is all about workouts that burn body fat overall. One of the best ways to do that is utilizing exercises that are core focused, but impact different muscle groups at the same time — so you're strengthening your entire body, which burns more calories and subsequently more fat – during and long after your workout.  A perfect example of this would be a mountain climber. You are working your chest, shoulders, triceps, core and accelerating the hell out of your heart rate for optimal calorie burn.
Know your anatomy. Familiarize yourself with the muscle groups that make up your abdominal area. If you understand how the muscles work, it will be easier to use them properly when you exercise. Then plan a smart abdominal workout to complete at least three times per week. It doesn't have to last longer than 10-15 minutes, but it should include exercises to work the internal and external obliques on the sides of your torso as well as exercises to work the rectus abdominis, which runs down the middle of your midsection and defines your six-pack.
I am new to your website and YouTube channel but to be honest I love it and I want to keep up. It has been 2 years since I have an eating disorder, I am afraid of eating and most of all getting fat. Few days ago I realized that it wouldn’t take me anywhere so I started watching some YouTube videos on how to keep fit, some ab workouts, legs workouts and healthy meals. I really like your 30 day abs challenge but I have a simple question. Should I stick with one and only ab challenge or can I do more than one at the same time? I am really looking forward to your answer. I think you are amazing and a really inspiring person that I would like to follow through my process. Thank you, Matilde
This happens to me too. It turns out that I have a tight/overstrained hip flexors. My physiotherapist told me that I need to make my hips stronger to be able to bear the stress of the exercise that I put it through. Exercises such as pilates clamshells are one way to do this. Also, using a foam roller to roll out the tight hip muscles really helps.
Stress skyrockets your levels of cortisol, often called “the belly fat” hormone because it signals to the body to store fat around your waist. Add the daily stressors of living our modern lifestyle and you can see how cortisol can be constantly coursing through your veins. This perma-stress mode isn’t good for a lot of healthy reasons, your tummy being just one of them, so it’s important to take time every day to de-stress. Yoga, meditation, walking, journaling, doing a hands-on hobby, or playing a musical instrument are all great time-tested methods. (Hint: Know what isn’t? Watching television. The boob tube actually increases your levels of cortisol!)
Test panelist Bryan Wilson, a 29-year-old accountant, lost 19 pounds and an astounding 6 inches from his waist in just six weeks on the program, and he attributes his success to the Zero Belly shake recipes in the program. "I love the shakes. I added them to my diet, and almost immediately I lost the bloat," Bryan said. "I'm a sweet craver, and the shakes were an awesome alternative to bowls and bowls of ice cream I would have had."

But because you don't have X-ray vision to see whether too much of the potentially dangerous visceral fat is parking itself in your own belly, scientists have figured out a couple of DIY guidelines. To avoid increased risk of obesity-related diseases, women should have a waist measurement no bigger than 35 inches (measure it at the smallest point of your midsection), and some experts recommend a waist-to-hip ratio of around 0.8, meaning that your waistline should be no greater than 80 percent of your hip circumference. According to a Mayo Clinic study released last May, the ratio of waist to hip is believed to be a measurement of visceral fat. Other fascinating research, published in the American Journal of Human Biology, found that women who give birth before age 40 have an average of two centimeters more fat around their bellies than women of the same ages who haven't given birth. (I'll have to thank my two daughters for those extra centimeters.)

Whereas many beverages can increase your waistline (see above), there is one that is guaranteed to trim your tummy: water. Drinking plain ol' H2O works because staying fully hydrated tells your body it's okay to release any extra water it's retaining, decreasing the accompanying bloat. Plus, drinking water has been proven to reduce cravings for sweets, lower your appetite, and help you feel satiated faster.
A dry sandwich is no good, but neither is one smothered in high-calorie mayo. Swap the popular condiment for avocado instead and help blast fat. Just half of an avocado contains 4.6 grams of belly-filling fiber, and its satiating powers are so potent that a study in the Nutrition Journal discovered that folks who added half a fresh avocado to their meal reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterward. And unlike mayo, which is basically void of nutrients, avocados contain metabolism-enhancing monounsaturated fats that have been shown to reduce hunger, and unsaturated fats, which seem to prevent the storage of belly fat. For more ways to blast your belly fat, take a look at 10 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 10 Days!

What’s better than squats if you’re looking to get a flat belly? Pairing those squats with a bicycle crunch. This combo is one of Mark’s favorites because of all the different muscle groups it targets. “This compound movement not only hits your legs, but also works lower abdominals, upper abdominals, and obliques—all in one fun move!” he explains. Do a handful of sets a few times a week to start seeing results.
The best part? Instead of cranking out dozens of crunches, we’re about to make-under your ab routine. For the first two weeks, do two to three circuits of the first four moves; together they hit all four ab muscle groups. “You’ll reach your goal faster if your workout builds on intensity and total reps done over time,” Olson explains. These moves get a little harder and the reps get higher for week three, plus there’s an exercise added in. Same for week four, except this time you’ll add two more moves to your session. By that week, expect two to three circuits of seven moves with the max challenge and reps. No sweat—you’ll be ready.
Getting rid of belly fat isn't just about fitting into skinny jeans—research shows that people with less visceral belly fat (the fat that surrounds your organs) have a decreased risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So not only will losing fat help you look and feel better, it will also help ward off dangerous health issues. While there isn't one magic food that will melt away belly fat, studies have reported certain foods have special belly-fat-burning benefits, such as avocado, artichokes, whole grains, kefir, green tea, eggs, peanuts and chickpeas. These foods work in different ways to help shrink fat cells and decrease waist circumference. This 7-day meal plan incorporates these flat-belly foods, plus vegetables, whole grains, fruits and healthy fats and protein, in delicious ways to help make it easier to lose belly fat and feel great.

• Too much estrogen circulating in the body increases body fat, and fatty tissue within the body produces and stores more estrogen. Body fat contains an enzyme that converts adrenal steroids to estrogen. At a cellular level, body fat continues to produce more estrogen, and a high estrogen level, in turn, causes the body to increase its store of fatty tissue. In other words, your belly becomes a 'fat magnet.'
In Part 1, you'll learn the medical reason why your belly fat appeared and why it just won't budge, no matter how hard you try. In Chapter 1, you'll learn how hormone balance is intricately connected with your body's metabolism and its predisposition to store fat. Even more important, you'll come to understand why estrogen dominance is very likely the primary hidden culprit adding pounds to your belly and inches to your waist. Already wondering if you might be estrogen dominant? In Chapter 2, you'll learn how to self-diagnose the problem.

When it comes to grains, whole is the way to go. Why, you ask? Because unlike the refined stuff—white rice, white pasta, and white flour—which is stripped of valuable nutrients in the refining process, whole grains are packed with satiating, heart-healthy fiber and they won’t negatively affect your blood sugar or weight the way their whiter counterparts do. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition https://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/new-study-suggests-eating-whole-grains-increases-metabolism-and-calorie-loss found that substituting whole grains for refined grains in the diet increases calorie loss by reducing calories retained during digestion and speeding up metabolism. So if you’re on a quest to lose weight, ditch the white stuff and stock up on whole grains such as buckwheat, brown rice, and quinoa
Your phone, tablet, and television may be affecting your waist size in more ways that one. Obviously if you're sitting on electronics then you're not moving around and burning calories. But the effects go beyond just energy. Blue light from electronic screens can disrupt your circadian rhythms; so our addiction to electronics is reducing our sleep as people favor Netflix-bingeing to bed. Both of these effects have been linked to higher levels of belly fat.
It's not just about weight loss. Having great gut health is linked to good health throughout your body. Scientists in this rapidly growing field are finding connections between gut microbes and the immune system, weight loss, gastrointestinal health, allergies, asthma, and even cancer. With every study that's published, scientists become more convinced that having a healthy gut leads to having a healthy body.
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