I'm not going to tell you to abstain from alcohol completely, I'm pretty open about how much I enjoy a little tequila from time to time of the occasional glass of red. But when you're trying to lose weight and tone up, alcohol is the ultimate enemy. Alcohol releases estrogen into the bloodstream and when you have excess estrogen, you're more prone to hold onto weight. Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions, decreases your willpower, and stimulates your appetite. The result? You're at a diner ordering a cheeseburger and fries at 2 a.m. Now THAT is definitely not the route to a rock hard six pack. Your best bet is to take a hiatus from booze until you meet your weight-loss goals and can re-introduce alcohol into your diet in a healthy way – 2 to 4 drinks a week tops.
Flat Belly begins with a restrictive four-day anti-bloat regimen comprised of four 300-calorie meals a day. Lots of baby carrots, cucumbers, skim milk, chicken breast and tilapia will be on the menu. Then you'll progress to a monthlong eating plan that calls for three 400-calorie meals and one 400-calorie snack a day. Each meal includes a precise amount of one monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), such as 1 cup of soybeans, 1/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips or 2 tablespoons of olive tapenade. Meals also emphasize lean protein, whole grains, veggies and fruit.

So cook up some oatmeal—and top it with some fruit. What's so magical about this combination? Each provides insoluble fiber that helps reduce blood cholesterol and feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut. By doing so, you trigger your gut to produce butyrate, a fatty acid that reduces fat-causing inflammation throughout your body. In a Canadian study, researchers discovered that those whose diets were supplemented with insoluble fiber had higher levels of ghrelin—a hormone that controls hunger. (Try these two-minute oatmeal recipes that'll make you an oatmeal fan forever.)
Exposure to light at night doesn’t just interrupt your chances of a great night’s sleep, it may result in weight gain, according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Study subjects who slept in the darkest rooms were 21 percent less likely to be obese than those sleeping in the lightest rooms. For more ways to lose weight, check out these 33 Ways to Flatten Your Belly—Fast!!

Since the best way to lose weight and stay in shape involves a combination eating right and exercising, we’ve included both types of tips on our list, and also interspersed some valuable habits to keep in mind if you’re looking for a flat belly. While tossing some berries and nuts into your oatmeal is a great way to boost your intake of satiating protein and fiber that will transform your tummy for the better, so too is doing some core-engaging flat planks. Couple those adjustments with ensuring you get a solid eight hours of sleep each night, and watch the belly fat disappear faster than the sunscreen you can never seem to buy enough of.

But talking in expert technicalities, let's get real: there's no hard and fast way to get rid of belly fat. You may think that you can spot reduce, but ask any PT worth their REPS Level 3 qualification – the certificate your fitness pro should have – and they'll bust this belly myth. That's because your body decides where it wants to store fat, not you.


The trick is to never stuff your tummy, or to starve. Eat something within half an hour of waking up and then a breakfast full of wholegrain and protein. Go for a filling lunch and a light dinner at least three hours before bedtime. Eat two snacks – one mid morning and one at tea time. Small, balanced meals do not lead to tummy bulge and keep your metabolism up and running. Best part is that your body never goes into starvation mode, which is when it feels the need to store everything as fat.
WHAT'S GOING ON: There are two kinds of belly fat: There's the stuff right under your skin that you can pinch (ugh), called subcutaneous fat. But that's actually the less harmful kind. It's visceral fat that poses a real threat to your health. It plumps your middle from the inside out, surrounding organs such as your liver, lungs, and heart—and putting you at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers, says Kristen Gill Hairston, M.D., an endocrinologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC.

Sure, summer is all about the flat belly—hello bikini season!—but why not tone some other parts of your body while you’re at it? By pairing split lunges with bicep curls you’ll be giving your legs, abs, and arms a workout. Mark, who advises doing this exercise with 1-liter water bottles, says, “Even though you aren’t actively moving your abs, they play a huge role in keeping your spine upright during this exercise, so please make sure you keep them engaged throughout the entire movement. This one makes your entire body tremble—so get ready!”


Your core is the center of your body. You need to identify it, engage it and have all movements extend from it. It's also key to go beyond basic crunches. They're one-dimensional, hitting only the rectus abdominis (or six-pack). My quickie series targets the midsection from multiple angles, part of the reason why my clients over 40, like J.Lo, still have sculpted abs. Pair with 30 to 60 minutes of cardio and aim to do it six times a week.
Many of us grew up eating white bread and bagels, so we understand why they may hold a special place in your heart. But these starchy grains (and things like white rice and pretzels) are anything but healthy. Made with enriched flour instead of healthy whole grains, they’re void of the belly-filling fiber that boosts satiety and keeps blood sugar stable. What’s worse, refined white-flour foods like these are linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plus, they lead to weight gain and make it more difficult to lose weight, too. For more ways to get the slim body you crave, check out these 50 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds—Fast.

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!)
Spanx are maybe no one’s idea of a good time, but sometimes you just need a little extra (firm) help to flatten your tummy to wear your favorite dress or for a special evening out. And there’s nothing wrong with turning to technology to help you get there. Body shaping undergarments have come a long way in the past few years with more breathable fabrics and styles for both men and women.
Dark chocolate is packed with MUFAs—or monounsaturated fatty acids—that help your body burn belly fat. Dark chocolate is also filled with flavonoid antioxidants (more than 3 times the amount in milk chocolate) that keep blood platelets from sticking together and may even unclog your arteries. It may also help with weight loss by keeping you feeling full, according to a study from Denmark. Try a chocolate with 70% or more cocoa. Get your fix in these 10 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts.
• When high estrogen levels are unopposed by sufficient progesterone, the resulting condition of estrogen dominance also impacts your body fat's distribution. In both men and women, higher estrogen levels predispose the body to store fat around the abdomen. In women, estrogen dominance causes fat to be stored around the waist, hips, and thighs, and it's the main reason that many middle-age women have pear-shaped bodies. Estrogen dominance is also the reason for the middle-age spare tire in men.
No the exercises don’t cause bloating. The reason that Cassie asks us to drink water is so that our body can flush out all the unnecessary garbage, like sodium for example, in our body that causes bloating. When our bodies hold on to these things and bloat up, (also known as water weight) the abs still exist but we cant see them because of all the bloating.
No the exercises don’t cause bloating. The reason that Cassie asks us to drink water is so that our body can flush out all the unnecessary garbage, like sodium for example, in our body that causes bloating. When our bodies hold on to these things and bloat up, (also known as water weight) the abs still exist but we cant see them because of all the bloating.
"Eating portion-controlled meals that include whole-grain foods and monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) throughout the day is the best way to eat for a flat belly: People who eat whole grains lose more abdominal fat. And making most of the fats you eat MUFAs reduces ab flab, research says." —Keri Glassman, RD, author of The O2 Diet and The Snack Factor Diet

Now that we know how important it is to get rid of belly fat, let us see how it gets there in the first place. Men have a tendency to hold excess fat in their bellies, though women are more prone to store it in their hips and thighs – a protection offered by hormones. However, menopause removes this protection, making women equally vulnerable. An apple shaped woman will also have this vulnerability, mainly due to her genes. Other reasons include more calorie intake, mainly from processed food, alcohol and trans fats as well as bloating due to gassy foods.
Keeping a bag of frozen fruit in your freezer makes it so easy to whip up this portable smoothie. Besides the convenience, frozen fruit can also be healthier than fresh fruit in the off-season because frozen fruit is picked at its peak and is full of free-radical-fighting antioxidants. What’s more, the act of freezing the fruit may also help release some of those antioxidants as the ice crystals can burst open the cells in which they’re stored! We like putting yogurt in our smoothies to add a little fat and protein and spinach to add fiber. And either a tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds for their anti-inflammatory omega-3s. All three will help to blunt any spike in blood sugar from the fruit (which also have their own source of fiber).
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.
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.
According to a study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, & Biochemistry, consuming apple cider vinegar each day can lead to weight loss, reduced belly fat, waist circumference, and lower blood triglycerides. More specifically, the study of obese Japanese participants found that those who consumed 1 tablespoon of ACV over a three month period lost 2.6 pounds, and those who consumed 2 tablespoons lost 3.7 pounds in the same time frame. Toss a spoonful of ACV into a homemade salad dressing or smoothie and watch the weight melt off!
Peterson has his clients work up to holding a plank for 1 minute. Then they progress to performing vacuums during the exercise: Suck in your abs like you’re trying to button jeans that are too tight. Hold for 3 counts, then release for 3 counts. Repeat until the end of your plank. You’ll have to build back up to a minute, but it’s worth it, Peterson says.

“Proper sleep is crucial for weight loss. Too little sleep leads to poor food choices, largely due to increased levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Too little sleep also decreases levels of leptin, a hormone that helps satiate your appetite. Lack of sleep also clouds judgment and causes impulse decision making, which inevitably leads to poor food choices,” adds founder and Certified Sleep Science Coach at SleepZoo, Chris Brantner.
Lie faceup with legs together and extended straight out. Place right hand lightly on back of head and extend left arm straight back overhead, holding a 3-pound weight (A). Bring legs up to 90 degrees; crunch upper and lower body while lifting left arm up and then lowering it forward until it's in line with torso (B). Return to start. Do 30 to 40 reps; repeat on other side. Keep neck neutral so you don't strain it.
Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart, toes tucked under. Extend your arms out straight in front of your chest, palms facing down. Lift your chest and press your pelvis forward as you hinge backwards, arching slightly through your lower back. Pause and focus on opening up your chest while also keeping your ribcage down and your belly button drawn into your spine. Slowly return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat up to 10 times.
Lie on your right side, supporting your upper body on your right elbow, forearm, and hand. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder. Slowly lift the rest of your body off the floor, so all that's touching is your forearm and feet. (Use the other arm to balance. For an advanced move, hold that arm straight up in the air.) Hold as long as is comfortable or until you can no longer maintain good form. Then slowly lower and relax. Repeat on the other side, alternating until fatigued.
Dr. Travis Stork is an Emmy(R)-nominated co-host of the award-winning talk show "The Doctors" and a practicing board-certified emergency medicine physician. He graduated magna cum laude from Duke University and earned his M.D. with honors from the University of Virginia, where he was elected into the prestigious honor society of Alpha Omega Alpha for outstanding academic achievement. Born and rais ...more
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