Researchers say it has to do with the flavonoids, the heart-healthy compounds in chocolate, that have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Just be sure you’re reaching for a bar with at least 70 percent cacao, and stay away from the “alkalized” stuff, which has a significantly reduced flavonoid content. We like Nibmor Extreme Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs.

Dinner: Steak Kabobs. Think steak is off limits in a healthy diet? Think again! Lean cuts of beef can provide much needed iron and vitamins. With plenty of veggies, these kabobs are a great choice: http://www.recipe.com/beef-and-vegetable-kabobs/ *omit sugar in recipe and use stevia or honey instead. A small baked potato drizzled with olive oil is perfect.
Boxing also gives you a cardio workout that burns extra calories. Add 16 minutes of boxing three times a week to your regular cardio routine (30 minutes at high intensity four to five times a week), and you can lose up to 2 inches from your waist in four weeks. Simply throw punches while holding 1- or 2-pound weights for 8 minutes, alternating arms, then repeat without weights at a faster pace for 8 more minutes."
Cutting the amount of sugar you eat is one of the quickest and easiest ways to flatten your belly, especially if you replace that unhealthy added sugar with more fiber. In a review of 68 clinical trials and studies, New Zealand researchers reported in the British Medical Journal that increasing sugar intake meant increasing body weight while reducing sugar meant reducing body weight. Similarly, increasing fiber is another way to keep your belly lean. In a study of 1,114 people over five years, researchers reported that for every 10 grams of soluble fiber people ate, their belly fat accumulation was reduced by nearly 4 percent—even if they did nothing else to lose weight. Eat more soluble fiber with these 50 Overnight Oats Recipes for Weight Loss!

Breakfast: ‘Better than Cereal’ Cereal. Walk the cereal aisle and you’ll find many blood sugar spiking, energy draining options full of artificial ingredients and sugar. Make your own “cereal” by pouring your favorite milk/milk alternative over unsweetened coconut flakes, chopped fruit, hemp hearts, and a spoonful of your favorite nut butter for a satisfying cereal sure to beat any boxed cereal.


Though your uterus shrinks back to its normal size after the baby's born, your muscles don't always close—in fact, in a small study, nearly 40 percent of women still had a gap six months after giving birth. This breach allows the soft tissue behind your abs to come through, Trupin says. Plus, your back muscles have to compensate for your off-duty abs, putting you at risk for back pain.
Target your deepest ab muscles with The Boat: Lie face up on a mat with arms by your sides. Lift your upper body off the ground by rolling through the spine and reaching arms forward. At the same time, raise your legs so that you're balancing on your butt, knees bent and shins parallel to the ground. Slowly roll back down onto the mat, lowering legs and arms. That’s 1 rep. Do 5 reps per set, resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
"When you're frazzled, your body increases its production of steroids and stress hormones, which negatively affect your digestive system, causing major constipation," says Dr. Reichman. And as if that weren't enough to leave you looking pouchy, stress also amps up the production of cortisol, a "fight or flight" hormone that sends excess fat directly to your midsection in its attempt to protect your vital organs. To minimize tension, Dr. Reichman advises taking 20 minutes a day to relax.
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Munching on the right snacks throughout the day is one of the best ways to shrink your waistline. Need proof? According to a recent study, researchers found participants lost significantly more body weight when they incorporated low-sugar, high-protein snacks into their daily food routine. Fitting in healthy, high protein snacks (such as a handful of unsalted almonds) helps to maintain blood-sugar levels—which keeps your brain from triggering hunger pangs—and stops your body from indulging in unhealthy foods after what feels like a long day of starvation.
The pooch is bad enough, but what's worse is the back problems an overworked rectus can create—anything from general pain to degenerative or herniated disks, says Wells. "The stronger muscles in the front of your body take over and your back muscles turn off ," he says. With nothing to hold your spine in place, the disks can shift and squish together.

Why: "Oats fill you up with fiber without added sugar, like most highly processed cereals," Glassman says. "Nut butter provides healthy fat that will keep you satisfied, but won't hold onto water like sugary and salty packaged foods. (That being said, be sure to check labels and pick items with no added salt sugar!) Berries fill you up with fiber and water volume without adding a big carb load to your morning."


Get into a crunch position—lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, shoulders and head off the floor with your abs contracted. Then have someone throw an exercise ball (or basketball) to you—first to your left side so you have to twist and reach to catch it, and then to your right. Do this as many times as is comfortable, and try to increase the number each week.


I’m 18 and never really thought I was out of shape because I always maintained a weight around 105-110 with my height of 5’3 but recently felt like i could use some toning and this open my eyes to how out of shape i am.. i couldnt even lift my legs all the way for the leg lifts and it was shocking so i’m definitely going to stick to this and the beginners routine

Naturally sweet oatmeal recipes in Zero Belly Diet were the key to test panelist Isabel Fiolek's dramatic 13-pound weight loss. "I happen to have a big sugar addiction," Isabel admits. "But the recipes have been surprisingly satisfying for my sweet tooth." Isabel also made dramatic health strides: A checkup after her six weeks on Zero Belly Diet revealed she'd dropped her total cholesterol by 25 percent and her blood glucose level by 10 percent. 
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.
When I sit in my chair with the electrodes in place, nothing happens. So I switch over to sit on a pumped-up stability ball, like the kind every office health nut uses. No whoosh. But then I lean slightly backward and all of sudden — whoosh — my rectus abdominis activates to support my spine because there is no backrest to do the job. "The stability ball requires your torso to balance on an unsteady surface. It forces your abs to fire," Dr. Herrera says. I find I can also activate the rectus abdominis, not to mention my heretofore-napping obliques, by pulling in my belly button. I feel like a living Wii game avatar as I subsequently walk around Dr. Herrera's office trying to get a reaction from the EMG. Walking itself produces only a weak whoosh, but by carrying a bag of groceries in front of me, slinging my purse over one shoulder, or climbing stairs, I get the electrical activity on the EMG monitor to increase.

Out-of-whack hormones have all kinds of uncomfortable side effects and belly bloat is one of them. There’s a reason that bloating is one of the primary complaints women have during menopause! While you can’t turn back the clock and reclaim the hormone profile of your 20’s, you can make sure you’re within the normal range—something your doctor can check for you. In the meantime, eating right and exercising are natural ways to balance your hormones.


Rather than scarfing down meals, make a point of chewing each bite at least 10 times before swallowing. "The body has to work overtime to break down food in the stomach and intestines, which can lead to major gas and indigestion," Dr. Reichman says. Plus, when you eat fast, you're more prone to swallowing air, which can ratchet up your risk of feeling a little puffy.
Fennel, peppermint, and ginger have all been shown in research studies to have calming effects on the belly. They work by enhancing digestive enzymes so your food gets moved through your system faster. And faster-moving food means a flatter tummy. In addition, peppermint reduces cramping and gas, ginger helps with nausea and inflammation, and fennel is a diuretic to help you stop retaining water. Here are other home remedies to help an upset stomach.
With the weather getting warmer it’s the perfect time to go for a walk or run, but remember to vary your speeds. Why, you ask? Research has shown it will help you shrink your belly. In a Danish study reported by the American Diabetes Association, two groups of people with type 2 diabetes were put on a walking program. One group walked at a steady speed, while the other group varied their walking speed. After four months, the interval-training group lost eight more pounds than the steady walkers. Even better, the walkers who changed up their speeds lost visceral belly fat and improved their blood sugar control.

Oh my, two days isn’t long enough to even begin to start seeing results! After the complete challenge you’ll start seeing something change. Your body hasn’t even had a chance to start losing it yet. Also, don’t just rely on this challenge and include other exercise into your daily routine also. Cardio workouts on Cassey’s youtube channel are fantastic as well as many other body sculpting videos. Also control your food intake and track everything you eat and drink! My personal trainer told me it takes up to 6 weeks to fully see results as we all know nothing will make fat drop off over night, or two nights in this instance. Patience and perseverance is key i’m afraid. Stick at the challenge and look in the mirror when it’s finished!


I work in a specialty running store in Maryland. I took the job because I love running and I love my boss. I tell you this because this month, Caitlin and I have been using your 30 day ab challenge and we have had so much fun. We are looking to continue it through the year though and would love your suggestions for do that. I am not sure just doing this one over and over is the best plan.

Your body needs some sodium to function, but too much can lead to fluid retention in the gut, Henderiks says. Put down the shaker and forgo processed and prepared foods as much as possible in favor of homemade meals so you can control the salt. Experts recommend maxing out at 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day, but this is one time when less is better.


The last protein you’ll be cooking this week is another lean meat, pork tenderloin. Congratulations! You made it through the week without red meat! The average American eats about 3.3 oz of red meat per day. Eating too much red meat has been linked to chronic, inflammation, heart problems, cancer, and an unhealthy gut, so our flat-belly plan eschews the stuff. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it, though! Experts recommend having only 3 servings of red meat a week—but make sure it’s grass-fed beef, not grain-fed. This source is teeming with heart-healthy omega-3s and fat-burning conjugated linoleic fatty acids. It’s also lower in inflammatory saturated fats.
Naturally sweet oatmeal recipes in Zero Belly Diet were the key to test panelist Isabel Fiolek's dramatic 13-pound weight loss. "I happen to have a big sugar addiction," Isabel admits. "But the recipes have been surprisingly satisfying for my sweet tooth." Isabel also made dramatic health strides: A checkup after her six weeks on Zero Belly Diet revealed she'd dropped her total cholesterol by 25 percent and her blood glucose level by 10 percent. 
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.
At my first workout with her, I watched Korus demonstrate the tolasana pose. Sitting cross-legged with her palms resting on yoga blocks next to her hips, she straightened her arms and, using only her ab muscles, raised her body off the floor. When I attempted it, I couldn't even lift one butt cheek off my mat. Never mind my muffin top; I wondered how my abs had gotten so wimpy. After all, it had been eight years since I'd had my second daughter, so those muscles should have bounced back long ago.
Processed foods are one of the biggest sources of salt in Americans' diets—and the scary part is you probably don't even realize it. Because of the way these addictive foods are formulated, salt is hidden in everything from soups to pasta sauces to even sweet things like boxed cakes. Swap out processed foods in favor of fresh fare and your tummy will thank you. Not only will you lose the salt-bloat but you'll also lose the extra empty calories and lose weight.
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, which means the more you have, the faster your metabolism is and the more calories you burn all day long—all key for a whittled middle. Resistance training builds this quality lean muscle, so do two to three total-body strength sessions a week, says Tom Holland, exercise physiologist and author of Beat the Gym: Personal Trainer Secrets Without the Personal Trainer Price Tag. For fat-melting cardio, all you need to do is your weight, he adds: If you’re 145 pounds, do 145 minutes a week, broken up however fits into your schedule—say, 60 minutes Saturday, 45 Tuesday, and 40 Thursday.
I’ve always been curious about when people take pictures of their flat bellies. Are they pulling their abs in to look flat or is the stomach relaxed? I’ve been working my abs for over a year now and have increased strength with a four pack if you want to call it that. I am skinny (5’7″ 128 lbs) but have lower belly not completely flat. Sticks out a little bit. Is this normal or do I have to work my abs harder?
The thyroid gland is best known for its metabolic function affecting weight. Estrogen dominance renders the thyroid hormones dysfunctional, causing your body's metabolism to slow down. The resulting condition is called relative hypothyroidism. In addition, the changes in your body's blood sugar levels—some of which occur naturally with age and some of which are due to a hormone imbalance—are also linked to weight gain. As the body's progesterone production decreases with age and estrogen becomes dominant, your body releases insulin more rapidly and more often. When fluctuating hormones unnaturally stimulate insulin release, you get hungry faster and will often crave sugar. In fact, these food cravings can sometimes be uncontrollable, and people who are estrogen dominant tend to consume more sweets even when they aren't truly hungry. As a result, they ingest more calories than their bodies require and pack on even more pounds.

Boxing also gives you a cardio workout that burns extra calories. Add 16 minutes of boxing three times a week to your regular cardio routine (30 minutes at high intensity four to five times a week), and you can lose up to 2 inches from your waist in four weeks. Simply throw punches while holding 1- or 2-pound weights for 8 minutes, alternating arms, then repeat without weights at a faster pace for 8 more minutes."
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!
Dinner: Steak Kabobs. Think steak is off limits in a healthy diet? Think again! Lean cuts of beef can provide much needed iron and vitamins. With plenty of veggies, these kabobs are a great choice: http://www.recipe.com/beef-and-vegetable-kabobs/ *omit sugar in recipe and use stevia or honey instead. A small baked potato drizzled with olive oil is perfect.
Scientists in this rapidly growing field are finding connections between the gut microbiome and a healthy immune system and gastrointestinal system, as well as autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease), allergies and asthma – even cancer. And with every study that is published, they are convinced that a healthy gut leads to a healthy body. Indeed, when your gut is happy, your skin glows with health and you look and feel younger.
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