Below you’ll find some of our favorite recipes to get you through the week. Each day (complete with three meals) comes out to under 1,300 calories, which you can add to with any of our flat-belly approved snacks. Every recipe incorporates ingredients that help you burn fat, boost your metabolism, heal your gut, reduce weight-inducing inflammation, and keep you fuller longer—so you won’t be reaching for that 3 p.m. diet soda. (And by the way, the ingredients listed are for one person, and can easily be doubled or quadrupled if you’re cooking for a crowd.)
For a flat belly, put down the chips and cookies and snack on some air-popped popcorn instead. The air-popped stuff doesn’t have the salt and fat that comes with unhealthy microwave popcorn that’s usually doused in butter, and it’s also an excellent source satiating fiber and protein. In fact, one cup of popcorn popped fresh in olive oil and lightly salted has 2 g of fiber, one g of protein, and is only 40 calories. To add some flavor to the tasty, low-calorie treat, make use of metabolism-boosting spices such as cinnamon or cayenne pepper. For more ways to boost your fiber intake, check out The 43 Best Foods for Fiber!
Breakfast: Banana “Pancake.” Imagine a pancake that doesn’t leave you feeling sluggish, but instead nourishes you for your morning. That’s just want this banana “pancake” does: http://www.theskinnyconfidential.com/2012/09/25/ummm-seriously-dying-ingredient-pancakes-flourless-full-protein/. *Be sure to follow the suggestion to include flax seed for optimal results.
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.)
Just don't wait until you blow the tape-measure test to start defending your belly from this flab. Step one is to toss the trans fats, which are found in prepackaged treats under the alias partially hydrogenated oils and have been shown to pack on body fat, particularly in the abdomen. Replace them with monounsaturated fats — for example, olive oil and those in walnuts and avocados — which help your body metabolize belly fat. And swig some reduced-fat milk, like 1 percent or skim, while you're at it: Calcium increases the activity of enzymes that break down fat cells and reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which triggers your body to hoard belly fat.
Day 3 of the ab challenge and feeling great! For anyone who is thinking of starting this, DO IT. I can already feel myself getting stronger in my core. Day 1, the leg lifts were awful, Day 3 they weren’t as bad. I see results so quickly and am very excited and motivated to continue! Good luck popsters! Btw- Dont forget the water part. It is so important and if you dont like water, add some lemon or fruit!
Shernice, yes just do one set of the given workouts each day. It may seem like Day 30 would be too easy for you (I can already do it too), but the point is that you’ll be working your abs EVERYDAY on top of your regular workout. I usually only have one dedicated ab day each week, but incorporating more ab exercises in our daily life will make them stronger by the end of the month. Do the challenge, focus on good form, and have fun! :)
It’s probably no surprise that pasta isn’t the best flat-belly dinner choice—after all, simple carbs won’t fill you up, so you’ll probably end up eating a huge portion—but even your vegetable choice can make you overdo it on carbohydrates. Load your plate with starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas, and you could practically watch your belly blow up. “That’s going to take you longer to digest, which will make you feel bloated,” says Rumsey. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage could also make you gassy and bloated, says Crandall. While all of those veggies can be a part of a healthy diet, stick with non-starchy, non-cruciferous choices like tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms on days when you’re particularly worried about bloat.
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.
Chewing gum when you’re hungry fills your tummy with extra air, causing bloat. Many gums also contain sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners, like sorbitol and xylitol, which can lead to bloating. Skip the gum altogether or opt for an organic variety like Glee gum or Simply gum instead. They’re still low-cal, but they don’t use sweeteners that’ll make you puff up.
Research shows the average American eats about 20 teaspoons of sugar daily, often hidden in processed foods, including “healthy” ones such as yogurt, frozen dinners, sauces, and salad dressings. Twenty teaspoons adds up to 325 empty calories a day, and insulin production increases with sugar intake, which can slow your metabolism, making it harder to burn those empty calories. Read labels and try to reduce your intake as much as possible.
Starting a Meatless Monday tradition is a great way to drop a few pounds because it increases your intake of fiber and a host of other nutrients. Numerous studies have shown that those who eat the least amount of meat are less likely to be obese, have lower BMIs, and the lowest body fat levels. Though it’s perfectly fine to eat meat a few times a week, these high-protein foods tend to fill you up before you can work your way over to the veggies, which are known to possess fat-fighting, waist-trimming powers, so try spotlighting just greens and healthy grains a few times a month.
A note on vegan/vegetarian diets: This is another topic that entire books and articles are written about, so we won’t dive into them here. Of course, it is absolutely possible to build muscle or lose fat on a vegan/vegetarian diet. Certainly you can get to a flat stomach, you just need to be diligent with your calorie tracking and macros, like we recommend you do above.
Pass up baked goods. This is my own personal rule to get (and keep) flat abs. I love baked goods but there’s really nothing good about them as far as your abs are concerned. Cupcakes are awesome but they are bad for your belly. Baked treats often contain way too much sugar, tons of fat and almost no nutritional value. Many packaged baked goods also contain trans fat. If you really need dessert, have a small square of chocolate or a small scoop of ice cream. At least ice cream contains metabolism-boosting protein, which is essential for weight loss
I hated the use of "little buddies," but this book made sense to me. I'm working on adding probiotics to my diet, and the macros/serving suggested her are similar to IIFYM and RP, which I've tried in the past but had difficulty sticking to in terms of rigidity. With this, though, there's a little more flexibility and I think I have a better chance of being able to do it.