The midsection can be one of the most stubborn areas to trim down, and that leads to us getting this question all the time. So, we thought we’d get the secret to awesome abs out there once and for all!
What, exactly, do you need to do to slim down your midsection?
Well, it turns out, the old saying is true: abs are made in the kitchen. (Womp, womp)
Was that a collective groan we just heard? No, no, don’t give up yet. We promise it’s not complicated! Here are 7 concrete steps you can take to start seeing a slimmer stomach in no time!
1. Avoid added sugar and processed foods.
We all know added sugar isn’t great for us, but why is that exactly? Well, sugar is half glucose and half fructose, the latter of which overloads the liver, forcing it to turn all that fructose into fat — particularly around the belly.
And that’s not even mentioning the health risks associated with refined sugar. If you can cut down on your intake of added sugar, which is often found in processed foods, your belly — and your overall health — will thank you!
There’s one other way refined sugar sneaks into your body to derail your fitness goals…
2. Don’t drink your calories.
Sodas, juices, sports drinks, and many alcoholic drinks are chock full of sugar. So if you’re going to be successful at #1 on this list, make sure you’re paying attention to what you’re drinking, too.
Water is always the go-to option for a flatter stomach, but green tea is also a smart choice — it’s even been found to increase fat-burning performance in some studies (and it has a little caffeine).
So skip the soda (yes, even diet) and grab a drink that supports your goals!
3. Eat more protein.
Yes, we said “eat more,” but there’s another word after that: protein. This awesome food group reduces cravings, boosts metabolism, and fuels your workouts, making it one of the most useful weight-loss secrets around.
Some nutritious protein options include fish, whole eggs, meat, dairy, nuts, whole grains, and legumes. On days when you’re struggling to get your protein fill, you can try a supplement, but don’t rely on it regularly. There’s nothing better than the real thing!
4. Learn your stomach’s signals.
Now that you’re loading up on the good stuff, it’s important to make sure you’re not overeating. Did you know that by the time you feel “full,” you’re already overfull? (That’s why you feel so crummy about 20 minutes later.)
The reason for this is simple: it takes a while for your stomach to communicate to the brain just how full it is. To fix this, you need to learn your body’s unique signals. A good rule of thumb to practice is to eat slowly and only until you feel 80% full. Chances are if you wait and reflect a bit, you’ll find that you truly are full at that point.
5. Ditch the crunches for whole-body workouts.
We have nothing against crunches, but if that’s all you’re doing, you’re probably not going to see great success in busting that belly. Spot-targeting your abdomen will certainly strengthen the muscles there — but many recent studies have found that this won’t single-handedly reduce the belly fat above it.
Instead, do full-body workouts that will increase calorie burn and aid in lowering the overall fat percentage of your whole body — which, of course, includes that stomach. Combining cardio and strength training is a great way to do this!
(If you’re a Dragonfly member, you can go ahead and check this one off the list!)
6. Keep an eye on your stress level.
Stress releases cortisol in your body, which stimulates the appetite and increases cravings for sugary foods and foods high in carbs.
Of course, stress is a fact of life, but you can actively work to contain it. What that will look like depends on the individual. For some, it might be meditation before bed or first thing in the morning. For others, it might be a walk, or maybe a yoga session when you feel the stress piling up.
And for all of us, it means getting enough sleep! Sleep plays a huge factor in your body’s recovery from day to day, and that’s important when you’re trying to slim down any part of your body and keep stress in check.
Follow the steps here to check on your stress level from time to time and ensure it’s not derailing your fitness goals!
7. Keep a food journal.
If you’re struggling to nail the nutrition parts of this list to trim down that tummy, consider keeping a food journal. Record everything you eat right there in black and white, even the sneaky snacks and drinks.
Seeing it all listed out will help you visualize exactly what you’re putting into your body — and it’ll make it easier to cut out the crummy things while you work toward your fitness goals!
Do you have advice for women looking to lose weight around the middle? We’d love to hear it on our Facebook page or Instagram!