Sucking your stomach in all day can be exhausting. If it’s a flat tummy that you’re after, there are easier – and likely less uncomfortable – ways to go about it. Making small changes to your eating and exercise habits can help you reduce body fat, improve your digestion and banish the bloat so you can feel sexy in your skinny jeans, bikini or crop top without having to hold your breath.
Consume five or six mini meals throughout the day rather than three larger meals. Overeating at any meal can sabotage your flat tummy; however, eating small portions of approximately 200 to 400 calories at a time, can help you to stay satiated and avoid a bloated stomach. Choose fresh ingredients, such as, lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.
Wake up with a flat belly in the morning by eliminating starchy carbs from your diet before bedtime. Eating foods like bread, pasta or cereal late at night can make your stomach to swell and cause you to wake up puffy. Instead, snack on fresh fruit, nuts or yogurt.
Eat foods that contain no or very little salt and sugar, which are two substances that can cause water retention and bloating.
Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. Food that is chewed to a thin consistency will be easier to digest and cause less gas and bloating. Take your time when you eat; avoid rushing through meals or eating on the go whenever possible.
Drink water rather than carbonated beverages like soda. The carbonation can make your stomach bloated and stick out. Water can also aid digestion and help eliminate bloating. Aim for at least 64 ounces of water per day.
Perform exercises that strengthen your abdominal muscles three times per week. The key to keeping your abs contracted and your core engaged throughout the day is strength; weak abs can cause your stomach to pooch out. Incorporate ab toning and strengthening moves in your workouts, such as the basic crunch on a stability ball, plank, reverse crunch and lying leg lifts.
Engage in cardiovascular exercise for at least 30 minutes, three to five times per week. Choose high-intensity activities, such as running, spinning, boxing or a dynamic cardio dance class to burn calories and keep your stomach trim and toned. For example, running three 10-minute miles can burn approximately 400 calories, according to Fitness Magazine. After a five- to 10-minute warmup, work out at an exertion rate of seven to nine, on a scale of one to 10. Include at least a five-minute cool down at the end of your session.
- Consult with a physician if you regularly experience digestion and bloating troubles; chronic digestion problems can be a sign of a medical condition.
Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.