The belly is one of the most difficult areas to slim down, especially for women. While unfortunately we can't pick and choose which body parts we would like to lose fat from, there are a few things that you can do to help lose overall body fat. In order to lose a pound, you need to reduce your calories by 500 a day, but that doesn't mean you have to severely cut back your food intake. Weight loss comes through a combination of a healthy diet as well as proper exercise.
Clean Up Your Diet
Fill your diet with whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and plenty of fruits and vegetables to help whittle down your waist. Fruits and vegetables are filled with fiber and nutrients which tend to fill your tummy up without filling you out. These foods are a good choice when you are trying to lose some extra weight. Stay away from processed and packaged foods that provide no nutrients and instead choose fresh options.
Learn to Love Cardio
If you are looking to lose those extra pounds, then hit the pavement for a run. Cardiovascular exercise such as running, biking, swimming and even dancing not only helps to strengthen your heart, but it also torches calories. Activities like running and biking also activate your muscles, helping to strengthen and tone them.
Up Your Water Intake
Water is one of the most important elements of a proper diet. When your body is short on water, it can't function properly and it suffers from slowed metabolism and reduced ability to burn calories. Staying hydrated also helps to ward off cravings and keep you satisfied in between meals. The recommended amount of water per day is eight glasses or 64 ounces, but depending on your activity level as well as the weather, you could need more.
Relax, ladies -- unless you follow a strict diet and workout regimen, lifting weights three times a week won't make you look like The Hulk. Strength training will, however, increase your muscle mass, which in turn speeds up your metabolism and burns more calories. Strength training also shapes your muscles, giving you a more appealing appearance overall. Cardiovascular exercise burns off more calories than strength training does during the workout, but strength training changes your body in ways that cardio exercise can't. Combining the two is the best way to decrease overall body fat and earn the flat stomach you're looking for.
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.