Are you tired of your belly changing the shape of your dress? Are you tired of those extra inches on your stomach that make your body look unflattering? There’s a common misconception that reducing belly fat is only for overweight or obese women; this is not true.
You can have a perfectly healthy weight, and your waistline may still have those extra inches you should shed. In fact, a senior study author Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez has said that having a normal BMI and abnormal waist size is riskier than having a high BMI.
Why, you ask? The answer is simple: having a larger abdominal area is linked to heart diseases as well as type 2 diabetes. So it becomes necessary for you to lose shed that waistline for a healthier body.
Reducing belly fat is a combination of having a good diet plan and exercising. One does not go without another and if you want to reduce weight effectively follow this post for what to eat and what to not eat when you are on a diet. You can also include simple exercises into your daily life to not only help you reduce belly fat but also increase your stamina and the quality of your life.
When it comes to healthy eating, the first thing that needs to be excluded from your diet is sweet food and sugary, bubbly drinks. They have the maximum calorie count and while your brain may have euphoria after eating them, in the long term your body doesn’t appreciate it much. While dieting- veggies, fruits, whole grains, and nuts are the way to go! Here’s a list of 10 must-have foods in your diet plan this week!
Berries contain a high amount of fiber (of approximately 9 grams per cup!) and antioxidants, but as they have lesser sugar than most fruits. Thus, berries the best package of taste and health that you should fill in your meal plan.
Peas are the most common vegetable that we put in our food almost every day. But remove all the oil and unhealthy constituents we combine with this vegetable, peas contain nutrients that reduce bloating. It’s a nutrient-packed food containing around 8 grams of protein, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, and potassium- phew! Talk about a superfood! These constituents not only help counter-balance sodium but also bring oxygen to the blood cells.
Peanut butter provides you with 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving, making it a good candidate for your diet plan as it goes a long way to keep you satisfied and full. It constitutes L-arginine which is an amino acid used to improve blood flow through your entire system by allowing your blood vessels to “relax.” The advantage of this is that it helps diminish fluid retention.
If you’re tired of not having any fun in your diet, chickpeas have come to your rescue! They come packed with fiber and plant-based protein along with antioxidants and minerals that alleviate bloating. Chickpeas go with a variety of soups and salads, even stews and taste marvelous with tomato, coriander, and onion with a little lime juice and pepper sprayed on it!
Chickpea flour is also considered as a good substitute for regular flour used in baking to produce a more nourished result.
We’ve all heard, “Sunday ho ya Monday roz khao ande.” And seriously, why not? They provide your breakfast meals with the high-protein you require and are associated with reducing weight and belly fat in the process. Adding eggs to salads and stir fry makes it a fun combination or you can just eat it with whole grain toast and veggies.
Eggs are not only good for weight loss but contain nutrients like betaine and choline which are good for your heart health. They also contain Vitamin D which protect your bones. This makes eggs another superfood to include in your diet.
Beans and Lentils
Growing up in an Indian household, beans, and lentils was always a part of every meal I’ve eaten. All for good reasons, though, as they are filled with fibers and plant-based proteins which help keep you satisfied. They also reduce bloating by helping your nervous and muscular systems, giving you that lean body mass. Turns out, our elders do tell us to eat (or do) certain things for a reason.
Slice these into your morning cereal or snack on one of these to instantly get potassium, magnesium and plant-based prebiotics into your system. The magnesium and potassium counterbalance the bloat caused by salty processed food making this a perfect candidate for your diet food plan.
Tomatoes have a high content of water which helps offset the fluid retention caused by excess amounts of salt in the system. They’re juicy, they’re fresh and add color to your otherwise boring salad. You can use mushrooms, cucumbers or any other salad staple as they are all rich in water content and help keep you hydrated.
Tea and Coffee
Caffeinated drinks help keep a fluid movement of food through your digestive tract. This means that your favorite way to start your morning, be it coffee or tea (we’re not biased!) helps in digestive metabolism. Stay regular and drink about 200-300 grams of your favorite drink for a tighter, fitter tummy.
Remember, sugary drinks are an easy way to gain weight, so avoid the fancy flavors and leave that sugar spoon alone! Enjoy the taste of your coffee or tea without these added evils of weight gain.
A healthy substitute for your cereal, oats contain prebiotics which feeds the ‘good’ bacteria present in your system. They’re a gluten-free, whole grain and are a source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which help reduce blood pressure. It also contains beta-glucan which helps to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Oatmeal helps you reduce weight as it keeps your stomach full longer. It delays down the emptying of your stomach and producing a satiety hormone, PYY which is known to reduce calorie intake and decreases the risk of obesity. The advantages that oats provide make it the healthiest grain and a top superfood to include in your diet.
Moving on to the exercise part of it, while walking regularly for an hour or running for about half an hour may be sufficient, here is a list of simple exercises that you may want to through in the mix to help reduce belly fat faster.
When it comes to exercises to reduce belly fat, crunches take the Iron Throne. It strengthens your core. They target the rectus abdominis muscle which is essentially your six-pack muscle and is an efficient way to increase stability and performance at your core.
Moving on from the what to the how here are the steps to perform the exercises mentioned above.
- Lie down with your back touching the floor and bend your knees. Place your hands either across your chest or behind your neck.
- Before the actual movement, pull your belly button towards your spine in preparation.
- Bring your shoulder blades around 1 or 2 inches off the floor all the while contracting your abdominal region.
- Exhale as you come up and try your best to keep your chin up and neck straight. But don’t stretch too much. Imagine holding something between your chin that is the correct angle.
- Hold your position for a few seconds (or count till 5)
- Slowly lower your back to the initial position but don’t relax all the way down.
- Repeat movement 15 to 20 times.
Once you are used to regular crunches, add variations to get a more effective abdominal exercise. Twist crunch is one such version; instead of coming straight up, you move your shoulders to one side. That is your right shoulder to the left side keeping your torso on the other side touching the ground and vice versa.
Another effective version of your regular crunches, the bicycle crunches give your torso that extra push!
- Lie flat on the ground as you would in a regular crunch and pull your navel in to target your deep abs too.
- Putting your hands behind your head, slowly bring your knees up to your chest while pulling your shoulder blades off the ground.
- Straighten your right leg at about a 45-degree angle while turning your upper body to the left, and guide your right elbow towards your left knee. Make sure you feel this movement in your core and not just your elbows.
- Switch sides and repeat the same thing to complete on repetition.
Repeat the movement 15 to 20 times. Remember that speed is not the focus here, so complete the movement slowly, just make sure you feel it working your torso and abdominal region.
Have you ever sat down to tie your shoelaces? Good, then you are well aware of what a lunge is. They help develop lower body strength and endurance and even work the hard-to-reach muscles of your inner thigh. They work your entire lower body including your hips, glutes, hamstrings, and core. They’re simple to follow and very useful. Here’s how you can do it:
- Stand up straight with your feet apart. Make sure you don’t keep your feet too far apart. Align them with your shoulder. Keep your hands on your waist and engage your core.
- Then, take a big step forward with your right leg in such a way that you are shifting your body weight to your heels.
- Lower your body till your right shin is vertical to the floor, and your thigh is almost parallel to it. It is okay if the knee moves a little forward but make sure it does not get past the right toe. Try lightly tapping the left knee to the floor while keeping the weight in your right heel. Make sure you are not putting your weight on your toes.
- Keeping the weight in your right heel, push right back up to your starting position.
- Repeat on the other side to complete repetition. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
A plank is when you hold the body in a stiff position. This strengthens the muscles joining your upper and lower body. The body stays in the same position for the entirety of the movement. It is a simple but effective bodyweight exercise.
- Plant your hands on the ground completely aligned with your shoulder. Then move your hands just an inch on either side. The distance between a little more than your shoulder width.
- Keep your toes firmly into the ground and squeeze your glute muscles to provide equilibrium to your body
- Look at a spot on the floor a foot beyond your hands to reduce the strain on your neck and spine.
Hold the position for 20 seconds in the beginning. As you get more comfortable, increase the time you hold the plank for without compromising your position.
Cardio has been an effective way to burn and reduce belly fat for a very long time. And for a good reason too. It also gives you the added benefits of reducing stress, increases your lung capacity and also leads you to have a better sleep. Walking is a highly efficient fat burner and walking for around 45 minutes to an hour every day will not only decrease your weight but increase your body stamina too.
Jogging for 30 minutes or running for 20 minutes is the equivalent of your 45-minute walk, but make sure that if you are just starting, the focus is not how fast you do it, but how long you can do it for. When you keep your heart rate up for an extended period, it will help you burn more calories. These exercises if made a part of your everyday routine can lead to a better quality of life with enhanced health effects. In case you do not get time to hit the gym, you can buy a treadmill for home, it is worth the investment to reach your long term health goals.
For reducing belly fat effectively, try including 30 minutes of cardio along with bodyweight exercises like lunges and plank to tone your entire body. Body exercises also help you burn more fat even after you have finished exercising, throughout the day. Couple this with a healthy diet, and say no to that belly fat!