The most effective foods for losing weight (including belly fat) are healthy fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and certain whole grains. These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, satiety (feeling of fullness), fiber, and are low-calorie. You will want to avoid added sugars, processed foods, trans fats, and refined starches/carbohydrates. On top of diet, it is important to realize that the less stress you have, the more sleep you get (7-8 hours), the more you exercise, and the more hydrated you are… the better.
So I know ALL about the new and popular diet that many athlete’s are raving about currently…. Have you heard of it…the Paleo Diet?! Of course you have! Well, that makes for a way different post and as I do not disagree with MUCH of it, I have to say there are still options that I prefer in a diet that Paleo does not. Regardless this is what works for me and my clients, so hopefully you learn a thing or two as well. I bring it up because it is not the only way to get a spectauclar, flat, and super toned belly!
KEEP IN MIND Genetics dictates where your body burns fat. For example, you may desire to lose weight in your abdomen, but very often, the place you most want to lose it is the last place it burns. This is known as spot reducing and it doesn’t work. Cool right- NOT. You cannot burn fat in one particular area on your body. While it’s true that you can build muscle in different locations of your body such as your legs and glutes based on what strength-training exercises you do, there’s no way to “spot reduce” fat.
But by keeping a consistent healthy-diet and regular exercise plan eventually you will achieve a flat midsection. Keep you focus! Just save yourself the time (and pointless energy) of only sticking with crunches thinking you will grow a 6-pack over night. There are so many other movements to incorporate to build a stronger core, trust me. (I was thrilled to be featured in SHAPE Magazine for a circuit on CORE TRAINING as seen below. )
Also do not go over board with cutting too many calories out of your diet. When people go on a diet they end up starving their metabolism which, in turn, causes their body to hold on to every spare ounce of fat. (Especially you ladies- EAT FOOD NOW!) This is a hard-wired protective mechanism that kept us alive back when food was scarce. Now that food is widely available, this metabolic shift is nothing more than a hinderance that keeps you from seeing your abs. Simply substituting a white carb (bread, pasta, potato) with say a half cup of berries and veggies will help promote fat loss.
You have heard it before and hear it again…DRINK WATER. Many times you are eating when you are really just thirsty and/or are dehydrated. I have always believed to drink half your body weight in ounces. Or you can aim for eight 8 ounces of water a day which is also a great goal. Read “Are You Drinking Enough Water?” for even more tips.
High fiber foods are even better. Fiber really is nature’s fat burner since foods that have plenty of it satisfy your cravings and stabilize your blood sugar. In essence, you’ll eat less and feel satisfied for longer periods just by adding the following foods into your diet.
For example, have quinoa for breakfast instead of toast. Try my “Quinoa and Walnuts Breakfast” or my “Greek Yogurt Parfait with Brown Rice, Nuts, and Chia Seeds.” At lunch, try black beans or a lean protein instead of a white potato. For dinner, skip the pasta and eat lots of high-fibrous veggies and for dessert; try a cup of fresh berries (blueberries or raspberries.) These simple steps boost fiber, reduce total calories, and feed your metabolism the nutrients it needs to stay running strong. Does that make sense? You really need to understand these simple “tricks” to see a difference.
Another trick is to add spices to your food. This boosts the flavor of your meal and since spices are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet you’ll invariably boost your health along the way.
Breakfast is an especially important time to flood your body with nutrients so your metabolism will kick start after going for hours without food. Read my post on “You and Breakfast” to understand even more of how important Breakfast is to ALWAYS start your day with. If you do not eat breakfast, this is your WAKE-UP CALL and a big reason why you may NOT be getting results. You know I only tell it like it is.
ADDITIONAL FOODS TO HAVE IN YOUR DIET:
So hopefully you learned something to take with you on your journey to a trimmer, more toned, and healthy belly. So if you are all about Paleo-fine, or just wanting to make smaller, less drastic changes in your diet but still see results, even better. As long as you swipe out the foods that I mentioned, for some of the other choices I mentioned, you will for sure see a change.
See you on your next workout.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not a Registered Dietitian. While my advice relies on my own personal experience and research, what has been successful for myself and others may be not best for you. You should always consult your doctor when making changes to your diet. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.