Four Ways to a Flatter Stomach
Buddha belly. Muffin top. Pooch. There are many names for what most consider to be an unsightly problem in their physique: a bulging tummy. Whether due to excess weight, past pregnancy or simply the aging process, you may have this problem with your mid-section. Dr. Johns has some tips on how to tame your tummy if it refuses to lay flat.
#1. Eat This, Avoid That
While it’s true that in order to lose belly fat you must reduce your overall weight, there are some foods to eat, and some to avoid, to relieve a bloated, bulbous middle. Avoid processed foods, or foods that have been pre-packaged, as they contain large amounts of sodium, sugar and preservatives, which causes bloat in the short-term and weight gain in the long-term. These foods include breakfast cereals, potato chips, fast food and frozen dinners.
Replace processed foods with healthy nutrients that help make you feel full longer, such as beans and legumes and lean meats. Berries can also help with belly fat since they encourage fat cells to release the hormone adiponectin, which helps reduce inflammation. And a recent study by Tufts University has shown that people who eat whole grains had 10 percent less visceral fat (or intra-abdominal fat) than those who ate refined grains. Don’t forget to also keep your body properly hydrated by drinking water, which will help with water retention, a major cause of bloating.
#2. Work Out Strategically
A Duke University study has found that aerobic exercise is the most effective way to burn deep, visceral belly fat, as it burns a whopping 67 percent more calories than resistance training. Thirty minutes of cardio exercise five to six times a week is a good goal. But before you decide that resistance and strength training aren’t beneficial, think again. Their sculpting and toning results work in tandem with the overall weight reduction benefits of cardio to create a leaner, tauter-looking stomach. Plank exercises, where you position your body in a push-up position on the floor with your hands directly under your shoulders, are a great way to strengthen the core. Hold the plank position for as long as you can, repeating this exercise every day. Add side planks, where you position yourself on the floor laying on your side with your knees straight and your weight distributed between forearm and feet, lifting and lowering your body or just remaining stationary for as long as you can. The side plank targets different core muscles than the regular plank, so you can use them in combination for a complete core workout.
#3. Get Stress Under Control
Incorporating stress-relieving practices such as exercising in nature or meditating can greatly benefit your overall health while also preventing belly fat. When you are stressed, the body produces extra cortisol, a hormone that encourages the body to store fat, in the abdominal region in particular. Exercises like yoga and deep breathing will activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which will help you to relax. Getting adequate sleep, usually between seven and eight hours a night, will also inhibit this stress hormone from overproducing and expanding your mid-section as a result.
#4. Consider a More Permanent Solution
If you’re considering a more permanent solution to your belly problems, you may want to learn more about abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Francis Johns can help you to achieve a slimmer, more toned tummy that you might be having trouble achieving solely through diet and exercise. To learn more about abdominoplasty, schedule a consultation with Dr. Johns when you call Artisan Plastic Surgery at 877-245-6467.