Previously published on SelfGrowth.com under Candace Rhodes.
Are you struggling with stubborn belly fat that’s impacting your self-esteem and confidence in a negative way? You’re not alone.
Hands down the body part that most women want to change is their stomach. It’s their source of insecurity, unhappiness, and even makes them angry every time they look in the mirror.
Luckily with a little bit of knowledge and discipline you can flatten out that area. It’s a simple process that doesn’t require a specific diet, a juicer, or cutting out your favorite foods. But I’m warning you that the process is not easy.
When you follow these steps consistently you can be sure a flatter stomach is right around the corner.
QUICK FIX #1 – Addressing Your Bloat
Sometimes a flatter stomach can be yours tomorrow if what you have is just bloat. You know it’s just bloat when you find that your stomach expands throughout the day even if you didn’t eat that much food to justify its growth.
Bloat is basically caused by the lack of digestive enzymes in your digestive tract. When you have large pieces of food that are undigested by your stomach it makes its way into the small intestine where bacteria will get ahold of it and break it down.
The byproduct you get from using bacteria to break down your food as opposed to enzymes is the production of gas.
As you continue to eat your meals throughout the day the volume of undigested food grows and so does the accumulation of gas. This is why your stomach size gets larger at the end of the day compared to the beginning.
Bloat is not something that gets solved by probiotics because the issue isn’t lack of bacteria or absorption of nutrients but the lack of digestive enzymes.
If you have tried eliminating certain foods in your diet that you think causes you to bloat but have not seen any results then let’s take another route using a supplement.
There are lots of different digestive enzyme supplements that you can purchase on the market to help you eliminate bloat. In the ingredient list look for enzyme supplements that contain at least these three enzymes: pepsin, protease, and amylase. They will be able to easily digest the spectrum of different foods you’re eating.
Also, make sure to purchase a product that has been labeled GMP certified.
This label means that the facilities in which the digestive enzyme supplement has been manufactured in has been inspected and follow FDA guidelines and regulations. The label also ensures that the final product is free of contaminants.
The Flat Belly Eating Plan
My clients have lost inches and pounds no matter what type of diet they’re on. The important key is the sustainability of the diet.
If you don’t see yourself doing low carb one year from now then that’s not the diet for you.
If you cannot be a vegetarian next year then let’s work out another plan.
If you love bread and being gluten free just doesn’t sound right to you then let’s find another way to eat.
You don’t have to be on a specific diet in order to get a flatter belly.
No matter what your eating preference is your daily choices must follow the most important fat loss principle: you must be eating in a caloric deficit.
What does that mean?
To maintain your weight your body needs you to consume a certain amount of calories every day. It doesn’t matter where those calories come from but you need to eat a certain amount of food to keep you at your weight.
These calories are called maintenance calories.
To lose weight and to flatten your stomach you must be burning more or eating less calories than your maintenance calories.
It’s much more impactful to eat fewer calories than it is to exercise more because you eat 3-4 times a day, 7 days a week but you probably exercise at most 3 times a week.
A change in your diet will get you a flatter stomach much faster than spending hours at a time at the gym.
How do you find out your maintenance calories? You can Google ‘calorie calculators’ to help figure it out.
Sometimes a calculator will take into account exercise.
If you’re including the calculation of exercise in your maintenance calories then the number is called TDEE, Total Daily Energy Expenditure. It covers how many calories you need to eat to maintain your weight even while exercising. If you’re exercising use the TDEE calorie estimate.
If you’re not exercising and the calculator isn’t taking into account ‘activity’ then the number is called Basal Metabolic Rate, BMR. Use this number if you are sedentary.
Once you know your BMR or TDEE subtract 10 to 15% to give you your caloric deficit. This final number tells you how much to eat per day in order to flatten your stomach and lose weight.
Depending on which calculator you’re using you will get different numbers and it doesn’t matter because they are all estimates. Pick one number to start with and accurately track your calories. If after 2 weeks you don’t notice a change then reduce your calorie intake.
The Flat Belly Exercise Plan
If you’re not addressing your eating first then all the exercise in the world will not give you faster results. Exercise doesn’t burn as many calories as you think but it’s important to include in your plan because it makes you more sensitive to satiety signals.
Google will bring up endless pages of workout plans specifically targeting a flatter belly.
For those who have a life outside of the gym you want to be efficient with your time and with your workouts in the gym.
Your best bet is to train an hour each time at least 3X a week on a full body strength training plan. You want to use a full body training plan because you want to hit your major muscles often. They are going to burn the most calories and give you the most improvement in your body shape.
The major muscles you want to train are your legs, your back, and your chest. You will also be working the smaller muscles such as your arms and shoulders during these workouts too so don’t worry about including those.
If you have extra time you can also train abs but it’s not absolutely necessary.
With each muscle group you want to do a compound exercise that works multiple major muscle groups at a time to maximize calorie burn. A great source to find full body strength training plans is at BodyBuilding.com and GirlsGoneStrong.
Find a workout routine that is suited to your skill level and that you can maintain consistently each week.
Is That It?
Now you have the keys to a flatter belly. Underlying successful diets and weight loss plans are the last two principles in this article, eating in a caloric deficit and being on a strength training plan.