Hoping to crunch your way to a leaner belly? Sorry, but it’s going to take a while. Exercise can only do so much in sculpting a lean, flat tummy. Whether your goal is a solid six-pack or just-you know, wear a bikini with confidence - nutrition reigns supreme in reducing fat and keeping it off.
Remember that any nutritional strategy needs to be realistic and maintainable in the long run, otherwise your belly fat will return after beach season. Luckily, the fat reduction doesn’t need to be an arduous procedure - keep these simple tips in mind to get beach-ready, crunches optional.
1) COUNT YOUR CALORIES
Regardless of how healthy your overall diet or the amount of time you put in at the gym, eating too many Calories will ultimately cause you to gain weight, or prevent you from losing weight. The average, active adult needs 12 Calories per 1 lb of goal weight to maintain a healthy weight, and 10 Calories per 1 lb of goal weight to lose. Counting your calories can be a rude awakening for some people, so use it as a base to get you started!
2) SAY SO LONG TO ALCOHOL, JUICES, AND OTHER CALORIC BEVERAGES
Consider water your new best friend. Water, unsweetened iced tea, and unsweetened coffee with small amounts of half and half are fine: juices, alcohol, smoothies, soda, sports drinks, and other Calorie-containing beverages? Gone. Beverages containing Calories typically contain added sugar or else are concentrated sources of carbohydrates that are broken down into sugar instantly upon digestion, creating an inhospitable environment for weight management.
Whenever you consume a high-carb drink, those carbohydrates are broken into sugar units, which enter the bloodstream, prompting your pancreas to secrete the hormone insulin. Insulin is then tasked with carrying that sugar out of the bloodstream and into cells for energy or fat for storage.
By reducing your consumption of high-carb beverages, you’re also reducing the likelihood that carbohydrates will be stored as fat. Save your carbs for more important things, like food you can actually chew, and base that intake around your workouts for faster results.
3) PICK PROTEIN
In general, favoring protein over carbohydrates is best for weight management. Protein doesn’t just keep you fuller longer - it also requires no insulin to break down, preventing excess fat storage that comes with high-carb meals and snacks.
Make sure that each meal and snack focuses on healthy, lean proteins or Omega-3 rich seafood, and save your carbs for healthy options, including vegetables, fruit, and high-fiber grains, all of which produce more favorable fat storage outcomes than refined carbs (white rice, regular pasta, chips, crackers, candy, etc).