Thrive/Strive

The Simple Guide to a Flat Stomach

The guide to that washboard stomach you've always wanted

Everybody wants a flat stomach. I have never met anybody that wanted to have a little pouch sticking out in front of them.

The problem, though, is that most people think that if you do a million crunches, you’ll get the stomach you’ve always wanted. People will work their ass off in the gym but never really see the results they truly want. Yes, this does help a great deal, but the way to a healthy stomach is mostly through the kitchen.

Everything you put in your body has an effect on your stomach. Everything! There is no getting away from that. When food first settles in your body, it is in your stomach and then gets processed from there.

This will be a guide to help you try to achieve the stomach goals you’ve always wanted.

The Gym Helps

“See you walkin’ ’round like it’s a funeral”

Now just because the battle for a flat stomach is mostly won in the kitchen, doesn’t mean that you should be neglecting the gym. Going to the gym helps burn that excess fat your body doesn’t need.

When you start to do an ab exercise, a useful tip would be to do the exercises faster. It has been proven that working out at a faster rate will help burn more fat. You won’t gain nearly as much muscle mass, but you will still sustain the same amount of strength. Who wants to have those bulky turtle shell abs anyway? Having them would be nice, but I think just having a nice flat stomach is nice too. No need to go overboard with it.

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts are also a great way to burn a little more fat. With these types of workouts, you will be engaging more muscles and activating nearly all of the muscles in your core. When your muscles are doing work, your body has to find something for fuel, that’s when the fat comes into play.

Once your body starts to burn the fat, you will start to see a change in the size of your stomach.

This tip may not sound the like the most fun, but you can’t neglect the cardio aspect of things. It’s a necessary evil when it comes to the body you truly want to have. It makes reaching your goals that much easier.

Stress

“But you’re moving so carefully; let’s start living dangerously”

Stress is a huge contributor to fat. If I didn’t workout, I would definitely be considered overweight from the amount of things I stress over.

When we get stressed out, our body releases chemicals and one of these chemicals is cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone.” When cortisol gets released, it tells our body that we need to restore our food supply. This leads to our bodies needing more places to store fats and sugars.

Usually, when we’re stressed, we don’t do much to make our bodies burn energy. This is why you hear about a lot of people that are stress eaters. They tend to pig out when they are stressed. This article goes into greater detail about the connection between stress and fat.

You have two options when it comes to stress. You either try to stress less or become very active when you are stressed. When you stress less, you will not have as much extra fat build up, especially in your stomach. When you’re active while you’re stressing, you are burning the extra fat that is trying to store itself in your stomach so you end up being okay in the long run anyway.

Alcohol Holding Us Back

“I’m going blind from this sweet, sweet craving”

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of how things in the kitchen help with your stomach, I have to mention alcohol.

Alcohol can create such a fun time for you and your friends, but it can also prevent a lot of progress from being made when it comes to your body.

Beer is a big contributor to a lot of stomach fat. We’ve all heard of beer bellies. Well, that isn’t just some creative name that people came up with. Beer is a significant contributor to that pouch.

You should know where I’m going with this. If you want to cut down that belly, you have to cut down on the alcohol. Alcohol makes your body store more fat. When you have alcohol in your system, that takes over as the primary source of energy for your body. This means that you can’t burn any fat until you burn off all the alcohol in your body.

Beer usually has more calories than other alcoholic drinks so, of course, this is going to be the one that takes the most work to burn off. Don’t be fooled by the mixed drinks though. The amount of sugar that is usually in them definitely forces you to work harder as well. We will get more into sugar in a little bit.

Finally, To The Kitchen

“Ah ya ya ya ya I keep on hoping we’ll eat cake by the ocean”

Now we are finally going to start diving into what you should be eating and a few thing you may want to avoid when it comes to your diet.

Remember that what is put into your body is, in my opinion, more important than what you do at the gym. A healthy diet leads to better results from the gym, not the other way around.

Water

“Want another taste, I’m begging”

More water helps lead to more weight loss. Honestly, it’s that simple.

Don’t believe me? Here is an article to help back up my crazy claim.

Without sounding all scientific, water forces your body to burn fat and calories faster. Drinking about 17 ounces of water will up the amount of calories your body is burning for about an hour. So yes, you have to continue drinking water. You can’t just drink some and stop, thinking that it’ll do the trick.

Drinking more water will also help with your appetite. It won’t be nearly as strong. If you drink enough water, your body will feel somewhat full without actually being full. This will make it so you don’t eat as much food. Less calories, less fat, smaller belly.

It’s like a good snowball effect. Drink more water, eat less food, have less food for your body to turn into fat, and watch your stomach shrink in size.

Blueberries and Fiber

“I’m tired of all this candy on the dry land, dry land”

To get started on that flat belly, it is best to get started on a diet that is high in fiber. Start the day off with oatmeal that is high in fiber. Be careful with the flavored oatmeals since they can be packed with sugar.

If you want to add anything to your oatmeal, because let’s be honest, oatmeal can taste pretty bland, you should add blueberries. They can be fresh or frozen. The antioxidants that are contained in blueberries have a special effect on your body, especially your belly fat. They change the way your body stores glucose and because of this, they have a few other health benefits that I won’t go into. If you want to know about these other benefits, check this out.

Monosaturated Fats

“Don’t waste time with a masterpiece”

Without going into much detail, monosaturated fats help burn belly fat. These fats increase your body’s satiety. Simply put, they make you feel full for a longer time.

They also help to increase your body’s basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy your body uses while it is at rest).

Having these two factors increased only helps you in the long run of things. Your body will be burning more fat while at the same time not having to take in as many calories. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Now you may be wondering, what foods can I incorporate in my diet to get the most out of these monosaturated fats? Once simple food that is loaded with them and you can get your hands on quickly is almonds. Almonds are a great snack and because of the monosaturated fats in them, greatly increase your metabolism.

Avocados and olive oil are also high in monosaturated fats. Adding some of this to any meal will help with your metabolism and the fat burning process, not only in your stomach but all over your body.

Remember that it is important to keep things portioned well. The foods mentioned above can be high in calories so having too much can actually hurt the process of getting that flat stomach.

This article goes into a little more detail about how monosaturated fats can help you get rid of some of that belly fat.

What to Stay Away From?

“You’re a real life fantasy, you’re a real life fantasy”

Some of these may sound obvious, but I think it’s important to have a constant reminder of certain things.

Fast food. Yes, fast food tastes amazing and is convenient when you are in a hurry, but everyone knows how bad they could be for you. Yet, people don’t have a problem having them in their diet all the time.

If you have no clue about what items you could be eating that are absolutely horrible for you, here is a list of some of the most unhealthy fast food items you could order.

Don’t get me wrong, all of the items on that list are so good, but they should be treated like a delicacy. You shouldn’t be having it everyday or very often, but when you decide to splurge and have it, the moment needs to be cherished. If you are serious about trying to flatten that tummy, you need to stay away from these foods as much as possible.

Sugar is another item that you should try to stay away from. Not the sugars you are going to find in your fruits and veggies, but the ones that are in the candies and chocolates we all know and love.

For some, this could be a difficult task. Sugar is extremely addicting, not to mention how good it tastes when it goes into your mouth. You may think that you have to cut out sugar completely, but that isn’t the case. Here is an article that explains why you can keep sugar in your life and not have to get rid of it for good.

If you choose to cut it out completely, that is good for you. I would say about 99% of people couldn’t do something like that even if they wanted to. I also think that those people would never even consider dropping their favorite candies or treats for good.

It Can Be Done

“Let’s lose our minds and go crazy crazy”

The goal of a flat stomach won’t be easy no matter what your starting point is. Whether you are not even close to your goal or it’s just at the end of the tunnel, this road will not be easy.

It’s going to take a few lifestyle changes, nothing drastic, but some things will have to change.

You have to tell yourself that you are willing to do what it takes to get the body you desire. Once you have your mind set on this, you are going to feel that much better when you finally reach that goal.

Remember that the goal isn’t going to happen overnight, it is going to take some time. Just like everything else that is great in your life, it takes time. If you stay patient and persistent with what you are doing, the goal will come sooner than later.

Hard work and patience add up to make a very successful combination when it comes to the body that you are dying to have.

P.S. – The quotes in this article are from “Cake by the Ocean,” by DNCE

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