In today’s generation when people have no time to breathe and they spend half or more of a day in front of computer screen, they hardly get time to exercise. Most working women generally don’t get time, homemakers, mothers, and nerdy teens have one recurring dream – getting the perfect curves at the right place and a flat belly. Exercising seems impossible, given their tight schedules, so it is easy to give up all hopes of living that dream. There is no doubt that a balanced diet and a good exercise routine will get you those envious flat abs, but don’t worry if exercising is not your thing.
Doctors shout themselves hoarse telling their patients to get rid of belly fat – and for good reason too. After all, when belly fat expands into the abdomen and rests among your organs, it means you’re heading for some serious trouble. Abdominal fat, also called visceral fat, releases the stress hormone cortisol and certain inflammatory substances known as cytokines that affect the body’s normal production of insulin. This results in not just obesity but it opens the floodgates to serious medical conditions like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Our belly or stomach has the most stubborn fat in it. So, losing fat from that part of the anatomy is difficult. You can now follow some easy steps to cope up with your hectic schedule.
1. Get your posture correct
A good posture is the first step to a flat belly. Often, slumping and slouching accentuate your stomach, and over time, as you sit with a slouch continually, you will notice a little paunch. Standing up straight will immediately reduce a few pounds, making those abs look flatter almost in an instant.
To stand straight, imagine a rope pulling your upper body towards the ceiling, and you will already feel your shoulders rise. To improve your posture while sitting, make sure your feet touch the floor at all times. You could also place a pillow at the small of your back to make sure you are pulled forward on your chair.
2. Eat Complex Carbohydrates Like Brown Rice
You needn’t exercise a world full of self-control while on any proven diet plan – just add some complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, bulgur wheat, couscous, dark bread, and cereal fiber to your diet. By adding whole grains to your daily diet, you automatically reduce your intake of other food types because whole grains are filled with fiber that give you a feeling of satiation and are more difficult to digest. This means you feel full for longer and eventually eat less.
3. Consider a body wrap
Body wraps are spa treatments that claim to detoxify and slim the midsection. With training, these can also be done at home. While the process can vary, most involve several steps and the application of several types of body products.
- The aesthetician will start by massaging and applying a body scrub to your midsection, which will then be rinsed in a shower. The body scrub will contain a variety of herbs and minerals thought to cleanse the skin of impurities and reduce the appearance of fat or cellulite.
- The body will then be rubbed with a lotion or oil containing other emollients and properties.
- Next, the midsection will be securely wrapped in linen, plastic, or thermal sheets, and then an electric heated blanket will be used to warm the body for about 30 minutes, which will cause sweating. This step in particular is thought to remove impurities and reduce the appearance of fat.
- After removing the blanket and wraps, the midsection will be massaged again to increase blood flow.
- While this process is not supported for weight loss, many clients feel that it reduces the appearance of stomach fat and cellulite, especially with repeated treatments. Due to the sweating process (and loss of water weight), it is not uncommon for clients to experience a loss of a couple of inches, although this will be temporary.
4. Cut out on salt consumption
Salt, in moderation, is a good thing—the mineral is necessary for a healthy heart and brain. But too much salt and you’ll retain water, bloating up like a water balloon. Cutting salt is one of the primary ways to drop extra water weight (one reason you may see a big weight loss when starting a new diet!). Move the salt shaker off your table so you’ll get out of the habit of routinely salting all your food. Then if you taste your food and still really want salt you can still stand up and get some.
5. Get enough sleep to lose weight
Health experts stress on 8 hours of quality sleep for a reason. Sleep deprivation may make you munch on more calories than you actually want to or should be having. According to a study led by researchers at King’s College London, sleep-deprived people consumed an average of 385 kilo calories per day extra, which is equivalent to the calories of about four and a half slices of bread. The co-author of the study Gerda Pot explained “partial sleep deprivation resulted in a large net increased energy intake of 385 kcal per day,” She added, “If long-term sleep deprivation continues to result in an increased calorie intake of this magnitude, it may contribute to weight gain.”
6. Hydrating yourself is important for weight loss
Drinking water, at least eight big glasses a day, not only hydrates you and removes those unwanted toxins, but also helps you shed some pounds, especially in the midsection of the body. Drinking a good quantity of fluids also helps to keep premenstrual bloating in check. Drink water before your meal. Don’t drink water right after lunch or dinner. Wait for 10-15 mins and then drink water. It is a good idea to avoid alcohol as well if you are aiming for a flat belly. Alcohol messes up your system and causes bloating. Also, drinking too much water can also cause bloating.
7. Feed yourself some diary products
You can get rid of that roll of belly fat by eating yogurt and cheese, and drinking milk. According to a study, if you eat 3 cups of yogurt a day for 12 weeks, you can lose more weight than one would on calcium pills and reduced calories. Fat cells manufacture their own cortisol which stimulates the development of more belly fat, but yogurt hinders this development. These dairy foods also contain linoleic acid which gets rid of belly fat.
8. Reduce your sodium intake for weight loss
Excess salt causes the body to retain water. Processed foods and restaurant foods are the major source of sodium for the average American. These foods account for about 75% of the sodium in the diet. You should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, which is a little over 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
9. Spit out chewing gum if you are having it for weight loss
Many people chew gum as a way to stifle cravings or prevent mindless eating but this tactic may have an unfortunate side effect: belly bloat. Everyone naturally swallows a small amount of air when they chew but it’s magnified for people who chew gum, which causes gas and bloating. In addition, some artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase your appetite for junk food, so gum could be increasing your waistline on two fronts.
10. Check out on your sugar intake
Excess consumption of sugar puts an extra load on your liver and it can lead fat storage, and the first target is your tummy. Shilpa Arora, Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner, warns, “Don’t consume simple sugars like refined flour, bread, white rice cakes and biscuits after 5 p.m.” Dr. Anju Sood, Bangalore-based nutritionist, explains the physiology behind cutting down on sugar for weight loss, “Your primary aim should be to prevent food from being converted into unnecessary fat that remains in the body. For this, you need to cut down on complex carbs and High Glycemic Index foods. High GI foods generate a high quantum of sugar, and the excess of it gets converted into fat.”
11. Cleansing your system is effective for weight loss
This might be downright embarrassing for most women, but it needs to be spoken about when we address bloating. Your body needs to follow a routine to use the bathroom every day. It is very easy to give in to a rush and avoid doing the big job. Over time, the brain will begin to ignore and avoid the body’s signals. With time, you will begin to feel constipated, and, therefore, bloat.
You could set a morning routine by drinking a big glass of warm water as soon as you wake up every morning. You will notice a build-up of pressure almost instantly.
12. Change your lifestyle for weight loss
Avoid swallowing air. This might seem like a strange suggestion, but swallowed air is one of the biggest causes of bloating, which contributes to a rounder midsection. Simply reducing the amount of air you swallow throughout the day can trim down your tummy measurements.
- Avoid carbonated beverages, even those with zero calories like carbonated water. Beverages with air in them fill your abdomen with air, which causes a bloated appearance.
- Avoid smoking. Smokers who inhale smoke also tend to swallow it, which bloats their stomachs.
- Avoid chewing gum and talking while eating. Both of these habits lead to swallowed air.
13. Find a fitness-positive support network.
Surrounding yourself with people who are committed to healthy living can help you live healthier. Hanging out with health-conscious people gives you more opportunities to participate in activities that lead to weight loss. Make an effort to spend time with people who enjoy hobbies that promote healthy living, like walking, sports, cycling, nutritious home cooking, and so on. Limit your time with people who have unhealthy hobbies like eating junk food, binge-drinking, and watching hour after hour of television.
If you don’t have anyone in your family or circle of friends who is interested in health-conscious activities, don’t be afraid to make new contacts. Join an intramural sports team or start participating in pickup games at your local park. Take a healthy cooking course or join a spin class at your local community center. There are many healthy ways to meet people — it’s up to you!
14. Eat smaller meals more frequently
Instead of three large meals a day, try eating several smaller meals of a few hundred calories. This can reset your hunger cues so that you will know when you are actually hungry versus eating out of habit.
- One convenient way to reduce your portion sizes is simply to use a smaller plate. Smaller plates can make the same amount of food appear larger due to something called the Delboeuf illusion. You’re essentially “tricking” your brain into being satisfied with less food.
- Don’t trust your eyes to tell you how much to eat — instead, use your brain. With recent trends in commercial cuisine tending towards large portions, many people now have a distorted idea of what a normal portion of food looks like. Use measuring cups and the information on the “Nutrition Facts” section of your food’s packaging to ensure you eat one serving at a time. You may even want to invest in a simple food scale.
- Many common foods have serving sizes that are easy to visually memorize. A few common examples are below (you can view more here):
- Vegetables and fruit: about the size of your fist
- Meat, fish, or poultry: about the size of your palm (minus the fingers)
- Cheese or fatty spreads: about the size of your thumb
- Carbohydrates (rice, pasta, etc.): about the size of a cupcake wrapper
15. Give up on alcohol consumption for weight loss
Boozy bubbles are a major cause of belly bloat, as anyone who’s ever looked in the mirror after a few too many drinks can attest. But it’s not just the carbonation that is the culprit. Alcohol can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your stomach, leading to gas, not to mention all the empty calories that are going straight to your waistline. Instead, skip the alcohol altogether or limit yourself to one serving per day.
16. Load up on the probiotics
Probiotics are amazing. They support your digestive system and make sure the food is broken down well, and the gastrointestinal problems are kept at bay.
The best way to include probiotics or the good bacteria in your diet is to consume yogurt and buttermilk. Of course, you could even take supplements. But it is always good to stay natural.
17. Go on walks
Here comes the best way to lose belly fat without exercise. A leisurely 30-minute walk is also a good idea to enhance your metabolism and burn those extra inches off your waistline. You could take a stroll down the road or take your dog for a walk in the park. A leisurely walk is definitely not counted as exercise. It is mood enhancing as well.
18. Have some healthy supplements to lose weight
B-complex and calcium are vital for your well-being. While most women are unaware of this fact, some do take these supplements. There is a rise in the estrogen levels after puberty. This helps in housing the good fat, or protective fat, in your hips and your tummy, while it prepares your body for pregnancy. When you reach menopause, the estrogen levels drop, and the protective fat settles down around your belly area. Therefore, B-complex vitamins and calcium are not only vital for your well-being, but they also help in regulating the levels of estrogen in your body. These supplements flush out the excess estrogen, making sure you have a slimmer middle.
19. De-stress your problems
Worried on how to reduce belly fat without exercise? Worry not! When you are worried and worked up, your body produces stress hormones and steroids. These directly affect your digestive system and, in turn, lead to bloating and constipation. That is not all. A stressed body and mind also induce the production of cortisol that adds a fatty layer only at the waistline as it attempts to protect the vital organs. Give yourself time. Make sure you unwind every day. Sleep at least for seven hours every day. Listen to music and do things that will relax you. And no, do not indulge in smoking. It might relax you, but it has its ways of adding pounds to your middle. Make sure not to oversleep as oversleeping or no activity for long hours can also lead to your tummy bulging.
20. Increase consumption of Vitamin C and healthy carbohydrates for weight loss
Vitamin C helps to keep stress and many health problems at bay. Fruits like orange, lemon, lime, bell pepper, broccoli, kale, grapefruit, and kiwi are good sources of vitamin C and minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Vitamin C helps in digestion and maintains blood pressure. It would be a good idea to eat at least one fruit that has a lot of Vitamin C every day.
You do not have to completely avoid eating carbohydrates. Carbohydrates also have loads of vitamins and minerals that are good for our body. That said, choose the source of carbohydrate intelligently. Brown rice, couscous, cereal fiber, bulgur wheat, and dark bread can help in losing belly fat. These whole grains are filled with fiber that makes you healthy.
These are the ways in which you can strive for a perfect shape without even working out.