My Advice to a Flat Stomach
It’s no secret... I lost a lot of weight (Click here to see my weight-loss journey). But what I’m most proud of is the 10 inch loss to my midsection! Yup, my waist used to be 36 inches! My waist was (without question) the area of my body I was most embarrassed of. Well now, not so much! My waist hovers around 25-28 inches and I’ve kept it that way for 10 years! This is not to brag but to simply show that I know a thing or two about keeping that tummy flat!
People say, “abs are made in the kitchen”, right? But what does that actually mean? Well, let me try to spell it out for you. Outside of a general healthy diet, there are some specific areas you should focus on.
Here’s what I think is most crucial in keeping your stomach flat:
Fibre - It’s gold! Easily - my biggest contributor to a flat tummy - Fibre! Yes, a carbohydrate aids in my flat tummy!! Not a day goes by where I don’t ensure I get heaps of fibre in. I’m talking 30+ grams. I have fibre rich foods embedded into my diet (i.e. cereals/breads/fruits, oats, legumes, brown rice, quinoa and green veggies.) I also sneak chia or flax seeds into smoothies where possible. The best way to get your digestive system moving is to ensure you intake a decent amount of fibre in the morning. Aesthetics aside, fibre also lowers your blood sugar and helps lower cholesterol.
Drink a lot of water... like a lot. Early on in my journey I replaced all beverages (except coffee… and obviously wine) with water. There are a gazillion benefits to drinking a lot of water, but for me, it’s helped tremendously with my waistline. It flushes toxins out of your body and keeps the bowels moving - which are both crucial for keeping your tummy flat. You can infuse it with fruits, herbs, or natural sweeteners... whatever you need to get it in. I aim to consume 3L a day. If you need help understanding how much water you need, try using a water intake calculator (you can google it).
Watch the Sodium Intake. Outside of the negative cardiovascular effects of sodium, it also makes you look (and feel) extremely bloated. Watch the sodium levels in your food - especially those we perceive as healthy (i.e. cottage cheese, soups, and deli meat). To help curb a high sodium diet, check labels and avoid adding salt at the dinner table.
Avoid: Sugar Alcohols. Mass marketing has done a great job at promoting low-calorie sweeteners as a weight-loss aid. While elements of it may be true, the body doesn’t fully digest sugar alcohols leaving us to feel bloated and often causes gastrointestinal distress. If this is a staple in your diet today, remove it, and you will definitely see the results in your waistline. Most nutrition labels these days spell out sugar alcohols (i.e. erythritol, glycerin/glycerine, or sorbitol to name a few) so be on the look out and see how you can avoid it.
Add Probiotics! Research reveals that an imbalance of bacteria in your gut can cause your digestive system to slow down and your belly to puff up. Probiotics (i.e. yogurts, kefir, and fermented vegetables) help to tackle this almost instantly. They are a staple in my diet and help my stomach remain flat.
Now… aside from the diet, to get the shape we want, we truly have to:
Strength Train!!!! What’s a flat tummy without abs? I rely heavily on strength training to shape my body. While spot reducing was proven to be a myth a long time ago, the core is made up of several muscles that can absolutely be shaped. You will not get abs if your diet is not in check. I repeat, you will not get abs if your diet is not in check. Like any other muscle group, once you tidy up your diet, the fat will disappear, and the muscles developed will pop. Assuming your diet is clean, and you follow the above, then strength training will definitely aid in your 4/6/8 pack. For the core, I personally don’t waste time on crunches, or sit ups. I focus heavily on weighted abdominal exercises to really sculpt - and I try focus on it weekly.
I hope this helps! I always aim to provide very practical solutions for you and these tips have truly helped me. As with anything… consistency is key. Try it out for at least 12 weeks and I guarantee you will see the difference!
Much Love xo