Exercise, diet and lifestyle factors impact the appearance of your belly.
Achieving and maintaining a flat belly requires hard work and consistent effort. You need regular cardio exercise to lose fat all over, including in your belly, and stomach-toning exercises to get great abs. In addition, there are other tips and tricks that can aid in your effort to keep your midsection slim and trim.
Exercise for a Flat Belly
Aim for one hour of moderate to vigorous cardio exercise on most days, recommends the American Council on Exercise. This can include brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming or any other aerobic activity that you enjoy enough to continue doing. Blast fat and increase your calorie burn by adding intervals of faster-paced activity. For example, after walking at your normal pace for two to four minutes, you can jog for one to two minutes. While you can't target weight loss on your belly, you can target the muscles with strength training exercises. Tone your abs for a flat belly by doing stability ball knee tucks, front planks and bird-dogs. Work your obliques -- the sides of your midsection -- with seated medicine ball trunk rotations and hay bailers.
Limit Sugary and Alcoholic Beverages
Beverages containing alcohol or sugar, such as soda and fruit juice, adds unnecessary calories to your diet and causes belly bloat. It's impossible to have a flat belly when it's bloated due to water retention from alcohol consumption. Limit your alcohol consumption and steer clear of mixed or blended drinks that have a high sugar content. Swap water for fruit juice or soda to keep hydrated and cut calories.
Begin Each Meal with Vegetables
A large serving of steamed seasoned vegetables at the beginning of each meal will fill you up with healthy fiber and nutrients. When you're full of veggies, which are often water-based and generally low in calories, you're less likely to overeat other foods. Dr. Oz recommends flat belly foods such as peanut butter and guacamole -- both of which contain healthy fats. He also suggests avoiding fat belly foods such as margarine, cheese and red wine.
Get Adequate Sleep
A lack of sleep triggers all kinds of reactions in your body that lead to the accumulation of belly fat. Your hormone production is affected, causing a domino effect that increases cortisol -- the stress hormone -- and insulin sensitivity. These issues, which are some of the prime factors contributing toward belly fat, can be remedied by getting at least seven hours of sleep each night.