FOR most women, a flat stomach is one of the most coveted body features. But sadly, women who have excess body weight tend to carry the extra pounds in their midsections. And while burning belly fat can be tougher than other areas, according to personal trainer and fitness coach Gisel Harrow, this is achievable with consistency and the right lifestyle changes.
“They say that abs are made in the kitchen. This is the number one thing you'll hear when seeking a flat stomach. However, it's a little more than that — and by that I mean a change in your overall health and wellness plan,” Harrow advised.
Below she shares some recommendations on how to go about getting your flat abs.
Cut back on calories
This means you'll eat fewer calories, so aim for about 500 to 1000 daily. This will help you to lose weight.
“Be careful not to go below this daily recommendation, though, because eating too few calories may slow your metabolic rate, even in the long-term. Therefore it is important not to restrict calories too much or for too long,” Harrow advised.
Be very specific about what you eat
When choosing how you will divide your calories, make sure to choose healthy options that will provide your body with essential nutrients and help with promoting a thinner waistline.
“When planning your meals you want to incorporate whole foods — they will keep you filled for longer and they are low in calories. Increase your protein intake to help build lean muscle, increase your fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed and sugary foods because these tend to be high in calories,” Harrow said.
Walk for 30 to 45 minutes at least three times per week. Walking helps to you lose weight while stretching your bones and toning your muscles.
For better results when exercising, bump up your exercise game a notch by adding weights/resistance to your exercise activities. This helps you to build muscle, which helps in burning more calories. Resistance exercises should be done at least two to three times per week.
Sleep is underrated and this is sad because it is a very important part of the recovery process and it helps with weight loss. Take care to get the recommended six to eight hours you need so that your body functions in all capacities.
“Not getting the required amounts of sleep can slow down your metabolic system and so your body will take much longer to burn stored fat,” Harrow explained.
A sleep-deprived brain will elevate your cortisol levels, Harrow said. She underscored that cortisol, which is a stress hormone, can signal your body to hang on to fat because it will need to conserve energy to push through the day.
Do your best to stay away from stress and stressful events. Not only does it trigger the stress hormone cortisol, which often results in weight gain, it can cause many other complications in the body. Keep your mind healthy and free of stress, try to meditate for at least 10 minutes per day, practise mindfulness and breathing exercises, and manage your day-to-day activities with ease and care for optimal health and well-being, Harrow advised.