Bye-Bye, Belly Flab: 4 Tricks for a Trimmer Tummy

No one loves the feeling of bending over and spotting a few friendly tummy rolls peeking over your pants. Rest assured that you're definitely not alone. But remember to keep a realistic perspective — maybe you're a little bloated, or perhaps the position of your body makes your skin appear looser. In other words, don't let your mind run crazy.

With a healthy diet and exercise routine, you can shed belly fat in no time (Image: Getty/Hinterhaus Productions)

However, if you're looking to trim some belly fat for a healthier body, consider the following updates to your diet, exercise and sleep routines.

Upgrade Your Eating Regimen

The key to fat loss, especially the visceral fat around your belly, is a healthy diet, exercise and sleep regimen, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

  1. Cut out processed foods. A recent study found that these foods can add up to 500 calories to your daily diet.
  2. Nix high-calorie beverages (we're looking at you, soda!) and drink water instead.
  3. Make sure to get a healthy amount of lean protein with each meal, like chicken or fish, and fill your plate with fibrous vegetables, which will help you feel fuller longer.

Introduce More Exercise Into Your Weekly Routine

Include cardiovascular exercise in your weekly routine. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 60 to 90 minutes of cardio for weight loss. Perform any type of cardio for this timeframe that will get your heart rate elevated, such as indoor cycling, elliptical training, running, kickboxing, dance aerobics or swimming. Work out three days a week on nonconsecutive days.

Lift weights to pack on metabolically active muscle mass. Muscle burns a high amount of calories, even while you are sitting still, which leads to faster weight loss in your abdomen, according to the Mayo Clinic. Perform exercises like chest presses, shoulder presses, deadlifts, dips and squats. All of these exercises work your major muscles and force you to contract your abs. Aim for eight to 12 reps, do three to five sets and work out three days a week on non-cardio days.

Find other ways to incorporate more exercise into your day as well, such as tapping your feet, standing on one foot while talking on the phone and using the bathroom on the floor above you.

Target Your Abs

Perform dedicated ab exercises with added resistance, recommends the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For example, perform stability ball crunches while holding a weight plate straight above your chest. Follow this same pattern with leg raises, reverse decline crunches, Russian twists and bicycle crunches. Strap ankle weights to your lower legs to increase the resistance with the leg raising exercises. Aim for 12 to 15 reps, do three or four sets and work your abs three days a week after your cardio sessions.

Sit on a stability ball at work. Mix in ab exercises during the day like crunches, planks and seated circles.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Begin to practice better sleeping habits in order to promote fat loss. Failure to get a full night's sleep can induce stress, making it more difficult to lose weight, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Stress often leads to overeating and may prompt you to reach for unhealthy "comfort" foods. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep a night to help prevent this from happening.

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