If you've got your eye on magazines, sitcoms, movies and pop music, then crop tops, bikinis and slim tummies rule your world. A teen girl often wants to look like models and pop stars, and she'll do just about anything to achieve flat abs. Unfortunately, a teen — just like anyone — can't hand-pick from where on her body she'll lose weight.
Flat abs are a result of the perfect mix of good genes, a healthy diet and quality exercise. If your doctor assures you are of a healthy weight, adopt the following healthy lifestyle to get the flattest tummy you can. A girl who needs to lose a few pounds will also see results with these strategies.
Watch What You Eat
Your parents are right — you are what you eat. A diet that includes lots of lean proteins, such as chicken breast and lean steak, fresh vegetables and fruits along with moderate amounts of whole grains promotes a flat belly. Too many refined grains, such as white bread and snack crackers, lead to weight gain and a poochy tummy.
Swap the white bagel at breakfast for a bowl of oatmeal with berries, have a burrito bowl for lunch instead of the tortilla and choose brown rice with dinner instead of white bread. Skip processed foods such as pretzels, cookies, chips and cheese crackers and go for fresh fruit, plain nuts or low-fat yogurt at snack time. These whole grains, along with plenty of fibrous vegetables — including lettuce, broccoli and celery — offer fiber, which can help deter belly fat gain in teens showed a 2012 study.
Choose water instead of soda and fancy coffee drinks. These add calories that can cause your belly to grow and don't help you feel full.
Get Out and Be Active
Aim for one hour, at minimum, of physical activity daily. If you play a team sport, such as volleyball or soccer, this counts on the days you have practice. Dance class, martial arts or a walk with your family or your dog also count. Getting out and moving helps you burn calories to resist weight gain as well as builds healthy bones, joints and muscles for your whole life.
At least three of those days of exercise should include muscle-strengthening work. You don't have to hoist iron like bodybuilders, but crank out a set of push-ups or join a tumbling class. Head to your local trampoline gym or elementary school playground with friends to channel your inner child and do pull-ups, climb and flip for fun. All the while, you're doing activity that supports a healthy body and flatter stomach. Crunches and planks help tone your abdominal muscles, but won't trim any extra fat covering them.
Even when you're not formally exercising, choose activity over sedentary pastimes such as watching television or playing on the computer. Call your friends and go for a walk or invite your siblings on a bike ride rather than bonding in front of social media.
Sleep and Stress Less
Class deadlines, family obligations and peer pressure can lead to late nights. When you've got morning obligations, you have fewer hours to sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends you get eight to 10 hours every night. This improves your mood, concentration, energy and weight. A 2010 study published in the journal Sleep showed that getting too little sleep contributes to gains in belly fat in people younger than 40.
Life can keep you from getting the sleep you need. Not only do you have homework due and practices that run late, but fear that you're not getting the grades you should or your social scene is melting down can make you toss and turn. Make a list of people you feel comfortable confiding in and turning to for help — a school counselor, trusted teacher, parent or dear friend can offer support.
Even the desire to get a flat stomach can become an obsession. Try to keep your expectations realistic when it comes to weight loss. It takes time, as you can safely drop only about 1 pound per week at most.