How to Get a Flat Tummy Without Surgery

Woman helping man doing sit-ups on grass, city in background
Exercise and diet can flatten your belly. (Image: John Howard/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Unless plastic surgery is an option, spot reducing your tummy isn't possible and losing belly fat certainly won't happen overnight. Reducing fat from anywhere in your body requires a full-body weight-loss approach -- you can't choose what part of your body sheds the weight. Only when your total body fat is reduced will that excess fat around your middle disappear.

Count Those Calories

Sneaky man eating an apple
To achieve weight loss at this rate, you must reach a daily deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

A flat tummy looks good and reduces your risk of obesity-related health conditions, including high cholesterol, hypertension, certain cancers and heart disease. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggests losing weight safely at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds a week, advising that gradual weight loss is easier to maintain long-term compared to quick weight loss. To achieve weight loss at this rate, you must reach a daily deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories. You can do this by burning calories through exercise and by eating fewer calories.

Stop Focusing on Abdominal Exercises

A man doing sit ups
Abdominal exercises won't reduce belly fat: They only strengthen and tone the muscles underneath the fat. (Image: Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images)

If you've been doing hundreds of sit-ups and crunches and expect to get a flat tummy, you're in for an unpleasant surprise. Abdominal exercises won't reduce belly fat: They only strengthen and tone the muscles underneath the fat. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't do them; they just shouldn't be your main focus. When your belly fat is reduced, these exercises can add definition to your waistline.

Burn Calories With Cardio

People using exercise equipment in front of a window
Doing 30 to 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on most days of the week is recommended by experts on weight loss. (Image: IT Stock/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Doing 30 to 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on most days of the week is recommended by experts on weight loss. Including high-intensity intervals in your cardio routine can help, because, according to the National Institutes of Health, this type of training effectively reduces belly fat. To do an interval routine, jog for two minutes at an easy-to maintain intensity and then speed up to a vigorous, one-minute sprint. Alternate between a jog and a sprint for about 20 minutes.

Maintain Lean Muscle Tissue

Unless you include strength training in your workout routine, solely doing cardiovascular exercise can eventually result in the loss of lean muscle tissue. Preserving lean muscle is essential because it burns more calories than fat even when you're at rest. Perform strength training on at least two days per week, targeting your major muscle groups. You can use your own body weight, weightlifting machines, free weights and exercise bands for resistance.

Cut Calories From Food

Vegetables cooking in skillet
Swap out high-calorie snacks for veggies and fruits. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Small dietary changes can help you consume fewer calories. Eating from smaller plates, for instance, results in smaller portions and fewer calories. Swapping out high-calorie snacks such as chips and cookies for veggies and fruits can also contribute to weight loss, as can limiting foods that are high in trans fat and saturated fat, sugar, salt and cholesterol. Aim to establish healthy eating habits that are easily maintained in the long run.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.