Fitness is extremely important to me – I have written before about my workouts and my weight loss. I’m still continuing to work on it – it’s easy to fall behind and go right back to regaining the weight and being lazy about exercise.
So staying healthy, and particularly looking and feeling fit, is a constant battle and requires long-term dedication.
If there is one thing that shows my dedication to fitness, it’s my toned stomach. Although it goes up and down depending on how strict I am about exercise and food, it generally stays looking fit.
There is a misunderstanding that you can crunch your way to a flat mid-region, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are many other factors that affect the core. Improving your diet, managing stress and an effective fitness plan all contribute to a sculpted stomach.
Belly fat can be stubborn and it’s often the most common area women store fat, but some small changes can make a huge difference to the definition in this section.
With that in mind, here are 5 health tips that all contribute to toning your tummy.
1) Fight with fibre
Fibre is the knight in shining armour to save you from unwanted belly fat. Fibre foods are often surprisingly tasty and can easily be added into your diet. Oats are full of fibre and are a tasty way to enjoy breakfast.
You can heat up oats and enjoy porridge with fresh fruit to start your day of right and get the fibre boost your body needs. Another idea is to enjoy them cool and soaked with yogurt.
Create multiple layers of the following in a bowl; oats, yogurt and fruit. Leave the bowl in the fridge overnight and in the morning the oats will be soft and saturated by the yogurt, revitalising for your health and your taste buds.
2) Drink smarter
Having alcohol in the body slows down the burning of fat. So in order to have a flat stomach you have to give up alcohol right? Wrong. There is no reason why you cannot enjoy some drinks whilst improving your health.
It’s all about alcohol intelligence. Read up on the calories in different drinks, but in general remember that the sweeter the drink the higher the calorie intake.
Dessert wines that are very sweet often have added sugars, syrups and juices. Clear drinks contain the fewest calories so if you’re opting for vodka, that’s a good choice, but ensure to mix it with a zero calorie mixer.
Generally, opt away from juices that contain a lot of sugar, and soda drinks. The best option is always water – and eventually it also becomes the most satisfying.
3) Chill out
When you are stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol and this hormone is detrimental to fat burning. When stressed, your body will also encourage you to reach for unhealthy foods.
With our demanding lives, it can be difficult to avoid stress completely, but there are certain things you can do to help manage it. Take an hour out every day to do something that relaxes you.
It could be taking a warm bath, meditating, reading or going for a run. Just be sure to dedicate some time to you because, well, you deserve it.
If you feel your stress levels rising and it’s another 6 hours until your ‘you-time’, perform breathing exercises to help calm down in that specific situation.
4) Vary workouts
It the battle of weight-lifting VS cardio for higher fat burning, there is no correct answer. Both methods of exercise contain different benefits for your health. Vary your workouts to include both, if you training for an hour, do 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weight training.
When you’re performing weight training exercises include lifts that use your core to strengthen it. Things like squats, deadlifts, lunges and shoulder press all engage the core as well as working the other important muscles.
When performing cardio, the best way to get the most out of your workout is to do High-Intensity Interval Training. An example of a HIIT workout is running for a minute then walking for 30 seconds over and over again for a total of 15 minutes. If you are more advanced you could try sprinting for 30 seconds and then jog for 30 seconds to a total of 15 minutes. This kind of workout is much more effective than your standard consistent run or jog.
5) Get some help from the surgeon
There’s no shame in plastic surgery. Sometimes, no matter how much you exercise or diet, you just can’t manage to get the fat to budge or get your body to reach your goal. Other times, we women have to deal with the consequences of pregnancy which make the flat, fit stomach an impossible dream.
Having assisted a surgeon back home, I’ve seen the psychological change in ladies who had plastic surgery and it was wonderful to see how the physical changes made them happier and more confident.
If you’re interested in taking the route of plastic surgery, always make sure to get an accredited consultant and surgeon. There are too many horror stories out there, so step 1 is to be careful. In the UK, the McIndoe Centre includes professional consultants that can provide you with the best advice and also exceptional aftercare. Elsewhere – I’m afraid you will have to Google it but make sure to also read reviews and do your homework on the surgeon or center.
Your body and the way in which it looks reveal habits you may think are your secrets. The physical element is just as important as your health on the inside and your emotional health. Make these small changes to your lifestyle and you will see an improvement in body image, happiness and your immune system.
Thanks to Freepik for the unedited version of the featured image.