It’s springtime, which means that *gulp* bathing suit season is right around the corner. Thankfully, muffin top can become a part of your seasoned past if you try these scientifically-proven tips:
1. Eat smaller “6″ meals every 3 hours.
A “6″ meal is a food I define as something that is a 6 on a scale from 1 to 10. It’s not super-delicious (that’s cheddar cheese for me), but it’s not something I would never eat, either (that’s mushrooms). Instead, a “6″ meal for me is something like a salad with fat-free dressing, a cup of soup, a bowl of cereal – not foods I’d ever pig out on, but definitely foods that are tasty enough to eat.
After following the advice of Tosca Reno, author of The Eat Clean Diet, I have also been making sure I eat five 300-calorie-or-less meals for the past week, and been making them using the fresh ingredients she suggests in her book. The result? I’ve lost six pounds – and my stomach is getting flatter all the time!
2. Give up raffinose.
Raffinose is a sugar found in beans, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage, but is most concentrated in the first three. When consumed, raffinose passes through the upper intestine undigested, and then is fermented in the lower intestine. The result? Methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen – all gases making your stomach look fuller!
Now, I’m not going to be one of those doctors someday who tells people not to eat vegetables. That’s just crazy talk. But if I was a Hollywood stylist telling Nicole Kidman what to avoid eating the day before a big premiere, you better believe I’d be advising her to skip anything with raffinose!
3. Find an abs exercise you like – and stick with it.
Experts often say you have to do this exercise for this muscle and that exercise for that muscle, but truth be told, plain old crunches will do the trick for most of us non-bodybuilder types. If what you’re looking for is perfectly-defined, well-chiseled abs, well, that’s another article, and a whole circuitous days on-days off/cycling-protein-with-carbs/getting-crabby-from-no-food bit. (I’m mostly joking on the last part).
Truth be told, any of the standard ab exercises should give you a flatter stomach in no time! I personally like to buy workout tapes for abs to keep my routine fresh. One of my all time favorites isGaiam Pilates for Abs – it’s hard, but it makes your stomach unbelievably firm as you stick with it over time. I’ve been doing it since I was sixteen years old, and it’s still my go-to workout.
4. Challenge yourself: “1 more daily”
Once you find an exercise you like and can do, the secret of success is to repeat it daily. Make it fun: find a number of crunches you are satisfied doing, and then up it by just 1 (or 10 percent if you are super-athletic already) everyday! Stay committed!
Small changes over time are what amount to success. As Darren Hardy, publisher of Successmagazine, entrepreneur, speaker extraordinaire and author of The Compound Effect says in his book, “Little everyday decisions will take you to the life you desire or disaster by default.” Although the big gains may feel great in the short-term, it’s consistent devotion to improving your physicality that are going to make all the difference in the long run.
5. Track your progress.
“What cannot be measured cannot be achieved” is one of the favorite lines of Jack Canfield, the co-author of the infamous Chicken Soup for the Soul books. It’s so true. Many people fail to track their progress because they think it is pointless, or they are afraid to face the truth. Still others feel they will be discouraged to see a lack of progress over time. Yet the key is to stop taking your results personally. How much you weigh, how big your waist measures, how many sit-ups you can do before puckering out – these are your results, consequences of your actions, not you. In other words, you have to stop measuring your self-esteem by your negative results, particularly as you are beginning. Negative results are simply there to inform you that your current routine isn’t working. You’re still awesome and amazing for even wanting to change – it’s your actions that need to change. Which brings me back to point #4: you only have to do one more daily, everyday, to see results!
Getting a flatter stomach is like anything else in the weight loss arena: You have to eat less and move more. But, then again, if it were that easy, the people of the world would look like the actors on the set of a soap opera. Some tricks that help make it easier are to eat 100-300 calories or less every 2 to 3 hours; avoid beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carbonated beverages, and other substances that make your stomach bloat; exercise – just move, do something, and then do a little more everyday; track your progress; and remember your successes, forget your failures. Remember: Your successes are in line with you (who you are, what you want), while your failures are only there to request you tweak an action or two.