By Elizabeth Morrell
Plenty of us have the belly fat issue. I know I’m working on my pooch!
Courageous Woman Magazine’s Fitness Expert, Elizabeth Morrell is here to give us a few tips on how to get rid of the belly flab and to get a flat stomach!
Go for it, Elizabeth!
The most frequent concern I hear is, “I do so many crunches and sit-ups but I still have my belly. Can I get a flat stomach?” The truth is, yes you can! It’s more than just doing crunches! Crunches and sit-ups are good to firm the stomach MUSCLE, but losing that belly fat is more than just exercise. If you want a flat stomach, the most important thing you can do is develop healthy eating habits.
In order to achieve a flat stomach, you need to perform the right exercises regularly and engage in a healthy diet. What is the right exercise you may ask? Cardio! You need cardio exercise to burn existing stomach fat. You must change your eating habits as well. Instead of three meals a day, eat five to six smaller meals. Make sure to eat fiber and drink water. The best way to succeed in your quest of a flat belly is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
1. Change those eating habits! An easy change to make right now is to watch portion control. I recommend buying a lunch size plate, (smaller than a dinner plate and larger than a saucer) and use this for your meals. At every meal you should consume a protein and carbohydrate combo. Yes I said it, carbohydrate. I am not talking about white flour carbs like bagels or white bread which can pack on the pounds. Healthy carbs are vegetables, legumes, grains and nuts. Here’s an example of healthy eating: start the day with oatmeal and an egg, then for lunch, eat a lean protein such as tuna and add a salad, then for dinner try eating a chicken breast with a side of asparagus. Eat greens like kale and spinach freely as these are very high in nutrients. Be creative! You can build on those basic suggestions.
Another must-do to get rid of belly fat is avoiding soda. I know this is difficult for many, but here is a trick to at least cut back on that sugar-filled drink: if you are out to dinner, order water to drink before your meal. Once you are done with your glass of water, you can order that soda if you are still craving it. Two things will happen, one is that you have fulfilled one glass of your daily water intake (you should have at least 8 glasses a day) and second you have filled that tummy up a little with that fluid and will eat less.
2. Do your cardio! Make sure you are getting at least 60 min of cardio 3 times a week and at least 30 minutes on the other days. Find something you love to do that will get that heart rate up such as jogging, swimming, dancing, and bike riding. Did you notice I didn’t say walking? Remember I said something to get that heart rate up. If you are walking and you can hold a conversation, do not use this as a cardio. You are being active, and you should enjoy it, but don’t count this as cardiovascular exercise. If you do choose walking as your cardio, here is the trick to get that heart beating: walk briskly for 1 minute to 5 minutes depending on your fitness level, and then walk at your regular pace for 1 minute to 5 minutes. Got it? Let me repeat: walk briskly for a set amount of time then do that same set amount of time walking at your regular pace. This will get that heart rate up and you are doing cardio. In order to keep up with cardio, you must find something that you enjoy doing and have fun with it- or else you won’t stick with your exercise routine. Personally, I don’t like to do cardio. The exercise I choose to do has to be FUN, so I do indoor cycling because I love the music, it’s easy on the knees, and I get a kick butt workout!
3. Stay consistent – in order to see results, you have to stay consistent! You didn’t get that belly overnight; you worked at it. It took time to gradually happen, so let’s work at losing that belly fat for good. Change eating habits one meal at a time. Get your cardio in to your daily routine one day at a time.
Remember you will never find time to work out; you have to make time to work out. Try those small changes and you are well on your way to that flat belly!
Elizabeth Morrell – Certified Fitness Trainer at the Fitness Range, Murrieta, California.