Snatched waist, defined abdomen, flat belly, washboard abs.
No matter how many baptisms it has undergone, what we know is we all want it.
Tired of not seeing your feet?
Are you fed up of giving out that Winnie the Pooh vibe when you wear your crop tops?
Or maybe you just want to get your bikini body.
Well, say no more because redemption is at hand. We present to you 9 ways to lose belly fat and define your waist line in no time.
1. Mind What You Eat
Out of the abundance of the mouth, the belly groweth. Abs are made in the kitchen, lovelies. We can already hear the sobs but that’s the truth. You can do a million sit-ups and a hundred planks but if you’re not eating right, that pooch ain’t going anywhere. And the funny thing is it’s easier than you think. You’ve probably heard it before:
•Cut out refined carbs and carbonated drinks!
•Cut out fried foods, ice cream and pizza!
•Don’t eat late else you’d explode come morning!
•Drink 12 tanks of water and eat your weight in fruits!
While they are not wrong, we have observed that when you rush into all these regimens, in a couple of weeks- or even days- you rush right out like a Yaba bus driver. It is always good to take consistent baby steps instead of the occasional giant step.
If you take carbonated drinks every day, limit it to once a week. By the second month, take them only fortnightly, go down to once a month by the third or fourth month and slowly wean yourself off them by the fifth or sixth month.
Do the same for refined carbs, fried foods, ice cream and pizza.
Substitute your regular white bread for wheat bread. Wheat bread tastes absolutely heavenly especially with mayonnaise or when made into a sandwich. If you’re among the “Wheat bread is too bland” camp, you can take white bread but limit it to at most twice a week and don’t take more than three slices.
For those that were not informed, refined carbs include: White bread, noodles, pasta, chocolates, pastries etc.
2. Up your Water Intake
Everyone should know this. Water is life. Not only does it clear your skin and quench your thirst, it also speeds up digestion and prevents bloating which might make your belly appear bigger than it really is. The average man should take at least 8 glasses of water a day; if you can take more, fantabulous!
Try to take at least a glass of water when you wake up in the morning as this will help lubricate your system and help clear impurities. Also, taking increased amounts of water reduces hunger (every boarder and University student knows this). Why? It’s not only because it keeps you full for longer periods of time but also because sometimes our body mistakes thirst for hunger. This is why sometimes after drinking water you realize you are no longer hungry.
There are some people that sometimes forget to drink water. Calm down, Susan, it is a thing. For such people, buying a water bottle is advised as this would not only encourage and help them drink more water but will also help them track their water intake. You can also slice some fruits into your water to flavor it up if you find water too bland after a couple of cups.
3. Avoid Stress and Depression
When you are stressed, the adrenal gland secrets a hormone known as cortisol which promotes fat storage in the belly. Have you ever noticed that little belly fold after undergoing prolonged periods of stress? Cortisol is the culprit; this is why it is affectionately called the stress hormone in academic circles. Essentially, when Cortisol levels in the blood rise, insulin levels rise and this causes a drop in blood sugar making you crave certain “comfort foods.” An assistant professor of population medicine at Harvard, Jason Perry Block is of the opinion that this happens because the body releases chemicals in response to food that might have a calming effect.
Depression also has a similar effect as most people seek comfort in food when they are depressed.
Try as much possible to avoid stress, stressful situations and overthinking. In cases of depression, talk to an understanding person or seek professional help.
4. Don’t Eat Late
Picture this: You are having a sleep over with your girls and you would all be watching reruns of Game of Thrones. Popcorn, Soda, Chips and all that good stuff are chaperoning the event. Everyone’s bae is acting right. NEPA is doing a commendable job and just like that song goes, na enjoyment wan kill una. But there is something wrong with this picture: Y’all eating at past 8 p.m. It’s not enough to eat right you also have to eat at the right time. You see that pack of biscuits you ate in the middle of the night when everything, but your hunger cravings, was asleep or that plate of Eba you ate during a night out with your boys, they are the ones that would testify against you when the time comes.
Eat well during the day but once it is 7 p.m. (or 8 p.m. for those wey no too get mind) please stop eating. It seems difficult but it is doable. Metabolism is lower at night as we are hardly ever active then. So everything you eat at those times goes straight to all the wrong places. If you get hunger cravings in the dead of the night, stock your fridge with healthy snacks like carrots, garden eggs, cucumbers etc. which would satisfy that midnight need to move your mouth and are also healthy. In summary, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
5. Portion Control
Wolfing down huge mountains of food, no matter how healthy the food might be, always does more harm than good. It is always better to eat smaller portions at more frequent intervals than annihilating mountains of food three times a day. Also, bulk up on veggies, fruits and proteins and make carbs your toppings.
6. Fruits are Man’s Best Friend
Make fruits a constant part of your diet. Eat them early in the morning and substitute your dinner with them. They also make tasty midnight snacks (although you should probably exclude bananas in this case as they can be a bit fattening and can cause bloating when metabolism is low). Go on fruit detoxes at least once a month. During a fruit detox, the only thing you eat throughout the day is fruits and these helps to cleanse your system. It’s not advisable to do fruit detoxes more than twice a week.
7. Alcohol is your Frenemy
Again, we know the excuses:
“It helps me work.”
“It takes my mind off things.”
“It calms my nerves.”
While you might see this bottled rascal as a friend that spirits away all your problems, it is also the frenemy that is responsible for that proud pooch that you can never seem to lose. No doubt, it has its good effects; red wine, for example, when consumed in moderate amounts may lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Some studies have shown that excess alcohol intake suppresses fat catabolism. Limit your alcohol intake and watch your abs solidify. You can substitute alcohol for healthier drinks like smoothies, shakes, mocktails and some cocktails.
8. Cheat Days
We have talked a lot about cutting, avoiding and stopping but this list would not be complete without cheat days. Cheat days are necessary. They give you something to look forward to, something to work towards. An ideal cheat day occurs once a month and on this day you can eat- in sensible portions- those foods you are abstaining from.
9. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Alas, we round off this list on a very active note. Following the aforementioned tips would significantly reduce your midriff area but to get that washboard abs or that snatched to the gods waistline, honey, you have to sweat for it. Aerobics, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and abdominal exercises are all effective in burning fat. Abdominal exercises help in shaving off those stubborn fat deposits that cling on valiantly despite your healthy eating habits. They also help to strengthen your core, tone your belly and define your belly muscles and obliques. For best results, always do at least 2 sets of 15 reps of any abdominal exercise. Good abdominal exercises include: Planks, Crunches, Sit-ups, Russian Twists and Mountain Climbers.