11 Healthy Ways To Get A Flat Stomach
Despite what all the skinny girls on Instagram are trying to sell you, juice cleanses and crash diets leave a lot of people feeling miserable. Because you're not eating like a healthy human should be, essentially. Slimmer body or slimmer happiness? Hmm, we know which we'd rather.
But if you're still game to bust the bloat without literally turning into a human juicer, there are lots of manageable changes you could be making to get you on course with your goals. Talking to Harper's Bazaar, nutritionist-to-the-stars Kelly Leveque shares her top tips.
Fatten up that smoothie
Instead of caving into unhealthy snacks, shut down your cravings with a green smoothie that includes protein, fat and fiber. “The Fab 4 supports blood sugar balance by slowing the absorption rate of glucose and elongating your blood sugar curve,” says Leveque.
Make like a leaf
No, we're not suggesting that you make like a tree and leave the healthy eating altogether. We're literally talking about downing some chlorophyll – yes, you read that right. According to Leveque, people actually keep “chlorophyll droppers” in their purse for controlling hunger, cravings and body odor on the go. Revolutionary.
Ditch the cream
If you're partial to a bit of sugary dairy cream in your coffee, you should probably stop with that and save it for treat days. “Skim milk and sugary creamers cause spikes in blood sugar that trigger your hunger hormone that it's time to eat again – in less than a few hours,” says Leveque. Swap it out with one tablespoon of coconut oil or MCT oil (one of the key ingredients in the trendy Bulletproof coffee) instead. “It's all the rage because it will kick sugar cravings, decrease gut inflammation, aid in weight loss, and make your skin glow,” she adds.
Cut the processed snacks
“Stop snacking on processed food,” warns Leveque. If you do need to snack between meals, reach for a protein or fat-based “bridge snack” like raw vegetables with dressing, avocado, nuts, or a hard-boiled egg.
Swap out the soda
Sugar-loaded beverages are a big no-no, spiking your blood sugar and leaving you feeling even hungrier later. “When your blood sugar rises after drinking a sugary drink, insulin is released to allow your cells to take in blood sugar for energy or storage and prevents fat cells from being broken down,” advises Leveque. Try seltzer and lime instead.
Step away from the fridge
If you often find yourself in the grips of a late-night snack attack, it could be stalling your body's fat-burning process. “The first 6-8 hours after eating dinner, your body is focused on digestion, however, the last four hours are dedicated to fat-burning,” explains Leveque. Eating right before we sleep, the energy hormone leptin in our body signals the brain that no energy is required, and thus, you won't burn any fat while you sleep.
Do your own takeout
Yeah, okay, we get it. The whole reason you get takeout is because you can't be arsed to cook, however there are lots of quick, easy and HEALTHY meals you can prepare in no time at all. Opt for something protein based to keep you satisfied, for example, rotisserie chicken, prepared salmon, or shrimp over leafy greens with homemade dressing. These homemade swaps will also lower your sodium and sugar intake.
Work out before breakfast
“I am a fan of a fasted workout,” Kelly says. “Especially a morning HIIT or cardio burst because it can increase human growth hormones that will help preserve muscle tissue and cause lipolysis, or fat breakdown.”
Get more sleep
According to research, people who sleep more weigh less – in fact, it could actually be better for us than going to the gym. “Lack of sleep literally has your hunger hormones screaming at you to eat and your satiety hormones short-circuiting,” claims Leveque. “Even worse,” she continues, “Lack of sleep causes us to crave starchy carbohydrates, which isn’t great for our waistline.”
Drink more water
Drink water slowly throughout the day to optimize the hydration effects. “The benefits are obvious,” says Leveque, “Water supports detoxification, weight loss, fights fatigue, prevents headaches, improves skin, prevents cramps, and more.” Well, it is basically the elixir of life.
Make carbs a treat
You needn't cut the carbs completely but you shouldn't overload on them either. “Foods high on the glycemic index (bread, pasta, and dried fruit) can lead to insulin resistance, and cause you to overeat and gain weight,” says Leveque. Sugar-rich foods also have the same crashing and craving effect on your body as sweet drinks. “Eating or drinking these foods can cause insulin, the storage hormone, to last six to eight hours in your blood stream, leading to cravings, weight gain and hormonal hunger,” she cautions. Make these types of carbs a treat for every other day.
Check out Kelly Leveque's Instagram here to binge on her foodporn.
Next up, here's what to eat for better skin this winter.