Let’s not kid ourselves, we all know that to achieve a slimmer waist (and keep the inches off), we’re going to have to follow a healthy diet regime. These tips will help you along your way:
Change your approach
Weight loss plus a structured exercise plan will give you a smaller waist long term. Cutting your calorie intake is tough but there are some great resources out there which can point you in the right direction. Alongside this, make sure you incorporate whole grains into your diet (rather than refined grains). Aim for a loss of one to two pounds per week, which is a manageable amount and likely to stay off long term.
Don’t skip breakfast
You’ll burn more calories throughout the day if you kick start your metabolism with a good breakfast, such as a combination of proteins and wholegrains, and not forgetting the all important fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget to stay hydrated through the day, ensuring you don’t confuse thirst with hunger.
Small and frequent meals
Prevent yourself from overeating by eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, avoiding the ‘binge eating’ after starving yourself all day. Just make sure that the meals are smaller than your usual potion size!
Fat is your friend
Contrary to popular belief, a significant proportion of your daily calories should come from healthy fat:
- monounsaturated fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, avocados, seeds, soya and most importantly chocolate
- polyunsaturated fats such as those found in salmon and mackerel
Avoid trans fats as these tend to stick to your abdomen, undoing all that hard work.
Pump up the fibre
Fibre is great at reducing bloating and bowel blockages as well as filling you up for longer. Foods which are high in fibre also tend to be lower calorie. Again, whole grains fruits and vegetables are great options here.
Don’t use straws
You should also avoid using straws to sip your drinks, as straws cause you to suck more air into your stomach as you drink, leading to bloating and a bigger belly. Drink straight from the cup instead to avoid bloating.
Stay away from processed foods
Your weight loss will be hampered by processed foods, which tend to have higher starch, salt and sugar content. Keep an eye on ‘low fat’ and ‘no fat’ options, as these are often packed with sugar – basically empty calories. Also watch out for salt content, as this add to water retention and bloating. Try not to add too much additional salt into your cooking.
Top foods to avoid to keep off the belly fat
- Sweets, snack foods and fizzy drinks – refined sugar = empty calories
- Fast food and takeaways – make sure you know what’s in your food!
- Alcohol – disappointing as it is, alcohol is often high in sugar and therefore calories, and full of bubbles which can bloat you
- Dairy – switch to other sources of calcium such as leafy greens or choose low-calorie versions (rather than low fat)
- Refined grains and potatoes – opt for slow release carbs which won’t give you as much as a sugar high (and crash)
- Fruit juice – although this is OK in moderation, watch out for high (naturally occurring) sugar levels