With month-by-month diet and exercise tips that will help you eliminate hard-to-reach belly fat, you’ll get a sculpted, sexy midsection and learn an arsenal of healthy weight loss habits. Here, learn 50 ways to get a healthy life in 2013.
Change Your Hunger Patterns
Make your stomach’s network of stretch receptors (the ones that send messages to your brain that you’re full) less sensitive. Short-circuit your post-holiday appetite by eating healthy portions of low-calorie, high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They’ll keep those receptors satisfied without directing you toward the leftover pies.
Start Your Day with Grapefruit
Stock up on this tart pink fruit as it begins its peak season. The acidity in grapefruit slows digestion, so you’ll feel fuller, longer. And just half a grapefruit packs 64% of your recommended daily vitamin C intake.
Take Your Gossip Session on a Walk
Instead of catching up with friends over food and drinks, suggest a reunion on the move–you’re likely to work out 104% harder if you have an exercise buddy.
Deflate Your Bloat with the Roll-up
Hold a resistance band taut between hands and lie on the floor face up, with legs extended and arms overhead. Pull abs in, tuck your chin, lift arms toward the ceiling, and roll head, shoulders, and torso up and over your legs as far as you can.
Slurp Your Way to a Slim Belly!
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that eating a bowl of low-calorie soup before lunch or dinner can cut your calorie intake by 20% for that meal.
Make Time for Cardio
If you want to burn the most belly fat, a Duke University study confirms that aerobic exercise is the most effective in burning that deep, visceral belly fat. In fact, aerobic training burns 67% more calories than resistance training or a combination of the two, according to the study.
Eat Dark Chocolate
Make sure your sweetheart gets you something dark this Valentine’s Day. Dark chocolate is packed with MUFAs–or monounsaturated fatty acids–that help your body burn belly fat. Dark chocolate is also filled with flavonoid antioxidants (more than 3 times the amount in milk chocolate) that keep blood platelets from sticking together and may even unclog your arteries.
Try Out Spidey Moves
Eliminate spillover spots with the Spiderman Climber: Get into plank position with arms and legs extended, hands beneath shoulders, and feet flexed.Keeping your abs tight, bend your left leg out to the side and bring the knee toward the left elbow.
Fight Fat With Fiber
For every 10 grams of fiber you eat daily, your belly will carry almost 4% less fat.
Be Pushy at Restaurants
Saying, “I’ll go last” when the waiter comes around could be adding bulk to your belly.
Try This Tummy-Tightening Move
Do the Windshield Wiper. Lie face up with arms out to your sides, palms down, and legs bent at 90 degrees so feet are off the floor.
Clean Your House
One more reason to start your spring-cleaning: Vacuuming is a great ab workout.
Eat More Eggs
Put those dyed eggs to use! Eating eggs is a low-cost way to incorporate belly fat-fighting protein into your diet.
Tend To Your Garden
A good reason to pull out those weeds: The bending, lifting, digging, and pulling you do while gardening forces you to engage, contract, and twist your abdominals, all elements of a really good ab workout.
Cut Back on the Pretzels
Too much salt will make you retain more fluid, which contributes to a puffy appearance and extra water weight.
Fry Fat With the Boat Move
Target your deepest ab muscles with The Boat: Lie face up on a mat with arms straight up over chest. Lift your upper body off the ground by rolling through the spine.
Whirl Your Way Slim
Get outside and grab a Hula-Hoop. Here’s how: Move only your midsection, keeping upper and lower body stable and rocking hips from side to side or front to back, not in a circle.
Practice Perfect Posture
Heeding Mom’s advice can make you look 5 pounds thinner (and your abs flatter) instantly.
Add This Green Fruit to Your Diet
Just half an avocado contains 10 grams of MUFAs, which halt blood sugar spikes that tell your body to store fat around your belly.
Get into a crunch position–lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, shoulders and head off the floor with your abs contracted.
Skip Your Daily Soda Habit
Where do you think all those bubbles from carbonated drinks end up? They gang up in your belly! Swap soda, diet soda, and seltzer for Sassy Water, a Flat Belly Diet staple beverage.
Drink Moo Juice
Salute National Dairy Month with a glass of milk: Increasing your dairy intake in combination with exercise will help you lose more abdominal fat.
Work Your Entire Core
Lie on the floor, face down, and support your upper body on your elbows, forearms, and hands.
Get on the Wagon
That glass of wine with every meal may be part of the reason your jeans are too tight.
Take Your Workout Under Water
Swimming is a great form of belly-fat-busting aerobic exercise.
Paddle Off Your Belly Pooch
Kayaking is an exhilarating, ab-crunching workout.
Do This Side-Cinching Move
Lie on your left side, supporting your upper body on your left elbow, forearm, and hand. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder. Slowly lift the rest of your body off the floor, so all that’s touching is your forearm and feet. (Use the other arm to balance.
Eat This Flat Belly Food: Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are packed with tons of MUFAs and B vitamins, which play an important role in protecting against inflammation.
Aim for the Green
Swinging a golf club stretches and strengthens your obliques. For an added aerobic workout, skip the golf cart.
Cool Off with a Flat Belly Diet Smoothie
Smoothies are not only packed with antioxidants but can also be rich in MUFAs. Adding a nut butter and flaxseed oil to fruit and yogurt boosts your intake of healthy fats while imparting a rich, nutty flavor.
Get on the Ball
The ultimate piece of belly-flab-busting equipment is a $30 stability ball. Researchers at California State University, Sacramento, found that stability ball exercises engaged twice as many muscle fibers as traditional crunches or Pilates-inspired workouts.
Sculpt Your Core While You Walk
As you go about your day, imagine there’s a magnet pulling your belly button back toward your spine.
Take Advantage of the Fresh Seafood
Salmon and other fatty fish are rich in the same omega-3 fatty acids as many belly- fat-busting foods.
Guzzle More H20
Forget water weight: Drinking lots of water helps flush bloat that you might be holding onto in the heat.
Stand Tall While Pumping Iron
Stand as much as possible when doing weight-lifting exercises. That way your abs will naturally help to balance and stabilize your body.
Sleep Away Your Belly Fat
Research from the University of Chicago shows that those who sleep 7 hours or more a night lose twice as much fat and are less hungry than those who get less than 7 hours of shut-eye.
Tone Up with Tennis
A few sets of backhands and forehands in the cool fall weather, and you’ll feel your abs getting tighter after just a few sets.
Stock Up on Walnuts
Full of MUFAs and omega-3 fatty acids, this nut attacks belly fat and keeps you satisfied.
Sweep Away Fat
Grab a rake or broom and turn those pesky fallen leaves into a workout. The back-and-forth motion of sweeping or raking is a great ab toner.
Munch Macadamia Nuts
These nuts contain a fat-fighting combination of MUFAs and fiber, a double-whammy to your belly fat.
Strengthen Your Back for a Sleeker Core
To stand tall and protect your abdominals, you need to strengthen the muscles that support your spine.
Spread Yourself Thin
Try spreading olive tapenade–rich in MUFAs–on your next sandwich for a boost of belly fat-fighting power.
Ditch the Cancer Sticks
Smokers tend to carry more abdominal fat, since the unhealthy activity is usually accompanied by other bad belly habits, like alcohol intake and poor diet choices, according to a study.
Keep Peanut Butter on Your Diet
One serving of peanut butter has 2 g of fiber and 8 g of protein, on top of belly-busting MUFAs.
Punch Your Way to a Flat Stomach
Take your workout indoors with boxing. Aerobic kickboxing is more than just a great belly-fat-burning, cardio workout.
Sculpt While You Sit
While you’re driving, sitting, or just waiting at the doctor’s office, imagine there’s gum or wet paint on the back of your chair so you have to hold yourself up instead of leaning back.
Breathe Away Stress
Try to keep stress at bay as much as possible this month–stress increases levels of cortisol, a hormone that sends fat to your midsection.
Enlist Gravity to Tone Your Tummy
Using a captain’s chair at the gym to do hanging leg lifts is one of the best exercises for your midsection.
Start Your Day Right with This Hearty Breakfast
Drizzle one toasted whole wheat English muffin with 1 tablespoon infused olive oil (MUFA). Fill the muffin with one large poached egg, 1 slice reduced-fat Swiss cheese, and half of a medium vine-ripened tomato, sliced.
Try the No-Hands Reverse Crunch
Instead of keeping arms at sides, where they can help abs, anchor them overhead to activate more belly muscles. Lie face up with arms overhead and hands grasping a heavy piece of furniture or railing.