Having a washboard tummy everyone’s dream. Being able to fit into those skinny jeans and actually be able to button them up or looking in the mirror to admire the ripples of muscle on that six pack is not such a distant a dream as you may think. These 3 tips are a sure-fire way to get a flat tummy – guaranteed.
Number 1: Reduce and remove your food intolerances
Food allergy and food intolerances are becoming more widely recognised amongst nutritional and conventional medical practitioners. Up to 2% of the population may suffer from food allergies, which can be quite a serious condition, such as a child having an allergy to nuts. As for food intolerances, well anywhere up to 45% of the population may suffer from them. A food intolerance is considered to be less severe than a food allergy, and can manifest as low grade “silent inflammation” with sub clinical symptoms such as brain fog, irritable bowel, headaches or low energy. One of things that food intolerance can do is cause bloating and this is the worst thing that can happen if you want a flat tummy.
These food intolerances may also create no outward symptoms at all but can be creating havoc on the inside. Research from the Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics in Austria have shown that obese children have significantly higher IgG antibodies against certain foods than normal weight children. So these food intolerances can be involved in the development of obesity and atherosclerosis.
The most common food intolerances are wheat, gluten, cow’s milk, eggs, soy and yeast. These are found in bread, pasta, bakery products, dairy products and soy products. If you can’t afford a food intolerance test (as they can be between £170 and £265) then you can do an elimination diet.
For 2 weeks eliminate all potential food intolerances and just eat the following foods:
– all meat, seafood, poultry and fish (except tuna, and swordfish) as your source of protein. Combine these protein sources with unlimited amounts of vegetables such as artichokes, avocado (1 a day), asparagus, aubergine, bamboo shoots, beetroot greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, raw carrots, celery, chard, collards, courgette, cucumber, fennel, green beans, kale, lettuce leaves (all types), mushrooms, olives (3 a day), onions, parsley, peas, peppers, radishes, sauerkraut, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, water chestnuts and watercress. During this 2 weeks don’t eat grains, dairy, starchy vegetables or drink alcohol. This will help your immune system to calm down, it will allow your gut to heal and you will also lose a little weight.
After the initial 2 weeks of food elimination try introducing some of the foods that you have been avoiding back in to the diet one at a time each week over the course of a couple of months and see which foods may any of your symptoms return. For example for one week slowly add pasta and bread back into your diet. If you start getting bloated again or your IBS returns you can be pretty sure that you are gluten intolerant, and if you don’t avoid it you won’t have a flat tummy.
Number 2: Stress
Stress comes in many forms be it a stressful day at work where you are constantly answering the phone or can’t keep up with all the e-mails you are getting; you are in meeting all day or you have that deadline to meet and you have not quite done enough work for it yet – arghhhh! It can come from being stuck in traffic, or arguing with you husband and kids, however it can also be from eating poor foods, not getting enough sleep, light or exercise or worrying about money etc…
Regardless of what type of stress you are under today your body responds in the same way as if you were alive 10,000 years ago and under stress running from a tiger – you release adrenalin (which increases you heart rate and blood pressure) and you release cortisol. Now this survival mechanism that has evolved in us over 1000’s of years is perfectly adapted for running from a tiger, but not well adapted to modern stress.
Unfortunately if you are under stress and release more cortisol through the day many things can happen. Cortisol can shrink and age your brain, it can waste away your bones and muscles and it can cause you to store fat on your tummy. Research has now confirmed that women who suffer more stress have more fat on their tummy – which is a disaster if you want a guaranteed flat tummy.
So what can you do? Eat regular meals and snack to balance your blood sugar, eat foods rich in magnesium like greens, vitamin C such as peppers, kiwi and oranges and foods rich in B vitamins such as meat and fish. These nutrients help protect your body from the effects of stress. Also get adequate sleep to rest and repair and remember to take some time for yourself to relax like going for a walk or going for a massage.
Number 3: Whole body exercise – not just core conditioning
To get that washboard tummy you need to exercise. You may have heard you need to train your abs to get that flatter tummy, however, beware as this is not the best way to do it! Lying on the floor doing abs crunches and Pilates is not effective for weight loss. There is no direct link from the fat cell to the muscle cell, so doing crunches will not burn tummy fat. The best exercises that create large activation in abdominal muscles are squats, dead lifts and chin ups anyway! Of course if you add in some crunches or Pilates at the end of your workout for fun / variety – go for it but make proper weight training the focus of your session.
What you need to do is this: You need to lift weights and do interval training. Yes even you girls need to do lift weights; this will not turn you in to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Weight lifting builds muscle tissue and muscle is your friend. It makes you more sensitive to insulin (which is good) and gives you more metabolically active tissue that can burn fat 24/7. As I’ve said doing squats, lunges, dead lifts, chip ups and other large compound exercises are your friend when it comes to a flatter tumm.
You also need to do interval training. This is different to steady state cardio such as going for a half hour run. Instead you run hard for a period of time, say 1 minute after which you walk or jog for say 1-2 minutes and repeat this for up to 20 minutes (if you can do more than 20 minutes you are either very fit – or you are not exercising hard enough). This type of training is great for increasing post work out EPOC and for raising your metabolism- which means you burn fat for hours after you have finished training.
So there you have it put these 3 tips into practice for a guaranteed flatter tummy.