A. In the Morning
1. Skip the Bisquick.
Eating a hearty breakfast can help curb hunger until later in the day, but steer clear of ready-made short stacks. A serving of Bisquick contains 1.5 g of trans fat. A Wake Forest University study found that monkeys who were fed a diet rich in trans fats accumulated 30% more belly fat than those who feasted on a diet loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). Trans fats aren’t just found in fried foods and the drive-thru—they’re in a lot of premade frostings, and cake and batter mixes, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, and author of The Flexitarian Diet.
2. Eat eggs.
Instead of carbo-loading early in the day, fuel up on eggs instead. An oft-cited study from the International Journal of Obesityfound that people who ate a two-egg breakfast for 8 weeks as part of a low-cal diet shrunk their waistlines by 34% more than those who ate an equal-caloric bagel breakfast. Egg eaters ate fewer calories during the day, most likely because of the hunger-quelling powers of protein. (Video: Got to be out the door? Learn how tocook quick and healthy meals.)
3. Power walk through your neighborhood.
A 2008 study conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that women who started taking 3,500 more steps a day than they used to—about 1.75 miles—lost 5 pounds in a year; men lost 8.5 pounds. What’s more, people who walked for an hour a day, 6 days a week lost 10 to 20% of their belly fat.
B. At the Coffee Shop
4. Order green tea.
A 2010 review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking green tea can help you lose about 3 pounds and 2 cm from your middle —but only if you drink the caffeinated kind. Green tea has been shown to boost your metabolism slightly, and as long as you choose brewed tea, not bottled and sweetened versions, it has far fewer calories than most coffee creations.
5. Sweeten with cinnamon.
Sugar contains 15 calories per teaspoon, and even zero-calorie sweeteners may help pack on the pounds. Large epidemiologic studies have found that people who use artificial sweeteners are likely to weigh more than those who use the real deal. Rather than tearing open a sugar packet, try topping your java with cinnamon—the sweet spice has 6 calories per teaspoon and has even been shown to rev your metabolism. (Search: Best and worst coffee drinks)
6. Skip the straw.
It might be easier to sip your iced drink through a straw, but for your stomach’s sake, you’re better off sipping straight from the cup. Using a straw increases the amount of air you’re swallowing, which can lead to belly bloat, says Blatner.
C. At the Gym
7. Pump some iron.
It sounds counterintuitive, but lifting weights can help you slim down. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that women who followed a resistance-trainingprogram twice a week reduced their body fat by 4% compared to moderately active people who were encouraged to start a walking plan. If you don’t see results on the scale, don’t fret. “Inches are always lost before pounds,” says Tricia Bland, RD, CPT, and a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. “You’re most likely going to gain a little weight before losing [when you start lifting], but that’s because you’re gaining muscle. You’ll get more toned and find that your clothes are getting looser in the waistline.”
8. Condense your cardio.
Go all out for a shorter period of time and you’ll burn more calories than you would taking it slow and steady, say University of Arkansas researchers. They found that people who did 30 minutes of intense cardio 5 days a week, lost more fat than those who burned the same number of calories in five 50-minute sessions. Why? When your body exercises at high intensity, it keeps burning calories long after your sweat session is over. Rather than jog at a steady pace on the treadmill, try running intervals. The explosive power behind a plyometrics routine should have the same results.
9. Try this move.
Check out the Swiss-ball step-off, a core stabilization exercise recommended by David Jack, director of Teamworks Fitness in Acton, MA , and a manager of the Men’s Health Belly Off! Program. Start in push up position, with your feet resting on a Swiss ball. Lift and slide your right foot off the ball and lightly touch the floor with a straight leg. Return your foot to the ball and repeat on the left side. Aim for 8 reps on each leg, but stop if you start to sway or if your back bows.
D. When You’re Cooking
10. Pack some heat.
To bump up calorie burn, flavor your food with hot chili peppers. Capsaicin—the compound behind the spiciness—causes your body to burn more calories during the digestive process, effectively boosting metabolism. “If you eat a lot of spicy food, you may burn somewhere in the ballpark of an extra 50 calories,” says Blatner. Chowing down on hot foods may also numb your taste buds, causing you to eat less because you can’t taste as much, she adds.
11. Make smart substitutions.
“Swap out sour cream for Greek yogurt,” says Jim White, a registered dietitian in Virginia Beach, VA, and a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association. “It’s a little bitter, so it tastes a bit like sour cream, decreases the amount of fat, and increases your protein.” Ounce per ounce, Greek yogurt has half the calories, one-fifth the fat, and twice the protein as regular sour cream.
12. Rinse your veggies.
A good wash will clean dirt off your greens, and if your veggies are coming in a can, it’ll also cut the salt added as a preservative. Excess sodium causes bloating, notes White, so make sure you keep your salt intake below the 2,300 mg daily limit.
13. Use parsley.
Parsley is handy for everything from fighting bad breath to garnishing a dish. The herb is also a natural diuretic and can help you lose a little water weight. Plus, this and other fresh herbs add flavor without many calories. Instead of relegating parsley to mere decorative status, try dishes that incorporate it, such as tabbouleh, and also get a serving of whole grains from the bulgur wheat.
14. Pick whole grain pasta.
A 2009 Journal of Nutrition study found that whole grain eaters tend to have less overall body fat and belly fat than those who nosh on refined grains. Whole grains have more fiber, which fills you up and can help curb your appetite without adding any calories. A bonus: They help balance cholesterol levels.
E. On a Date
15. Hit up happy hour (in moderation).
While tossing back booze like it’s water will result in a beer belly (among other things), enjoying a glass with your meal might do the opposite. A Harvard University study found that women who sipped one to two servings of alcohol a day gained less weight and were less likely to become overweight than those who abstained.
16. Drizzle olive oil.
Olive oil, nuts, avocados, and even dark chocolate are loaded with MUFAs—good-for-you fats that have been shown to blast belly fat. Researchers at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center found that women who followed the Flat Belly Diet—a MUFA-rich meal plan—lost an average of 2 inches from their waists in less than a month. They also lost up to 33% of the dangerous visceral fat stored in their bellies. (Find out more great ways to incorporate MUFAs into your diet with the Flat Belly Diet!)
17. Split dessert.
It’s romantic and it cuts calories. Winning. “I love the idea of splitting dessert, but keep it to just one dish,” recommends Blatner. “Variety stimulates appetite, so if you have a bite of this and a bite of that, you’re going to be hungrier.”
F. At Night
18. Turn off the TV.
Just limiting your time in front of the tube gets you to move more, reports a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine. Cutting your TV time in half may help you burn an additional 120 calories a day.
19. Read a book.
Blame it on cortisol, but when your body is constantly stressed, it starts distributing fat around your stomach area instead of your hips, report Yale researchers. Combat stress and take the time to wind down before bed—it’s good for your body and soul.
20. Go to sleep an hour earlier.
Losing inches from your middle can be as simple as getting more shut-eye. Research shows that over a period of 6 years people who slept 5 to 6 hours a night gained 4.5 pounds more than those who conked out for 7 to 8 hours. In a short-term study, University of Chicago scientists found that getting enough sleep can also enhance your dieting efforts. People who followed a low-cal diet for 14 days while sleeping 5.5 hours a night lost a similar amount of weight as those who turned in for 8 hours (6.6 versus. 6.4 pounds), but fat accounted for 26% of the weight loss in short sleepers compared with 57% for the longer sleepers.
Referenced article HERE.