Change Your Eating Habits
If you are tired of running out of ideas for healthy foods or you're not sure exactly what you should be eating to lose weight, GET THIS BOOK!
I was so impressed by all the different kinds of foods and snacks you can prepare that are delicious and helpful for flattening your stomach.
It's not only about what you eat, but how and when you eat. Your eating habits play a vital role in how your body burns fat.
Eat 5-6 Smaller Meals Per Day
Instead of eating three medium to large-sized meals per day, you should be eating five smaller meals. You can even treat yourself at the end of the day with a small dessert.
You should also always eat breakfast within one hour of rising. This is because your metabolism has slowed down during the night and breakfast will kick-start it up again.
A lot of people think it's OK to skip breakfast because that means fewer fat and calories and one less meal for the day. But when you skip breakfast, hunger begins to kick in and that actually slows down your metabolism even more.
The key to trimming down is not to eat less, but to actually eat more sensible meals.
Eating more frequent, smaller meals will prevent you from feeling hungry throughout the day. And if you're eating fiber and proteins and drinking enough water, you'll actually feel fuller for longer periods of time and will not have the urge to snack so often.
Here's an eating schedule you can adopt:
1. 7:00 a.m. - Eat breakfast
2. 10:00 a.m. - Eat a light snack
3. 12:00 p.m. - Eat lunch
4. 4:00 p.m. - Eat a another snack
5. 7:00 p.m. - Eat a small dinner with a treat
Eating More Boosts Your Metabolism
Sounds funny but it's true. The actual process of breaking down food burns up calories. So if you eat several meals throughout the day, you'll burn up more calories through the digestion process.
Now of course this doesn't mean eat more of the "bad stuff" - this would be foods high in fat and calories. When I say "eat more" that means meals that consist of sensible foods high in fiber and protein. It's okay to treat yourself every now and then, just don't overdo it.
See the fat burning foods page to learn about foods that will help you burn fat.
Stop Eating 3 Hours Before BedtimeYou've probably seen the suggestion of not eating anything after 7 p.m. Well this generally assumes you go to bed around 9 or 10 at night.
If you are a night owl, you may retire a little later so it may seem unrealistic to not eat anything after 7 if you don't go to bed until 12 a.m.
Generally, the rule of the thumb is to not eat anything within 3 hours of your bedtime. So if you do usually go to sleep at 1 a.m. this would mean no food intake after 10 p.m.
The reason you don't want to eat late at night is because your food may not properly digest. This can cause morning gas and stomach cramps.
Some people who complain about bloating never realize that it's from the gas and food particles left over from improper digestion. This can be avoided if you cut down the late night snacking.
Eating late at night also forces your body to use its energy on digestion,. One of the primary functions of sleep is to help you recuperate from the day. You want your body to be as relaxed as possible so you can wake up energized.
Now we all know we have to cheat at some points. It's just not realistic to believe you can refrain from eating late at night every single night. So if you must cheat, then eat something healthy like a piece of fruit or a very small handful of nuts.
Stop Emotional Eating
This is probably easier said than done for most people. If you are stressed, depressed or lacking emotional support from friends, family or loved ones you may resort to emotional eating.
This is a terrible eating habit because it causes you to eat between meals and when you're not hungry. Sometimes you may think you are a hungry but in reality you may just be lonely and are using food to comfort you and fill a void.
Stress and depression also causes an increase production of the hormone cortisol and can also add more tummy fat.
If this is a problem for you, it's important to seek help from either a professional, church members, friends or family.
One thing is for sure...stress and flat stomachs are like oil and water. They just don't mix.
Cut Down on Sodium
Sodium can cause lots of bloating and can make your tummy actually look flabbier than it really is.
Be careful...a lot of people associate sodium with foods that taste salty. This can get tricky because sodium is in all kinds of foods. Manufacturers use tons of it for preservation.
Almost all canned foods, TV dinners and those soup-to-go lunches are the worst! Have you ever read those labels? Some of them contain over half of your daily intake!
I've found that the best TV dinners are the Smart Ones brand. They only contain about 25% of your daily intake. That's still pretty high for one serving but it's much better than some of the other brands.
The Little Things Add Up
When trying to lose weight, a lot of people forget to watch what they drink or the kind of salad dressing they put on their salads - in other words, the little things.
All these things add up and can hinder weight loss, so I wrote an article about it. Check it out.
Analyze Your Habits
Now it's time to think about your own eating habits. Are you eating breakfast every morning within one hour of rising? Are you snacking between meals? And if so, what kinds of snacks are you eating?
If you do get the urge to snack between your meals, make healthier choices like fruits and vegetables.
Remember, you can jazz up your snacks. Instead of eating a plain apple, try adding a teaspoon of peanut butter to enhance the taste. You'll be getting additional protein as well.
Spice up your plain carrot sticks by adding a small amount of low-fat vegetable dip for more flavor.
Now it's time to for you to evaluate your own habits and decide where they need improvement. If you want that flat stomach, one of the keys is maintaining a healthy diet on a regular basis.
Remember...eat healty, eat often.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
Sugar turns into fat if not burned off and can really negatively impact your stomach flattening journey. Click here for tips on how to stop eating so much sugar.
Sign Up for a Meal Delivery Plan
One thing I struggle with is food preparation. I've never been fond of the kitchen so coming up with ideas for meals and preparing them can be draining.
If you are like me, you may want to sign up for a meal plan service like DietToGo.com. They prepare the meals for you and deliver them right to your home.
I'm sure you'll probably agree, it would be much easier to eat healthier if you had the food prepared and delivered to you. That way you aren't as tempted to cook the wrong thing or run out and buy fast food when you run out of ideas.