Having a flat belly, especially around the summer months, is one of the most sought after features of an attractive, fit and beach-ready body. Having a trim stomach is as easy as eating a low-calorie diet and doing regular sit-ups, right?
Unfortunately, trimming down a bulging mid-section is not as clean-cut and easy as many dietary salespersons would have you believe.
While it is true that a disciplined calorie-intake, regular exercise, and eating wholly organic foods is the most tried and true method for reduce abdominal fat, trimming down a targeted area of the body is not as easy as commonly assumed.
This is called spot-reduction - targeting a specific area of the body with the intention of working out that area and eating in order to reduce fat in that specific spot.
Double-blind studies of males and females engaged in localized muscle resistance training targeting the abdominal region have shown that specific exercise regiments, along with a low-calorie diet, do not result in reducing fat thickness around the stomach.
While the subjects of the study did in fact lose weight, the actual weight loss was not in the targeted area. The researchers learned that our bodies manage, store and burn fat in ways beyond our complete control.
But these scientific studies do not stop dieters all around the world from targeting their weight loss in this most conspicuous region of our bodies.
Before we get into possible treatments of excess fat in our midsections, we need to discuss the foundations about how our bodies store fat.
First off, our bodies cannot survive without a balanced amount of fat circulating and stationary in us at all times. There are two basic types of fat: essential and stored.
Essential fats are are burned by the body and used as fuel for energy and basic daily functioning. Most of this fat is moved throughout and used by our vital organs.
When our body has more than enough fat than it needs, it stores the excess fat to be burned later, which is stored fat.
Now, there are two types of stored fat: subcutaneous fat, which is fat stored directly under our skin, and visceral fat, which is stored around our vital organs.
Excess amounts of stored fat, specifically visceral fat, is what leads to disease and other health problems that can cascade into heart disease or diabetes if not properly addressed.
But it is important to remember that fat is a powerful energy source for our bodies, and that having the right kinds of essential fats circulating through our system is vital for being able to expend energy at a healthy rate.
Why people want flat bellies?
Besides being a sign of overall health, having a fit, sturdy and slim midsection is very attractive if you are seeking to attract a healthy partner.
But another critical point to address is that women’s and men’s bodies process and store fat in unique ways.
For example, women naturally have a higher body fat percentage than men. In a healthy and active woman this percentage will be around 20 - 24%, while healthy and active men will have a total body fat percentage from 14 - 17%.
Beginning around puberty, women’s bodies develop higher fat stores in order to accommodate for nurturing a growing baby if they were to become pregnant. And women should never have less than 10% body fat, while men should never have less than 2%.
Secondly, women tend to store fat around their buttocks, thighs, hips and lower abdomen, while men store fat mostly in the upper body, particularly in the abdomen region.
Also, hereditary factors are a major determinant as to where a person’s body will store the fat. Bone structure, general body type, hormones, and family histories of disease are all important factors that vary from person to person.
Everyone has a slightly different genetic makeup and this will determine not only where the body will likely store the fat, but what stored fat will be burned off first.
Is there a good flat belly cleanse?
Fortunately, regardless of body type, genetics and your gender, there are several ways that can be done everyday as a safeguard against an expanding waistline.
The focus should be on regulating the digestive process with healthy foods and cleansing out toxins that clog our systems, slows down metabolism, and results in bloating and inefficient fat breakdown and storage.
Drink Enough Water
Perhaps the most simple solution is to drink water throughout the day, not just when you are thirsty.
Water helps the body to efficiently digest food and maintain a healthy flow of all essential metabolic processes, including cellular detoxes.
Also, replacing sodas, that extra cup of coffee, and other sweetened beverages, immediately cuts down calories which stimulates the burning of more stored fats and thus losing weight.
Too Much Sugar
Perhaps the most dangerous culprit that leads to weight gain is sugar, especially artificial sweeteners.
It may not be until you try removing sugar from your diet that you realize just how addictive it is and how difficult it is to completely cut out.
The problem is our digestive tracts aren’t able to efficiently break down artificial sugars, such as xylitol and sorbitol, which forces the body to store them with fats, which can lead to bloating and weight gain.
Eat Extra Fiber, Specifically Soluble Fibers
First of all, fiber is an excellent way to make sure the digestive tract remains unclogged and regular. But one key type of fiber are called soluble fibers, which means they dissolve in water.
Ingesting these fibers, especially at breakfast with organic bran cereal or oatmeal, promotes the sensation of satiety and fullness between meals.
This helps to prevent overeating or excessive hunger which can lead to an unbalanced digestive schedule, which taxes the body’s energy resources and can cause weight gain.
Also, psyllium is a type of soluble fiber that is excellent for several reasons, including:
Feeling full between meals
Scraping off toxins from the walls of the small and large intestines
Softening stools to promote the ease of bowl movements
Establishing an efficient overall digestive process
A flat belly keto approach
The keto diet is one excellent way to help the body burn fats faster and more efficiently. By reducing carb intake, the body is forced to burn excess stored fat for energy, causing natural weight loss.
A critical component of the keto diet is eating certain types of fats that the body does not simply store but readily processes as energy.
These are omega 3-fatty acids, also called polyunsaturated fats, and are a great way to eat heartily without fearing putting on extra pounds.
Whether it is beach body season or you’re huddled beneath a chimney staying warm in the dead of winter, keeping a health and balanced waistline is an important barometer for the body’s overall ability to regulate and burn fats.
A flat belly may be the most obvious result of a well-tone and healthy individual, but it is important to take a holistic approach to keep a thin waistline because there are many factors at play that contribute to how each of our unique bodies will regulate the intake, storage and burning of fats.