Although bikini season may be behind us, there’s never a bad time to get into shape and work towards a flatter belly. And while you may typically associate blasting stomach fat with doing tons of crunches every day, that’s not the only thing you can do to slim down this fall! In fact, your diet is just as essential to your weight loss journey as your exercise routine is—and that doesn’t just mean you should double down on your calorie counting. Instead, you should focus on putting the right foods on your plate every day (and leaving the wrong ones off) if you want to achieve your goal weight. As it turns out, there are several simple diet habits you can follow every day as you work towards a flatter belly.
To learn more about some of the most important things to keep in mind if you want to shed some pounds, we spoke to certified weight loss coach Joanna Wen from Spices & Greens. She told us that it’s all about keeping your gut health, using the right spices, and cutting out processed sugar.
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1. Balance your gut microbiome
Your gut plays a larger role in your overall health than you may think. In fact, Wen says the health of your gut could be a major key when it comes to losing weight. “The human gut is home to trillions of bacteria that collectively is known as the microbiome,” she explains. “The good bacteria in your gut help break down food and extract nutrients, while the bad bacteria can lead to weight gain and bloating.” That means if you want to slim down your midsection, a gut-healthy diet is crucial. “To keep your gut microbiome in balance, eat a variety of fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi,” Wen suggests. “You should also eat plenty of fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.” Noted!
2. Spice up your food
If you want a flat tummy, it’s time to add some spice to your diet—literally! Wen tells us that “spices such as cinnamon, ginger and cumin have all been shown to help with digestion and help reduce bloating.” Cinnamon can work to regulate your blood sugar levels and keep cravings at bay, while ginger can help beat bloating and suppress your appetite. Meanwhile, cumin will promote a healthier gut and digestive system, leading to faster weight loss. Research suggest that certain spices may also help to boost your metabolic rate. So it’s time to stock that spice rack and get cooking with some new flavors that your tastebuds and your body will love!
3. Avoid processed sugar
Processed sugar is one of the worst things you can put into your body in general, but it should especially be avoided by anyone trying to lose weight. “When you eat sugary foods, your body releases insulin to help process the sugar,” Wen tells us. “This causes your body to store some of the sugar as fat, and it also encourages your body to hold onto water, which can lead to bloating.” Yikes! For this reason, cutting out processed sugar by avoiding foods like sugary breakfast cereal, pastries, candy, and more, is the best way to achieve your flattest belly possible. “Instead, opt for healthy fats and protein, which will help to keep you feeling full and satisfied. And of course, don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day,” Wen concludes.