If you’ve lived in America long enough, you’ll have probably researched how to get a smaller tummy by now. I mean, why wouldn’t you? An hourglass figure is the beauty standard, and you won’t see anyone in a fashion magazine without one (unfortunately).
Although American entertainment enforces unrealistic beauty standards, they’ve got the right idea on flat bellies. The smaller your waistline, the less likely you are to become obese and later develop diabetes. Diabetes can lead to heart disease, the number one killer in America. An article in the journal, Internal Medicine, supports that a smaller waist means a long life. We’re not advocating that you live every day in a waist trainer or rib-crushing corset, but if you’re looking for optimum health, it’s important to understand that flatter bellies aren’t a fashion trend.
The bigger you are, the more susceptible you are to diabetes. According to Obesity.org, “Almost 90% of people living with type 2 diabetes are overweight or have obesity.” Diabetes is caused by sugar in the form of glucose not being transformed into energy fast enough by a hormone called insulin. The unhealthiest foods that make us gain weight tend to be sugary/carby foods. So if we eat lots of these sugary foods faster than our bodies can metabolize them, we’ll have lots of leftover sugar molecules in our blood. And the more weight on our body we have, the harder it is for insulin to work.
The scientific term for too much glucose in the blood is called hyperglycemia, and it can lead to multitude of health issues, especially neuropathy (nerve damage). Diabetics are always warned to check their feet because if they have nerve damage, they may not know if they’ve stepped on a nail or other sharp object. And once a deep wound is neglected for a long time, amputations may be required.
Smaller bellies aren’t just for looks. They’re a sign of healthiness. So what do you need to do in order to get that flatter stomach?
1. Stop drinking soda. If you want to get a flatter belly but still drink soda, you are lost in the sauce. It’s about the same as ordering a Baconator from Wendy’s even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t eat meat. There’s no rumor or fiction in the fact that soda increases your chance of developing obesity. Any brand of that liquid toxin is filled with either heaps of sugar, heaps of fake sugar, or cups of chemicals that all contribute to weight gain, not to mention rotting teeth. Vanilla Coke isn’t your friend. Mountain Dew Kickstart isn’t your friend. Coke Zero isn’t your friend. Water, however, yes. Water is your friend.
2. Stop doing crunches by themselves. Crunches are in no way, shape, or form the secret to six-pack abs if you still eat like you’re allergic to fruits and veggies. You should still train your abs with planks, leg lifts, and if you’re really up for the challenge, dragon flies. But you’ve gotta do some cardio.
3. Stop being afraid of cardio. Crunches do not burn fat. You’re gonna need to run or jump around to shed the excess weight. High intensity interval training cardio, studies have shown, is one of the most efficient way to lose weight. HIIT cardio programs are designed so that you have several workouts that you intensely push through for about 30 seconds and then rest in between sets.
In a study by Laval University, two types of aerobic exercises were analyzed: HIIT and endurance training. The participants in the HIIT program used up less energy but lost more weight than those in the endurance training.
4. Stop eating out of boredom. This is the gateway to gaining weight.
5. Stop eating junk: You’ve heard it before. Abs are made in the gym but shown in the kitchen. In all honesty, everyone has abs just like everyone has a butt. They’re muscle groups that you’re born with. But your abs are hiding in layers of fat.
A study has emphasized how important diet is. You can watch TV and be the couch potato you’ve dreamed of becoming—but if you’re eating healthy, you will In a weight-loss study involving obese men, there were two groups: an exercise only, and a diet only group. Could you believe that after 12 weeks, the men lost nearly the same amount of weight? The dieters still were able to keep up with the exercisers. Of course, the study concluded saying it’s best to do both exercise and dieting to lose weight. However, in the terms of weight loss, what you eat is more important than what you do.
6. Stop trying to bulk up while trying to get abs. Too many people have an issue with having multiple goals. Nothing’s wrong with that; just make sure your goals aren’t counter-intuitive. To bulk up and gain muscle mass, you’re going to need to be at a calorie surplus. You’ll need to be eating more calories than you burn. To lose weight and have abs, you’re going to need to be at a calorie deficit, the exact opposite. You can try to gain muscle while still losing weight. It isn’t impossible, but it sure is frustrating. Your weight will be fluctuating constantly, and you may feel like the hamster on the never ending wheel.
Getting a flatter belly poses as a challenge for many Americans. But with proper eating and dieting, it won’t seem as such an obstacle. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you can’t just eat right/exercise for a week. Losing weight and being healthy in general is a marathon, it’s a lifestyle.