Cons: In our experience, capping your calories low will probably mean a lot of internal strife and stress. Plus, we’re big fans of enjoying food instead of fearing it, and 800 calories doesn’t leave much room for satisfied taste buds. Lastly, if you’re currently eating double to triple this amount of food, dropping to a daily caloric intake this low can tank your metabolism and actually slow weight loss more than switching to one of these other diets might. (Curious? Here’s why starving yourself won’t help you lose weight.)
No, we’re not telling you that you need a tummy tuck (although that would flatten your belly, we suppose). Rather, there are several common health conditions that can make your belly bulge and until you fix the anatomical issues underneath, nothing else can flatten it out. For instance, many women have a diastisis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles, after pregnancy. In about 25 percent of these women, the muscles never quite come back together, leading to a permanent protrusion. Similarly, a hernia (congenital or from an injury) can also cause your belly to stick out. Both conditions can be resolved surgically.
Stress skyrockets your levels of cortisol, often called “the belly fat” hormone because it signals to the body to store fat around your waist. Add the daily stressors of living our modern lifestyle and you can see how cortisol can be constantly coursing through your veins. This perma-stress mode isn’t good for a lot of healthy reasons, your tummy being just one of them, so it’s important to take time every day to de-stress. Yoga, meditation, walking, journaling, doing a hands-on hobby, or playing a musical instrument are all great time-tested methods. (Hint: Know what isn’t? Watching television. The boob tube actually increases your levels of cortisol!)
About: If the title alone doesn’t draw you in, we don’t know what will. Start with Mariana’s “About the Fluff” section, and by then you’re for sure hooked. Mariana is a Puerto Rican on a journey to get rid of everything that weighs her down, whether that’s extra pounds, distractions from living a healthy life, unhealthy relationships, stress, you name it. Her blog is a day-by-day, step-by-step process that blends humor with reality in a way you’re darn sure going to understand if you’ve ever struggled with weight.
“My goal was to look like the women I admired in the fitness magazines. After attending a local fitness competition with a friend, I was able to find a trainer who educated me on the importance of eating healthier and exercising and how the two together were the key to obtaining an amazing physique. I changed my diet dramatically. I ate five small meals a day and began doing cardio five to six days a week, and the transformation was astonishing. I wanted to compete at the same local fitness competition I visited before beginning my journey, and I placed third in the Open Bikini going against women that were half my age! Competing was not only an amazing experience, but a huge confidence booster. I have gone on to accomplish so many amazing things in four-and-a-half years, including placing in competitions, being on the cover of a fitness magazine and becoming a contributing writer for several fitness magazines. This has shown me that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to and that age truly is just a number! Today I feel and look better than I did at 25.”
When Tufts University researchers studied the waistlines and diets of 459 people, they found that even in men of similar age and activity level, those who ate white bread frequently weighed more than those who didn’t. “The calories from white bread and refined grains just seem to settle at the waistline more than calories from other foods,” says Katherine Tucker, Ph.D., the study author.
Insulin (in-suh-lin): A hormone made by the cells in your pancreas. Insulin helps your body store the glucose (sugar) from your meals. If you have diabetes and your pancreas is unable to make enough of this hormone, you may be prescribed medicines to help your liver make more or make your muscles more sensitive to the available insulin. If these medicines are not enough, you may be prescribed insulin shots.
We hope we’ve reassured you that there are a ton of things you can do and eat to promote a happy gut and healthy overall weight — which will also result in a healthy waistline. While it can be frustrating to see images of models with perfectly flat midsections, try to remember that the most important goal is overall health and wellness. It’s normal, especially as we get older or after we’ve had children, to carry a bit more weight around our belly area. The good news: your worth is not determined by how flat your tummy is!
About: Nicole’s just a regular ‘ole girl that occasionally likes to try new fitness and, as she puts it, only gets up to work out at 5 a.m. if she’s under duress. And it’s that attitude that makes her so gosh darn appealing. She’s not the in-your-face runner, the strict “paleo-diet-only” recipe blogger. She’s just an average girl doing average things — much like the rest of us. Plus, she’s pretty darn funny and not afraid to use self-deprecating humor. Love it.
Hi Abby! I think it’s wonderful that you want to get and stay healthy! Good for you! I wish I had some miracle advice and I do want to clarify that I’m not a doctor so this advice is purely coming from my own experience, but I’m probably just going to be repeating what everybody else already says! Eat healthy. Fill your diet with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Try to limit the junk food, but also don’t make it off-limits for yourself, because that may just make you want to eat it more! Stay active. Try to find things you like doing, so that you enjoy and look forward to exercise, whether that’s a sport or running or yoga or going on long walks. And do things to work on your self-confidence. A lot of people believe that you gain confidence after you reach your goal of losing weight, but I found that it was when I started having a better self-esteem that I lost the most weight! Good luck, Abby! Keep me updated!
Sugary treats, while obviously delicious, aren’t very good for our bodies—and that includes our tummies. Not only do the added calories add inches to our waistlines, but sugar overload leads to insulin resistance, which tells the body to store extra fat around the waist. But that’s long-term stuff. Sugar also bloats your tummy in the short-term by feeding the bad bacteria in your gut, leading to extra gas. When it comes to flattening your belly, nixing sugar is one of the best things you can do including these 42 other easy tips to lose weight fast!
Becky Duffett is a contributing nutrition editor for Fitbit and a lifestyle writer with a passion for eating well. A former Williams-Sonoma cookbook editor and graduate of San Francisco Cooking School, she’s edited dozens of cookbooks and countless recipes. City living has turned her into a spin addict—but she’d still rather be riding a horse. She lives in the cutest neighborhood in San Francisco, spending weekends at the farmers’ market, trying to read at the bakery, and roasting big dinners for friends.
Jennifer Drummond is health food blogger for Peanut Butter & Peppers where she shares healthy, and sometimes not-so-healthy, recipes that help you maintain your weight loss by taking everyday foods and making them healthier without sacrificing the flavor. Jennifer has lost 30 pounds through proper nutrition education and shares her healthy lifestyle tips on her blog.
Top Quote: “I am snarky. I am cynical. I am a twin. I am overweight. I am beautiful. I am a nice girl. I am quirky. I am left handed. I am romantic. I am daring. I am a smart. I am interdependent. I am cultured. I am book smart. I am film smart. I am pop culture smart. I am not good at math. I am an English major. I am sexy. I am a clean freak. I am a perfectionist. I am just me.”
Want to hear a cliche story about how a guy loses weight? Want to stop swearing while you are trying to lose some weight? You are in the right place! This guy was borderline obese until the age of 25, and he was literally the one who made the geeks in gym class look good. When he met the love of his life, he decided that before proposing to her, he would get in shape – and this is how the title for this blog was created. His name is James Fell, and he is incredible! Even though his weight loss process took a lot of time, it taught him a lot of valuable lessons – he now knows how to eat healthier, how to respect his body, learned the value of slow and steady work, and how to develop passion for physical activities. The thing he realized is that yes, you can have good genetics and work out just a bit, and be fit and healthy, but what you can do is that you can also make yourself do the program and work your body until you make it. This is a fun blog through which you can learn a lot, including how to never stop working on yourself, from every aspect in life.
Erika Nicole Kendall—or Evil Fitness Barbie, as she calls herself—went from a self-proclaimed couch potato to a NASM-certified trainer who specializes in weight loss, women's fitness, and nutrition. The “Emotional Eating” subsection of her blog, A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss, is worth checking out for its unfiltered look at postpartum depression and self-care.
If you want to lose weight, you’d better avoid special “low-carb” products that are full of carbs. This should be obvious, but creative marketers are doing all they can to fool you (and get your money). They will tell you that you can eat cookies, pasta, ice cream, bread and plenty of chocolate on a low-carb diet, as long as you buy their brand. They’re full of carbohydrates. Don’t be fooled.
Katie Foster is a mother and healthy lifestyle blogger for Running For Cookies. After struggling with being overweight her entire life, constant yo-yo dieting, and her weight reaching a high of 253 pounds, she decided to make a change for good when her weight prevented her from teaching her son how to ride a bike. Katie documents her 125-pound weight loss journey and her battle with mental health, along with healthy recipes, running advice, and motivation that helped her reach her goals and accept herself on her blog.
Amanda Brooks is an avid runner, Certified Personal Trainer, and the passionate and encouraging voice behind Run To The Finish, a weight loss blog turned healthy living blog. With over 20,000 miles logged to date, Amanda’s dedication to running has not only helped her lose 35 pounds but created an entirely new outlook on healthy living. Run To The Finish shares her personal weight loss journey, clean eating recipes, workout ideas, running tips, expert interviews, and motivation to inspire others to see running as a vehicle to “think beyond the clock” to start living a healthier life.