Flab to flat abs in seven steps
Kiss ugly belly fat goodbye .
It’s swimsuit and skinny jean weather. An occasion to show off flat abs in jersey dresses and short shorts. Time to bin those dowdy oversized shirts and boyfriend jeans. But nothing looks more ungainly than rolls around the middle. Just follow Nykaa’s seven step program to melt away the pudge and give yourself an excuse to buy some figure hugging tops.
Skipping meals equals stubborn fat
Nutritionists have cried themselves hoarse saying it. But we’ll say it once more. Skipping meals is the worst diet mistake you can make. Missing breakfast sets you up for a binge session at lunchtime. The idea is to never be so hungry that you could literally eat a horse. The chances of making unhealthy, fattening food choices are much higher if you’re faint with hunger. And all those binge sessions invariably find their way to your middle. So start by eating six to eight small meals every day, each meal no bigger than the palm of one hand. Try a whole wheat salad sandwich, a bowl of low fat yoghurt or soup with a sprinkling of sesame and flax seeds or a roti with a big bowl of bhaji.
Fall in love with proteins
Proteins—like low fat paneer, milk, daal, beans, eggs, fish and chicken—are the superstars of weight loss. Not just do these foods melt the rolls but they also rev up your metabolism so that your burn more calories per minute. Besides proteins are the building blocks of the body and are indispensable for the production of hormones, insulin, hemoglobin and muscle tissue. Most women mistakenly stay away from protein because they think these foods are packed with fat calories; all you need to do is opt for low-fat protein options.
Cereals are not the enemy
Zero carb diets is a fad that need to go. Now. Sure, giving white bread, maida, white rice, biscuits and cakes a miss is a good idea. But say a resounding yes to whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat, jowar, bajra, barley, oatmeal and ragi. Complex carbs provide instant energy and conversely carb deprivation can lead to irritability, headaches, constipation and mood swings. Also include plenty of leafy green vegetables and fruits and feel those hunger pangs fade effortlessly.
Exercise, but sensibly
Doing 100 surya namaskars or 200 stomach crunches sounds suitably grueling but it’s probably the wrong way to get those dream abs. As any fitness coach will point out, losing that tummy fat and then working out is the only way to flaunt a washboard stomach. So get moving. Cardio is the best way to lose the flab. Start walking, running, swimming, cycling or burning up the elliptical.
Put binge drinking behind you
Alcohol is fattening, empty liquid calories that don’t fill you up but pile on the pounds. Having a drink thrice a week is far better than bingeing on Friday nights. Studies show that binge drinking is akin to inviting flab to settle around your middle. Give juice and soda based cocktails a miss and opt for red wine. Research suggests it helps fight flab and the resveratrol wards of dementia and cancer.
Go off sugar-free and fat-free labels
Sugar-free and fat-free drinks and snacks are loaded with artificial sweeteners that actually trigger your metabolism to store fat. Besides, enough has been said about the long-term health implications of saccharine and aspartame, popular sugar substitutes. Moreover, most sugar-free foods have higher levels of fat to add taste. Instead, tread the middle path and mindfully eat small portions of regular fat and sugar snacks.
Fat is not the enemy
There are fats and then there are fats. Paradoxically, foods high in healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFA) actually help burn up belly fat and keep you full for longer. Peanuts, olive oil, tahini and hummus all contain high levels of MUFA. Additionally, the fat in nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds help reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol levels and keep you from snacking on biscuits and namkeen.