Many people opt for unhealthy shortcuts during weight loss in the hopes of speeding it up and getting a flatter stomach and a skinny figure immediately. However, it’s common knowledge that weight loss never works that way and following these shortcuts only leads to unhealthy conditions and rapid weight gain by your body.
There are many options and recommendations on the internet posed as hacks and secret tips to losing weight fast however, these are considered to be mostly scams otherwise they’re extremely unhealthy for our bodies. Many of these suggestions include crash dieting which is only a fancier name for starving.
A crash diet is never considered healthy as they deprive your body of the essential nutrients. Crash dieting is mostly adopted to drastically lose large amounts of weight in a short period of time by restricting the number of calories. A crash diet tends to weaken your immune system and put you at risk of dehydration and cardiac stress.
The weight that you lose in the crash diet is mostly water weight. Such diets are mostly unsustainable leading to future weight gain and eating disorders plus most importantly, damaging your metabolism.
Crash diet makes people lose their muscle weight along with fat, and it’s a short-term weight loss. Once you start eating unhealthy food, the pounds you have shed will come back immediately.
Flat Stomach Vs. Bloated Stomach
It is unrealistic to expect a flat stomach all the time due to the presence of bloating. Even if you lose a lot of fat from your abdominal area, you will still have fluctuations due to bloating. A flat stomach is never considered a “natural state” for your body. Bloating is a natural state caused by the menstrual cycle in females and overeating in general.
How Do Crash Diets Affect Health and Metabolism?
Crash dieting for a prolonged period of time will harm your health. Choosing a low-calorie diet is not wrong but crash diets usually involve low calories and those calories don’t even contain the protein needed to fill you up or the required nutrients.
These will deprive your body of the nutrition it already has and needs for its proper function. You will start feeling weak and will eventually end up weakening your body’s immune system.
By starving for long hours, the body loses muscle weight along with fats, and thus your body accumulates whatever food it gets. It reduces the metabolic rate and will lead to weight gain instead of weight loss.
The body will take time to digest every meal and store every percent of fat because it automatically thinks that diet is low and so energy needs to be preserved.
Side Effects of Crash Dieting
Being on a low-calorie deficit diet for an extended period of time may result in some serious health issues like:
- Eating disorders
- Slowed metabolism
- Hair loss
- Muscle weight loss
- Skin Problems
- Weak immunity
- Weak bones
All of the anxiety and depression you will face because of crash dieting will eventually lead to the burden of cravings and you will end up gaining more than you lost in the first place.
There are specific changes you can make in your routine and live the dream of a flat belly. An optimum diet along with exercise can help you lose weight and get flat abs. Try to follow different pointers and notice the difference on your own.
Cut the C.R.A.P.
CRAP is known as the biggest enemy of a flat stomach. CRAP stands for caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, and processed food. Foods belonging to these groups may make it difficult for you to lose fat. Reduce them as much as you can.
No Sodas and Fizzy Drinks
Soda beverages and fizzy drinks will definitely add extra calories to your body. Such carbonated drinks fatten your belly. To prevent your body from consuming excess fats and calories, switch to water, the best thirst quencher.
A good diet plays a vital role in losing belly fat. It would help if you opted for a nutritious diet, including lean meat (protein), nuts, fish, fruits, and vegetables, and cut down on junk food, like candy, biscuits, and fast food. It will not only benefit your body but will also help in shedding extra fat and restricting your body from storing fat.
You should also limit the number of carbohydrates and added sugar, as such foods increase the blood sugar level in our body and build up fat reserves. Swapping some foods with their healthy versions can help you get a flat belly with less effort.
- Eat protein: Beans, eggs, nuts, and lean meat are good sources of protein. Protein is a macronutrient of diet, and a diet rich in it can help to reduce your appetite, support fat loss and boost your metabolism.
- Eat healthy fats: All types of fat are not bad for your health. The fats found in avocados, olive oil, and fish are perfect for you, as they can help you to lose weight and actually suppress cravings.
- Eat fiber: Add fiber to your diet to keep your bowels regular and lose weight. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in soluble fiber. Such foods fill you up more, so you eat less, flattening your stomach over some time. However, don’t consume fruits by making juices as that removes all the natural fiber content of the fruits.
- Eat whole grains: Try to eat whole grains in bread and pasta as they keep you fuller for longer and will also be beneficial in weight loss and flat tummy.
- Eat Berries: Berries are rich in Vitamin C and fiber, which help to boost your metabolism. Fiber helps you to shed belly fat fast. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries are common berries you should eat as snacks in order to help in weight loss.
- Eat fish: Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish may also help you reduce fat accumulation around the liver and waist. It would help if you tried to eat fish at least once a day or take fish oil supplements. Also, a great source of protein!
- Drink more water: Water is beneficial in many ways. It helps in weight loss by increasing your metabolic rate temporarily. It may help to relieve constipation and ease bowel movement. Simultaneously, drinking water before a meal will make you feel fuller, so you will eat less and that avoids overeating.
- Drink coffee and green tea: Drinking green tea or coffee tends to increase fat burning and calorie expenditure in your body.
- Eat in small portions: Instead of consuming 2-3 large unhealthy meals; make a habit to munch on small portions five to six times during a day. Also, you should limit the intake of salt and oil (unless it’s olive oil) as they may hinder the process of losing weight.
- Eat raw veggies: During cooking, foods appear to lose their nutritional value and the enzymes they contain. So, it would help if you munched on raw vegetables like cabbages, cauliflowers, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and broccoli.
- Don’t eat after 8 pm. The calories you consume late at night are being stored as fats. Our body gets lazy in the evening, so instead of burning the food as energy, it keeps it in fats. So, it would help if you took your dinner 2-3 hours before sleep.
- Get enough sleep and stress less. Sleep deprivation and stress has a direct relation with overeating and obesity. People who sleep less are more likely to gain more abdominal fat and weight. According to a study published in NCBI, sleep-deprived people are more at risk of obesity.
Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is the world’s most popular health and fitness trend nowadays. People are adopting it to lose weight and improving their health. It is designed so you eat fewer calories with less effort by controlling your “eating window”. It’s an eating pattern in which you take turns between eating and fasting.
Mostly intermittent fasting methods include 16-hour fasting daily or fasting for 24 hours, twice a week. By fasting for 16 hours, you open your eating window for eight hours only, which will make you eat fewer calories overall without consciously thinking about it.
Probiotics are live bacteria that play a significant role in your weight loss process. Bacteria present in the gut have an essential role in the digestion of food. Its imbalance can interrupt the digestion system, which may result in a puffed/bloated belly.
Probiotics are present in some types of yogurt and cheese, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, and pickles. Yogurt’s nutrient composition is beneficial for losing belly fat.
Add Fruits and Nuts
Grapefruit: It’s a highly nutritious food; it is rich in fiber and antioxidants that may help you defend against heart disease and stroke conditions. The fiber in grapefruit can make you feel fuller for a long time, thus leads to you consuming fewer calories throughout the day. It contains vitamin C, which also helps to strengthen immunity and to reduce belly fat.
Nuts: Nuts are called a super food. They are loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Consuming these make you feel fuller and reduce the chances of overeating later.
They contain sources of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Nuts are also the best sources of healthy monounsaturated fats that help you to prevent belly fat.
Almonds: Almonds contain a rich amount of protein, antioxidants, and monounsaturated fats. It gives you a sensation of fullness, despite eating a small amount of it. They are also a good source of an amino acid called L-arginine that helps your body to burn fat efficiently.
Walnuts also contain unsaturated fats. They are beneficial for weight loss. A handful of walnuts daily could help your body stimulate fat loss and promote healthy body weight.
Salt is known to retain water in the body. Sodium in salt makes your body retain water, and water retention leads to a swollen and bloated belly. So, it would help if you tried replacing high-sodium products with healthier options; instead of consuming regular table salt, switch to sea salt and salt-free seasonings like cayenne pepper.
Along with a healthy diet, you need to have an active lifestyle to achieve weight loss. Exercise is considered a healthy way to burn your calories and improve overall health. Engage yourself in some physical activity.
Take out time every day to walk, swim, run, play a sport, or any activity that makes your heart and lungs work harder. According to a study of PubMed, aerobic exercise is very effective at reducing visceral fat and waistline.
High-Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.)
H.I.I.T. is considered more effective than cardio at getting rid of stubborn abdominal fat. During H.I.I.T. workouts, your metabolic rate increases, which leads to more fat burn. Thus, it helps to build muscle and burns abdominal fat more efficiently.
There’s no quick way to reduce fat or lose weight from one specific part of your body. Therefore, do not fall for crash dieting, yo-yo dieting or other fad diets and weaken your body. Instead, change your lifestyle, nutrition, workout, and adopt the strategies mentioned in this article to help achieve your goals for a flat belly.