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Belly fat is not just something seen in overweight people, but those having normal body weight can also have an extra flab around their tummies. Excessive abdominal fat should be a matter of concern regardless of weight, as it places you at greater risk for developing chronic health disorders.

As most of you may have experienced, one of the most challenging aspects of losing weight is to get rid of excess abdominal fat. This is because the pelvis and the abdominal area has the most stubborn fat, which takes more time and effort to burn. People who are on a diet may be able to shed off kilos and lose some belly fat but getting rid of that unwanted bulge is a daunting task.

Well, the struggle does not end here, the next uphill task is to maintain a flat belly. For this, we need to follow an effective diet plan and keep in mind some tips that are beneficial for keeping belly fat under control.

The article gives you a diet chart with the right combinations of food that make you lose abdominal fat and help you go from fat to flat. Further, it shares some diet and exercise tips.

  1. Will this diet plan work for you?
  2. How long do you need to follow this diet plan?
  3. Takeaway
  4. How do you know that you have too much belly fat?
  5. Measuring waist to hip ratio (WHR)
  6. Diet chart to reduce belly fat
  7. What to eat and what to avoid during the diet

You can lose extra weight by eating the right foods, but physical activity is also important for belly fat reduction. Adding physical activity in your routine will definitely speed up the process.

A healthy eating plan like this will provide your body with the nutrients required for the day while staying within your daily calorie limit. Not only this, a healthy eating plan will also reduce your risk for any potential health problems.

According to experts, setting a realistic goal and keeping a track of your progress are the keys to success. Sticking on to a diet chart is a big commitment in itself but for the plan to be more productive you need to take care of some more things during the regime.

Here are some do’s and don'ts that you need to keep in mind during the course of your diet:

  • Water intake should be a minimum of 2 litres daily for your body to digest the food efficiently.
  • Ensure you get a proper sleep of 7-9 hours every day to keep your metabolism on the run.
  • Eat with your mouth closed in order to avoid excess air from entering the stomach as it will make your stomach bloat.
  • Don’t chew gum. Chewing gum can lead to swallowing air which causes bloating. A careful analysis of the causes of intestinal gas has shown that it primarily contains air derived from exogenous sources like these. 
  • Limit gassy foods like beans, broccoli, cauliflower and chickpeas, kidney beans, grams and black grams to avoid bloating and flatulence.
  • Avoid stress. Studies suggest that stress plays a significant role in the development of obesity. Eating high-fat, sugary comfort foods is one of the reasons it leads to weight gain. Other than preventing emotional eating, stress reduction helps in keeping your metabolism running.
  • Plan your meals a day ahead.
  • Follow a regular exercise routine or indulge in a physical activity of your choice like dancing, pilates, swimming, jogging, etc.

The diet can be followed until you achieve your desired waistline but even post that you will be required to balance your eating habits. Do not start eating fatty and high-calorie foods immediately. If at all you crave them, ensure to eat them in moderation.

However, if you feel uncomfortable about your body during the course of the diet, stop right away and consult a doctor.

Here are some tips to sustain your slim belly:

  • Avoid temptation, try to keep yourself away from comfort foods.
  • When hungry, eat more filling foods, like dry fruits, so that you feel satiated.
  • Continue physical activities, do not stop engaging in physical activities even after you get into your desired shape.
  • Cut down your sitting time, try walking or playing some outdoor games.
  • Weigh yourself and measure your waist regularly to keep a track.

(Read more: how to get a slim waist)

Do not expect to reduce belly fat quickly. The trick is to be slow and steady. Usually, people go on a crash diet, which helps them to get slimmer quickly, but these plans are not sustainable. If you take extreme steps to eliminate belly fat rapidly, then chances are that you will probably gain it back. Following a steady diet plan like the one described along with regular exercise is a healthy way to reduce your waistline sustainably.

Although obesity should be a matter of concern, abdominal fat holds a greater risk of chronic disorders like diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension. You can know you have belly fat by just having a look in the mirror, but how do you know for sure whether that extra fat is actually harming your body?

Waist to hip ratio is one of the several measurements that lets you know if excess belly fat is putting you at a health risk. While the body mass index (BMI) calculates the ratio of your weight to your height, the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) measures the ratio of your waist circumference to your hip circumference. It determines how much fat is stored on your waist, hips, and belly.

To calculate the waist to hip ratio, you need to carefully measure your waist and hip circumference. Although just by measuring your waistline you can get a rough idea if you are at a risk of developing obesity-related conditions, but by calculating your waist to hip ratio, you can be sure of the potential health risks.

For a male adult, the normal waistline should be in between 30-40 inches and for females, it should be between 26-35. If your waistline exceeds these figures, you should definitely be worried and start taking steps to reduce your belly.

For this, you will need a soft measuring tape and a calculator. You need to breathe out slowly. Be sure to not hold breath in the stomach. Now without pulling the tape too tight measure the waist circumference, which is the narrowest part between your ribs and your hips. After this, measure your hip circumference at its widest part. Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement to get the WHR.

WHR is an indicator of health risk and is different for men and women as follows:

Male

For an adult male, if the WHR is 0.96 to 1.0, there is a moderate health risk. If the ratio is more than 1.0 then, there is a high risk of diseases.

Female

For an adult female, if the WHR is 0.80 to 0.85, there is a moderate health risk. If the ratio is more than 0.86 then, there is a high risk of diseases.

Measuring the waistline or calculating your WHR are some of the ways to find out whether your belly fat can be problematic to your health. However irrespective of that if you feel the need to reduce belly size, you can go ahead and follow the diet chart.

Mentioned below is the diet chart that will help you achieve the desired waistline:

Monday

Meal Food item
Pre-breakfast 1 glass of lemon water
Breakfast 1 medium bowl of oats
Midday Snack 1 apple
Lunch 2 chapatis with bottle gourd (lauki) vegetable and a salad
Evening Snack 2 medium-sized boiled sweet potatoes
Dinner Grilled vegetables(cabbage, peas, french beans, capsicum) or chicken salad

Tuesday

 
Meal Food items
Pre-breakfast 1 glass of lemon water
Breakfast 1 multigrain sandwich
Midday Snack mausambi (sweet lime)
Lunch 2 chapatis with cooked cabbage and mint or coriander chutney
Evening Snack 1 small bowl of sprouts
Dinner 1 bowl of quinoa salad and tomato soup

Wednesday

 
Meal Food item
Pre-breakfast 1 glass of lemon water
Breakfast 2 eggs' Omelette
Midday Snack orange
Lunch 1 bowl of brown rice, beans, daal

Evening Snack

1 handful of roasted peanuts

Dinner

A bowl of sauteed vegetables (cabbage, peas, french beans, capsicum) with a source of protein (cottage cheese or chicken)

Thursday

 
Meal Food item
Pre-breakfast 1 glass of lemon water
Breakfast 1 besan cheela with mint chutney
Midday Snack pomegranate
Lunch 2 chapatis with brinjal and a salad
Evening Snack A handful of dry fruits
Dinner 1 bowl of vegetable soup or chicken soup with 2 multigrain toasts

Friday

 
Meal Food item
Pre-breakfast 1 glass of lemon water
Breakfast 2 multigrain idlis and coconut chutney
Midday Snack guava
Lunch 2 chapatis with palak paneer and a bowl of yoghurt
Evening Snack 1 glass of smoothie
Dinner 1 bowl of oats with vegetables of choice and a salad

Saturday

 
Meal Food item
Pre-breakfast 1 glass of lemon water
Breakfast 1 medium bowl of porridge
Midday Snack banana
Lunch 2 chapatis with ridge gourd (torai), salad or chutney
Evening Snack 1 glass of Buttermilk or coconut water and a toast
Dinner 1 medium bowl of chicken salad or vegetable salad

Sunday

 
Meal Food item
Pre-breakfast 1 glass of lemon water
Breakfast Two boiled eggs
Midday Snack 1 medium bowl of papaya
Lunch 1 bowl of brown rice, bitter gourd (karela) and a bowl of daal  
Evening Snack 1 small bowl of boiled sprouts
Dinner 1 small bowl of Daal, cooked green vegetables and a bowl of salad

Other than this, it is highly recommended to sip green tea or lemon/detox water throughout the day for enhancing weight loss.

(Read more: balanced diet chart)

When on a diet you are already doing a lot to keep those extra calories off the edge. However, these efforts will only be fruitful if you keep in mind how certain foods can affect your weight.

  1. Foods to avoid while following the diet plan
  2. Other foods to include in your diet

Foods to avoid while following the diet plan

There are some foods that may be causing you to look fat without your knowledge. These should be definitely excluded from the diet if you are looking to get those extra inches off your waist. These are:

Salt

Salt is important for optimal body functions, but only when used in moderation. Adding extra salt to your food will increase water retention making you feel more bloated. So, in order to achieve a flat belly, it is essential to cut down on salt consumption.

Sugar

Sweet delights obviously taste delicious but are not good for your body. Studies have shown that sugar, when consumed in high quantities, is not metabolised by the body it and gets accumulated as extra fat around your waistlines. Sugar is also not good as it has no nutrients and offers empty calorie which end up as extra fat in your body.

Carbonated drinks

Carbonated drinks and soda have a very high sugar content. This leads to weight gain due to excessive consumption of calories. Further, these drinks contain fizz, which is responsible for introducing air in your intestines, causing you to feel bloated. 

Processed foods

A big reason to avoid processed foods is that they contain trans fats or bad fats. These are added to enhance taste and increase shelf life. Not only do these foods contribute to weight gain but are also harmful to your heart. Further, processed foods have a high sodium content causing you to feel more bloated. So, staying away from those noodles, chips and cookies is a wise choice for everyone.

Other foods to include in your diet

Here is a list of what you should definitely have. These foods target belly fat directly and pace up the process of losing belly fat.

Mint

This herb has an antispasmodic effect. It helps gas to make you feel less bloated by favouring the elimination of gases. Try having a mint tea as a healthy alternative to your sugary tea. If not, then you can simply put some mint leaves in a jug of water and drink it during the course of the day. However, mint does not help in cutting any fat from your body rather makes your stomach look deflated.

Lemon water to reduce waist size

When asked for a weight loss tip, almost everyone will suggest you have warm water with lemon as the first thing in the morning. Indeed, it is one of the most effective ways to lose belly fat. Lemon juice helps to boost your metabolic rate, as this increases, your body burns more calories leading to weight loss and waist size reduction.

Green tea for a slimmer waist 

It is the healthiest alternative for a beverage. Green tea consists of catechins, a type of antioxidant which boosts metabolism. According to a recent study, increased intake of catechins present in green tea when added to a healthy exercise regimen helps to burn more fat compared to just exercises.

Probiotics to reduce belly size

Probiotics are foods that contain microorganisms, which are conducive to your gut health. Having beneficial bacteria in your gut is the next important thing to shape your belly since it improves digestion and metabolism. Probiotics are mostly derived from fermented milk and its products. Probiotic supplements are easily available and help in debloating and flattening your abdomen by the discussed mechanism.

Drinking water for a slim waist 

Being hydrated is good for your body in every way. It has so many positive effects on your body and is guaranteed to trim your tummy. Drinking water has proven to lessen sweet cravings, lower appetite and improve satiety. During the diet, your intake of fibrous foods will increase, so increasing water intake is essential to aid in digestion. Further, water will make you feel more energised and active during your exercise sessions.

(Read more: how to reduce belly fat)

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References

  1. Must A, McKeown NM. The Disease Burden Associated with Overweight and Obesity. [Updated 2012 Aug 8]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-.
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  3. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Healthy Eating Plan
  4. Health Harvard Publishing. Harvard Medical School [Internet]. Abdominal fat and what to do about it. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  5. World Health Organization [Internet]. Geneva (SUI): World Health Organization; Waist Circumference and Waist-Hip Ratio Report of a WHO Expert Consultation.
  6. Office on Women's Health [Internet] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; If you need to lose weight.
  7. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Fluid retention (oedema)
  8. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Weight management. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release [Internet]
  9. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases [internet]: US Department of Health and Human Services; Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program.
  10. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Losing Weight
  11. Frank M. Sacks et al. Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates . N Engl J Med. 2009 Feb 26; 360(9): 859–873. PMID: 19246357
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