One of the biggest myths around is that getting a flat stomach mainly involves lots of situps or other stomach exercises.
The TV is filled with infomercials on the latest gadgets and exercise machines that promise to give you six pack abs like a fitness model if you use them for 3 minutes a day. Well you can't blame them for trying to sell their product.
The simple truth is exercise is not enough. Exercise is only one part of what it takes to get a flat stomach. Healthy eating habits are the second and, in my opinion, more important part.
In fact this is the reason so many people fail to get a flat stomach, they tend to do lots of exercise but neglect to develop good eating habits and the results of all that exercise remain hidden beneath a layer of fat. The single most important thing, if you ever going to get a flat stomach, is developing healthy eating habits.
Eat more often to increase your metabolism
The following advice might come as a surprise to you but to increase your metabolism you should eat more often.
Eat 5-6 smaller meals a day, this can be done by making your 3 regular meals smaller and adding healthy snacks between your existing meals.
Heres how it works. When we eat, our bodies are designed to store fat for the future when we might have less food available. If our body is starving it does everything to store fat after every meal and your metabolism slows considerably.
On the other hand when your body feels you have plenty of food available your metabolism increases and your body stores less fat.
This is why starving yourself (and diets that require you to eat less than 1500 calories a day) will never work in the long run as a way of losing fat. Your metabolism will slow down and when you go back to eating like you did before the crash diet you gain a lot more fat than you lost.
So increase the frequency of your meals and the amount of healthy food you eat and you will increase your metabolism and burn more calories after each meal.
There is an added benefit to eating more meals a day - When your body digests food it burns calories, so by dividing what you would eat in a day into smaller meals and eating more often will burn more calories. You will also feel full for longer periods and it will prevent you from feeling hungry during the day.
Start eating early and don't eat late at night
You should eat breakfast as soon as possible when you wake up, this will speed up your metabolism that slowed during the night, if you don't eat breakfast your metabolism will slow even more, as your body reacts to the hunger.
Stop eating at least two hours before you go to bed. This will allow your food to digest properly and help your body rest and recuperate better from the previous day.
What you should and shouldn't eat
This is simple. Don't completely change your diet all at once. Start by eating the same foods you are used to only the healthier versions of those.
Eat wholemeal and wholegrain bread instead of regular white bread. When possible, eat wholemeal pasta and brown rice, low fat milk products, egg whites as well as lean meat and tuna.
Counting the calories in each meal is tedious and is not necessary for the average person. Simply stay away from the foods you know are bad for you, cut down on sweets, cakes, pastries and soft drinks. Choose the brands that contain less saturated fat.
Aim to consistently give your body what it needs: fruits, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, and lean protein. Drink a lot of water.
Review your eating habits and make changes where changes are needed
Now is the time to review your eating habits and to start introducing small changes. Start by substituting unhealthy food with healthy variants, and eating more often.
The transition should be subtle, if you need to, you can have a treat after a week of eating healthy. You can choose a day off, a day when you can eat anything you want (don't overdo it though) but for the rest of the week stick to your meal plan. If you do it for a while it will become a way of life. A few small changes is all that it takes, try it you will feel better and look better.