One of the most difficult body parts to tone and shape up is the abdomen. Most experts say that there are some people who are more genetically predisposed to store fats in their abdomen . Also, the area around the waist and belly of the body is where fats accumulate easily. Fat accumulation in this part of the body can cause dangerous effects to health because the fat accumulates around the body’s main organs . This is what makes it a challenge for everyone who wants to trim their belly size.
According to Dr. Michael Jensen, an obesity researcher and endocrinologist, there is no shortcut to instant trimmed and toned belly. Though that’s the case, belly fat tends to be the first kind of fat lost when losing weight. He also adds that the more weight a person has to lose, the quicker the belly fats will be lost too. 
Everyone desires to obtain our dream flat and toned belly. The problem is it takes effort, time, and dedication to achieve this goal. Here are some tips that can surely help to reduce belly size.
Have the Right Mindset
1. Make a plan
Before starting on any diet, make a plan. Reducing the belly size will take some effort, so for things to work out, organize a realistic plan which is to be followed throughout the duration of workout and diet regimen. This can be done by adding the list of things of the things you will do, then, add deadlines for the goals to be met. Also, if there are some items in the list that do not work out, replace them with new ones.
2. Stop being complacent
Do not stop exercising. Do not stop eating healthy. Push yourself forward towards the goal of having that toned tummy. Keep up with the plan and maintain what you already accomplished.
3. Don’t give up easily
During the end of a couple of weeks, the body may stop losing weight or inches. This is not an entirely bad thing. This is just a plateau. This means that the body is able to adjust to the changes that have been happening to the body.
4. Forget the Stress
Stress can cause weight gain. This is due to two things: First, a person tends to eat more when stressed. Second, the body releases hormones that change the metabolism in response to stress.
5. Stay motivated
Keeping up with the diet and exercise plans is easier if you stay motivated. You can give small rewards to yourself for every milestone achieved. Keep a food diary and attend exercise classes to keep you motivated. You can also invite a diet or exercise buddy to inspire each other. 
Do the Right Exercises
Exercises help in reducing belly size because it aids the body in regaining strength and tone of abdominal muscles. 
1. Strength training
- This targets the stomach area. Training workouts such as pilates, yoga, dance, concentrates on trimming the body core. This improves strength and muscle tone at the butt, hips, and abs.
- This aids in speeding the metabolism after the workout. This training is best added to exercise routines. Crunches and planks are some examples of weight/strength training. [1, 2]
2. Cardiovascular Exercises
- Health and fitness experts suggest a regimen of 30 minutes cardio exercises every week. This includes swimming, brisk walking, or jogging.
- According to the study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, 250 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercises per week is needed to lose significant amount of weight.
- Jogging: In a study published in Journal of Applied Physiology, significant amount of visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat is lost in a span of 6 months for overweight men and women who jogged for about 20 miles per week.
- Interval training: It is recommended to run or walk for 30 to 60 minutes, 2-4 times every week. Interval training is done by performing intervals of running and walking in 30 minutes. [1, 2, 6]
3. Non-weight bearing exercises
- This type of exercise includes rowing and biking. This helps in burning fats at the belly portion of the body. It is ideal to combine this to weight bearing, cardio, and strength training exercises. 
4. Other helpful exercises
- Scissors pull-back: This exercise targets the oblique and abdominal muscles. This is done by sitting on the floor with stretched legs placed in front. Then, tighten abdominal muscles. As this is done, lean backward and lift the feet off the floor, making a V shape. After that, stretch the left leg away from the body. Move the upper body to the right and tap the right elbow to the mat. Return to the initial position. Switch sides and repeat.
- Sit ups: This helps in reducing fat and burning calories by elevating the heart rate. Also, this tones and strengthens the abdominal muscles.
- Vacuum Pose: This is an exercise which is proven to do wonders on the body. This is done by contracting the lower belly region. Contract it until you can. Stay in that pose for 15-60 seconds. It is better if it is done longer. Then, rest and repeat. Do this for 5 minutes each day. [7, 8]
Diet and Nutrition
1. Maintain a balanced diet
- A healthy and well-balanced diet aids in speeding up the metabolism. This enables the body to burn more calories throughout the day.
- Eat small frequent meals: rather than the usual three large meals a day, switch to five smaller meals. This consists of a light breakfast, mid-morning snack, light lunch, mid-afternoon snack, and light dinner. By doing this, it staves the appetite.
- Eat slowly and take little breaks. This prevents over-eating.
- Increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, whole grains, and dairy.
- Cut back the sugar, fats, and sodium in the diet. Consume more foods that provide energy and nutrients beneficial to the body.
- Reduce 100 calories in the diet per day. According to studies, this helps in burning 4-5 kgs every year.
- Avoid eating processed foods. These usually have ingredients that go against weight loss. Examples of this are sugary cereals, white bread, pre-packaged meals and fast foods. [2, 4, 6]
2. Do not skip meals.
- By skipping meals, losing weight will not be achieved effectively. Actually, this will cause an opposite reaction to the body. It will make the metabolism go slow, so calories are not burned effectively.
- Avoid starving yourself. Like skipping meals, this will not help in trimming the waistline. [2, 4]
3. Reward yourself once in awhile
- Dieting does not fully restrict or deprive you to cut down your cravings. You can eat a small serving of ice cream once in awhile. 
4. Increase water intake
- This is very helpful in most diet plans. The main purpose of increased water intake is to replace the fluids in the body that are lost when exercising.
- Before meals, drink lots of cool water. This will somehow reduce the appetite and let you eat less by making you feel full.
- Eliminate soda and beer in the list of your drinks. This has no nutritional value and it has more calories. 
5. Refrain eating in fast foods
Foods sold at the fast food restaurants are full of calories and fats that head straight to the problem areas such as the belly. Refrain from eating there, or try to order healthy food options like salads. 
1. Have long hours of sleep
To aid in losing the belly fats, sleep at least 7 to 8 hours every night. Adequate sleep reduces the production of hormones that increase appetite. Lacking sleep chronically causes overeating and making poor dietary choices. [2, 6]
2. Stay active
Keep yourself up and moving. Instead of riding the elevator, take the stairs. Instead of driving, walk or ride a bike. Do much house chores as you can. This will keep the metabolism going. 
3. Quit smoking
There is a study published in the August 2006 issue of “Circulation” which showed that teenagers who used tobacco smoke are at greater risk of developing belly fat. Also, in a review in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it stated that there is a link between smoking and fat abdomen. 
Points to Consider
The fats tend to accumulate easily at the abdomen area of our body. Most of us should be aware that there is no shortcut to achieving that dream toned and flat belly. Hardwork, motivation, and discipline are all needed to carry on with the diet and exercise regimen. When all of these are used, for sure, the goal of trimming the belly size will be successful!
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