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If the title caught your eye, you’ll love what Steve Theunissen, RDN has to say about top eating practices for getting a flatter stomach. He says: You should like to eat what you eat, it shouldn’t cost you more than you can affordand it should be a simple enough plan to follow for the rest of your life.

“Instead of dieting, try changing your eating habits,” says Theunissen, owner of Smart Fitness Results.

Oh, and Theunissen wants to clarify something about targeting belly fat specifically. You can not.

“When you cut fat, it’s cut from all parts of your body, not just your belly,” he says. “Your thighs, arms, waist and even your face will show the effects of fat loss.”

If you’re looking for quick results, “I highly recommend intermittent fasting,” he says. Intermittent fasting restricts your eating to a set window of time. “It dramatically reduces fat from all parts of your body, including your abdomen.”

In the meantime, you can try these other belt-tightening habits, experts say. Then, for more details, read Ways Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight.


Recent research has challenged the long-held belief that eating breakfast is a reliable weight loss strategy. But many nutrition experts still advise clients not to skip the morning meal, but to focus on eating healthy foods that promote weight loss.

“It’s not just about getting enough calories, it’s about getting the right kind,” says Reda Elmardi, RD, certified strength and conditioning specialist for The Gymnasium Goat. “Studies have shown that people who eat a high fiber breakfast tend to have a lower BMI (body mass index) than people who skip breakfast.”

Make a habit of eating high fiber cold cereal or hot oatmeal, both are good sources of fiber.

Another food that fights belly fat is protein. A 2020 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health compared two common types of breakfast: eggs and toast versus bran cereal with sugar, milk and orange juice. Both types of breakfasts were eaten by the same group of 50 overweight but healthy people on two different days.

The researchers found that the protein-rich egg breakfast improved post-meal satiety. Participants consumed less food at lunch and dinner after the egg breakfast than after the sugary cereal breakfast meal.

man looking in the fridge

One of the most effective ways to get rid of belly fat is to make a habit of eating to satisfy hunger rather than out of habit, eating because you’re anxious or depressed, or eating because, well, well, you’re actually not hungry. but thirsty.

“About 75% of people confuse their thirst and hunger mechanism,” says Bess Berger, RDN, who specializes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) at Feeding by Bess. “That means that sometimes when they think they’re hungry, they’re just thirsty, but end up eating more. If we make sure we’re well hydrated, we may end up consuming less when we’re actually hungry.”

cook with olive oil

When you cook your own meals at home, you should automatically eat healthier simply because restaurant meals are usually very high in calories, carbohydrates, fat, and sodium, all names synonymous with unhealthy eating. By cooking, you naturally prepare food in a more conscious way. And it’s easier to get into the habit of avoiding unhealthy fats like refined oils, junk foods, potato chips, cookies and other packaged snacks that are loaded with preservatives, Theunissen says.

woman refusing or saying no to being poured a glass of wine alcohol

It is not an eating habit in itself, but it influences your eating habits. Getting into the habit of avoiding drinking alcohol on a daily basis can help you significantly reduce belly fat.

Why? “Drinking beer, wine or cocktails consistently will cause alcohol to be absorbed and quickly converted into fat, which tends to deposit in your abdomen,” says Juliana Tamayo, nutritionist at FitnessClone.

Additionally, when you drink alcohol, not only do you get calories from the drink, but you often consume more energy-dense foods like pizza, fries, buffalo wings, and cheeseburgers. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, watch the number of calories you consume from beverages. They can be sneaky. Instead, make a habit of choosing water, fruit-infused waters, and unsweetened iced tea as your zero-calorie beverages.

eat salad after workout

David Brendan, RDN and Certified Personal Trainer with BeginningRowing, is another proponent of intermittent fasting to accelerate fat loss. He recommends fasting for 16 hours and planning strength training at the end, between the 13th and 16th hour of the fast before eating. This habit will speed up fat burning, he says. After the fast and exercise session, your body is ready to use this fuel.

“You also need to stay hydrated with water up to the point where your urine is clear,” he says.

Proper hydration is essential for a properly functioning body, which includes efficient fat burning.

writing a meal plan

Everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another when it comes to weight loss. But some things are consistent across the board, says Johna BurdeosDR, LC, CNSC.

“For weight loss, slow and steady, realistic goals win the race,” says Burdeos.

Because many of us need help sticking to a plan, she says teaming up with a dietitian may be your best bet.

“Work with a registered dietitian who will work with you on a tailored diet that you can actually live with for the long haul,” she says.

vegan buddha bowl

You’ve heard this advice a million times, but are you doing it? Find out the next time you sit down for a meal and check your plate. Does it look like the Artist’s Garden at Argenteuil by Monet? In other words, is it full of colors?

“Half your plate should be filled with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables,” says Burdeos. These foods should also be your main snacks along with nuts. “They confer many important health benefits whether you are trying to lose weight or not.”

Because fruits and vegetables are generally low in calories, they reduce or prevent you from consuming extra calories between meals that are normally stored as fat deposits, says Daniel Boyer, MD, of Farr Institutea research organization serving public health.

“In addition, eating foods that improve metabolism, such as mineral-rich foods, ginger, and legumes, can also create a calorie deficit, an important factor needed for good weight management,” Boyer says.


If you make a habit of adding non-starchy vegetables to every meal and snack you eat, you’ll automatically increase your fiber intake and lose body fat, says Blanca Garcia, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist with HealthChannel. “Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that is not digested or absorbed; it functions like the broom of the intestines,” she says. “This keeps your body from absorbing all of the available carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that can contribute to abdominal weight.”

Fiber also contributes to a healthy diversity of bacteria in the gut, which reduces inflammation and helps fight obesity. If you think it’s hard to add more fiber to your daily diet, you haven’t read our story, Popular Foods with More Fiber Than Oatmeal.