Focus on Whole Grains
Women who eat more of their grain servings as whole grains tend to gain less weight over time and have smaller waistlines. On the other hand, eating too many highly refined grain-based foods like white flour, white bread, and baked goods have just the opposite effect.
Added sugars and other fast-burning carbs (white bread, baked goods) cause rapid rises in blood sugar and insulin spikes, which lead to a shuttling of excess calories to be stored as fat. Studies have linked increased ab fat with diets rich in high-glycemic carbs.
Enjoy Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated and diets containing plenty of unsaturated fats (like the Mediterranean diet) are associated with smaller waistlines, while saturated fats are more likely to be stored as harmful visceral fat.
Beneficial unsaturated fats are found in nuts, seeds, avocados, fatty fish, and vegetable oils like olive or canola oil. Saturated fats are found in full-fat dairy products, fat-rich meats, and fried foods.
High-Intensity Cardio and Resistance Training
Without losing excess body fat, crunches, planks, or any other type of abdominal exercise won’t help you lose inches. What’s best for a trim midsection?
In one study, University of Minnesota researchers reported that women who participated in high-intensity interval training lost more abdominal fat compared to those who participated in lower-intensity aerobic training. Always strength train to maintain and gain more lean tissue to boost your metabolism.
Tip: How to Measure Your Waist Circumference
To accurately measure your waist, a tape measurer should be snug horizontally around your hip bones where your waist would be narrowest.
Take the measurement as you exhale a normal breath of air. For most women, an inch off your waist is equal to about five to six pounds lost.