Go to bed earlier.
Getting under the covers a little sooner doesn’t just help you avoid late-night snacking. Missing out on a full night’s rest slows down your body’s metabolism, so if you want to rev up your calorie burn, plan on getting at least seven hours of shuteye.
Don’t skip meals.
Another metabolism-boosting tip: Eat every three to four hours, and that should include making time for breakfast. Research shows that people who miss a morning meal experience a surge in a hunger-related hormone later in the day. Regular snacks (which should include fiber-filled complex carbs and protein!) will keep you feeling full and your body burning cals at a steady rate.
Perfect your posture.
Straighten up and your figure look better right away, advises The Biggest Loser trainer Kim Lyons. “When your posture is good, you’re automatically engaging and toning your stomach muscles,” she says. If you need to remind yourself to stand tall, a few strategically-placed sticky notes should do the trick.
Grab a handful of almonds.
Research has linked snacking on nuts with having a lower waist circumference. Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, making them a more satisfying pick than pretzels. Make sure you stick to the unsalted versions to stave off sodium-induced puff, and keep in mind one serving is about a small handful.
Brew some coffee.
Another win for your cup of joe: Caffeinated coffee is a natural (mild) diuretic, which helps you de-puff by eliminating excess water in the body. Java’s stimulating effects also keep things moving in your gut, London says. The regular bowel movements help with a flatter belly.
Power up your breakfast.
Have a seat.
“Most women don’t want to talk about it, but you really have to set aside a specific time each day to use the bathroom,” notes Judith Reichman, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Los Angeles. “If you don’t, it’s too easy to give into feeling rushed, and ignore the urge to go.” Once you’ve trained your brain to dismiss your body’s signals, you set the stage for bloat-inducing .
Eat more mindfully.
Rather than scarfing down meals, make a point of chewing each bite at least 10 times before swallowing. “The body has to work overtime to break down food in the stomach and intestines, which can lead to major gas and indigestion,” Dr. Reichman says. Plus, when you eat fast, you’re more prone to swallowing air, which can ratchet up your risk of feeling a little puffy.
Turn to the “pros.”
“Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that help your digestive system break down food, preventing the gastrointestinal issues that can keep you from having a flat stomach,” explains nutritionist Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., author of The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth. To ensure your plumbing is working at optimum capacity, Bowden suggests eating a daily serving of a probiotic-rich food like yogurt, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, or buttermilk.
Walk it off.
Even if you can’t get to the gym, try to squeeze in a 30-minute walk daily, Lyons says. The simple boost in metabolism will help you burn waistline fat more efficiently. And if you want to work out, skip those gadgets that promise “miraculous abs in minutes.” A study from Kansas State University found most devices designed to target abs (think infomercials) don’t live up to their promises. You’ll see better results with traditional exercise.
Give up gum.
Because chewing forces you to swallow more puff-producing air, it can also keep you from squeezing into your skinny jeans, explain researchers at the American College of Gastroenterology. If you need to freshen your breath, you’re better off sucking on a mint.
Take a break.
“When you’re frazzled, your body increases its production of steroids and stress hormones, which negatively affect your digestive system, causing major constipation,” says Dr. Reichman. And as if that weren’t enough to leave you looking pouchy, stress also amps up the production of cortisol, a “fight or flight” hormone that sends excess fat directly to your midsection in its attempt to protect your vital organs. To minimize tension, Dr. Reichman advises taking 20 minutes a day to relax.
Whip up one of these fruity favorites the next time you’re in need of a snack.
25 Summer Superfoods You Need to Try Right Now