Don’t even think about sucking it in so you’ll fit into those cute fitted white jeans: There are less-painful and longer-lasting ways to get the amazing middle you crave. We went straight to experts to get their very best advice for quickly shrinking your tummy. Here are the surprising foods, tricks, and moves they swear by. Their genius tips will help you shed inches and pounds, banish the bloat, and feel even more gorgeous. Hello, skinny jeans!
Eat at this magic hour
“You must eat a snack that contains protein between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Go for a protein bar, a piece of low-fat cheese, or some almonds with an organic apple.
No matter what, do not miss that snack. It’s important because it boosts metabolism and balances blood sugar. The lower you keep your blood sugar, the lower you keep your insulin, and insulin makes you store fat around your middle. Eating every three to four hours will keep your blood sugar even, but many people tend to go five or six hours between lunch and dinner without eating.” —Natasha Turner, naturopathic doctor, author of The Hormone Diet
Have a ball
“My No. 1 tip: Do the ball exchange three times a week. Lay flat on your back with your arms above your head and legs straight out. Start with a stability ball above your head in your hands. Bring the ball up above your chest as you bring your legs up to meet the ball and place it between your ankles. Bring the ball back down to the floor with your legs and straighten your arms back out over your head.
Repeat the ball exchange 10 to 12 times, remembering to keep your lower back pressed into the floor as you do this move.” —LaReine Chabut, author of Exercise Balls for Dummies
Beef up on this belly-zapping hormone
“Eat as close to zero grams of sugar as possible. This will keep insulin levels low and also keep levels of glucagon high. Glucagon, a hormone, is the best friend you could ever have in the struggle for a flat belly! The closer to zero grams of sugar you consume, the lower your insulin and the higher your glucagon…it’s as simple as that.” —Jorge Cruise, author of The Belly Fat Cure
Chew on this
“Chewing is the No. 1 tip I give to prevent bloating. Chew food until it is like applesauce in your mouth. Digestion begins in the mouth, and without proper chewing, food is not well-digested. Better-digested food means less gas and bloating.” —Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, author of The Flexitarian Diet
Put crunches last on your flat-belly list (for real!)
“I recommend the DCBA approach: Diet first, Cardio second, Building muscle third, and Abs exercises last. Follow it and you can safely lose one to two pounds a week. Spend 60 minutes a day preparing healthier meals. Spend 20 minutes a day three to five times weekly doing cardio. Spend 15 minutes a day three times a week strength training. Finally, spend 5 minutes a day three times a week doing abs exercises.” —Myatt Murphy, author of The Body You Want in the Time You Have
Shake on the sea salt
“The culprit making your tummy bloat? It could be the salt in your diet. Use natural sea salt or kosher salt, which is lower in sodium teaspoon for teaspoon than traditional table salts. And stay away from soy sauce: Even low-sodium soy sauce is still high in sodium and will cause practically instant bloating.
Instead, flavor your food with a little fresh tomato salsa or a hint of cayenne pepper, which has an added benefit of boosting metabolism.” —Susan Irby, “The Bikini Chef” and author of Substitute Yourself Skinny
Punch it out and lose 2 inches fast
“Add boxing to your cardio routine. When you throw punches with weights or at a fast pace, you’re working your core in a way that helps to flatten your midsection. You must engage your core to throw punches, and twisting your torso works all the ab muscles.
Boxing also gives you a cardio workout that burns extra calories. Add 16 minutes of boxing three times a week to your regular cardio routine (30 minutes at high intensity four to five times a week), and you can lose up to 2 inches from your waist in four weeks. Simply throw punches while holding 1- or 2-pound weights for 8 minutes, alternating arms, then repeat without weights at a faster pace for 8 more minutes.” —Michael Olajide Jr. and Leila Fazel, co-founders of Aerospace High Performance Center in New York City
Try the flat-belly cheat
“Play up a different body part to draw attention from your middle.
If it’s your legs, wear skirts or slim pants. Shoulders—bare them even if just a bit with a boatneck or sweetheart neckline. Cleavage? Make sure your bra does its job. If your bra rides up in the back, the bra has likely stretched out. If it accentuates back flab or if the space between the cups doesn’t lie flat, go up a size.” —Kim Johnson Gross, style expert and author of What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life
“Eating portion-controlled meals that include whole-grain foods and monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) throughout the day is the best way to eat for a flat belly: People who eat whole grains lose more abdominal fat. And making most of the fats you eat MUFAs reduces ab flab, research says.” —Keri Glassman, RD, author of The O2 Diet and The Snack Factor Diet
The ultimate flat-belly menu
Best breakfast: A slice of whole-wheat bread with natural peanut butter and 1 cup of your favorite berries.
Best lunch: Spinach salad with sliced avocado, grilled firm tofu, and cherry tomatoes, drizzled with a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
Best dinner: Grilled salmon, a roasted sweet potato, and sautéed asparagus with olive oil and garlic.
Best snack: A cup of fat-free yogurt with 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds.
Laugh it up!
“The best thing for your abs is laughing. Every time you laugh it strengthens your abs. There are even laughing yoga classes (Go to Laughter Yoga to find a class near you). If you start busting a gust, you are absolutely toning your abs.” —Kristin McGee, Pilates expert