There is literally nothing worse than feeling like you’ve got to suck in your belly when you’re supposed to be enjoying a summer vacation. Right!?! I mean, for months you've been looking forward to spending time on the beach with a glass of something delicious decoratively topped with an umbrella in your hand, but all you can think about is how much you wish it was still appropriate to wear a t-shirt over your swimsuit like you did as a kid.
I've been there more times than I'd like to admit. [The. Struggle. Is. Real.] However, after years of trial and error and some good 'ole research I’ve come up with this Flat Belly Summer Guide that you MUST DO before setting out for a much deserved vacay.
I’ve listed these in order of importance. Number 1 being the most important and number 10 being the least, although, if you apply all 10 steps in this guide you’re sure to have a flat tummy and less water retention (aka bloat and heaviness) in as little as 2 weeks.
*For best results, follow this guide for 4wks leading up to a trip or celebration.
Flat Belly Summer Guide
1. Guzzle Up.
Drink at least half your current body weight in ounces of water daily. Plus, I recommend drinking an additional 8-10 oz. of natural unsweetened coconut water on days spent outdoors. Water helps eliminate toxins and flush out unwanted water retention. The more water you drink the less water your body will hold on to.
Plan of action: Make a habit of adding a 16-24oz eco-friendly bottle of water and a bottle of coconut water to your purse or pool bag every day.
2. Eat Smart.
Eat fruits and vegetables containing a high water content like...
These foods contain electrolytes which can help prevent dehydration during the hot summer months as well as reduce your chances of muscle cramps. The fruits and vegetables list above also contain fiber which helps with regularity.
Plan of action: Your goal everyday is to eat the rainbow. Add as many colors to your diet as possible to satisfy your palate with the "good stuff" thus warding off cravings for the bad.
3. Swear off Sugar.
Most people don’t have a clue as to how much sugar they’re actually consuming. If you drink a 6oz glass of juice in the morning, a bowl of mixed fruit as an afternoon snack, and enjoy a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich after dinner you would have consumed over 60 grams of sugar!!! Yes, fruit sugars (fructose) still count as sugar and your body recognizes them as such.
Plan of action: For a whole week track your food consumption in an app like MyFitnessPal and pay close attention to the amount of sugar grams you're consuming on a daily basis. For a flat/hard mid-section you should not consume more than 30 grams of sugar a day.
4. Kick the Processed Foods.
If it doesn’t have a mama or come from the ground go ahead and pass it up. Eating foods from their most natural state will not only get you leaner, but will also increase your energy, sleep, skin, and overall health.
Plan of action:Clean out your pantry! Donate those cookies and crackers if you have to. Replace them with fresh fruits, veggies, cheese, nuts, nut butters, and seeds. Celery and all-natural almond butter is LIFE!
5. Skip the Carbs.
I personally follow the Ketogenic Diet, but it’s not for everyone. If the thought of a low-carb diet makes you want to curl up in a ball, then “x” the carbs at dinner. Unless you’re working out really late at night, you don’t need the energy from carbs and all your body will do is store them as fat.
Plan of action: Swap out the carbs for extra veggies, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olive, or even a modest amount of cheese.
For information on starting a Ketogenic Diet CLICK HERE.
6. Work Up a Sweat!
Make a commitment to move daily.
Plan of action: Find something that makes you feel strong, beautiful, and better than you did before you started. Pilates, Yoga, Weight Lifting, Boot Camp, Running, Walking. The list is endless. 20-60 minutes a day.
Not getting enough quality sleep can trigger your cortisol (stress) hormone causing your belly to store fat. 6-8 hours of shut-eye is recommended by most experts, but current research suggests that the quality of sleep is more important than the amount of sleep.
Plan of action: Turn off the t.v. and tuck away your electronics 30-60min before bedtime. Create a new routine that helps relax your mind like reading a book or doing some meditation.
8. Limit the Booze.
Completely omit sugary drinks like margaritas and daiquiris. You don't need all that sugar to have a good time!
Plan of action: Limit yourself to one drink a day. Could be a glass of wine (my personal choice) or something less toxic like vodka.
Not a drinker? Skip this step, but be sure to not replace alcohol with sodas (diet or regular).
Although you can't spot reduce body fat, you can build muscle which helps burn fat even while you're resting. When you do ab exercises, like the ones below, you're strengthening your entire core which will help improve your posture and flattens your midsection.
Plan of action: Spend 10min (5 days a week) doing exercises like Planks, Plank Vacuums, Plank Hip Dips, Ab Roller. Could be the first thing you do in the morning or your routine before bed.
Plank "Hip Dips":
Ab Wheel Exercise:
10. Get Regular.
If you're eating healthy by applying the steps above and still not *regular*, try using the help from a natural herbal tea. I may get some backlash on this one, but if you’re not regular, you will have a bloated belly. It’s just the truth.
*If you have a healthy digestion, I’d most certainly skip this one.
***This blog consists of my own thoughts and opinions. I strive to backup my recommendations with research from current science and studies, but please do your own research and self examining before trying something new.
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