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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the best way to achieve a flat tummy?

    I am going on holiday in 2 months and am desperate to achieve the flat tummy I always wanted (I am a 28 year old female). I'm willing to combine a healthy diet with exercise. Tips???
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Gabrielle Oliphant

    Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist

    Dietitian/Exercise Physiologist - weight control; diabetes; heart disease;gastrointestinal disease; elderly - diet and exercise; sport nutrition;children's nutrition and activity levels. HEAL facilitator program commencing 15/8/14 View Profile

    Contrary to popular belief, doing 100 sit ups does not produce a flat tummy.  What it does is tone and strengthen the abdominal muscles under the fat which does not burn off with sit ups.  What may produce a flat tummy is burning off more kilojoules than is consumed.

    • Keep meal and snack portions small
    • Limit high fat and high sugar foods (which are high in kilojoules)
    • Base the diet on low GI carbohydrates - not low carbohydrate
    • Limit alcohol intake - 1 standard drink no more than 5 times/week
    • Incorporate aerobic and resistance exercise daily for at least 1 hour - aerobic exercise includes walking/jogging/bike riding/swimming/dancing.  Resistance exercise includes weight lifting or using body weight - seek the help of a qualified exercise physiologist or personal trainer

    Remember, body shapes are sometimes dictated by genetics and a very flat tummy may not be possible.  A healthy waist circumference may be a more realistic goal.  Waist circumference for women should be under 80 cm and for men should be under 94 cm.

  • Melanie McGrice is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, one of the few dietitians in Australia to achieve that status. Her success has made her an … View Profile

    Although (unfortunately) you can't “spot reduce” (choose where you lose body fat from), there are a few things which may help you decrease the size of your stomach. 

    - exercise - when you're stressed, you increase production of the hormone cortisol which mobilises fat and can increase the distribution of fat to your stomach.  Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and decrease fat deposits to the stomach.
    - check for bloating - bloating can make your stomach seem larger than it is, so it may be worth seeing a local dietitian to see if you have any food intolerances
    - minimise saturated fat - there are some suggestions that saturated fat may be more likely to be deposited around the waist
    - decrease your body fat - obviously if you lose fat from all over your body, some will also come off your stomach, so if your body fat is too high, it may be worth decreasing your kilojoule intake to decrease your total body fat.

    Most of these strategies are more long term strategies though, so it may be worth having an appointment with a local dietitian to see if they can help you achieve your goal a bit faster before you head o/s.  We've had some great results in similar situations (although we usually have a bit more time to work with the client) by focusing on decreasing the client's percentage of body fat and improving stress levels (and subsequently, cortisol).

    Have a great holiday!  I'm sure that you'll look fabulous!


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