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Healthy Habits: How-Tos

Get a Flat Belly -- Without Exercise!

Crunches aren’t the only Rx for a flabby belly. Find out how you can slim down and beat bloat without breaking a sweat.

“Don’t discount the immediate slimming effect that improving your posture has on your belly,” says Jorge Cruise, fitness expert and author of The Belly Fat Cure. “When you slouch it not only enhances a belly pooch, it puts strain on your shoulders and neck.” Throughout the day do a quick posture check: Look straight ahead, roll your shoulders back and down, lift your chest and suck in your belly.

Eating fiber from vegetables and whole grains helps your body eliminate waste and belly fat. “Eating complex carbohydrates found in brown rice, whole grain breads, and green vegetables helps your body eliminate belly fat that can come from built-up waste in your intestines,” says Cruise. Studies back this up: For every 10 grams of fiber you eat, belly fat decreases by 3.7 percent according to researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Sleep more to get skinny. In a study that looked at more than 1,000 people ages 18-81, researchers found that those who slept 7-8 hours a night had less belly fat than those who logged less sleep. What’s more, when you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to overeat by as much as 300 extra calories per day, according to New York Obesity Research Center study. To make your bedroom sleep-friendly, turn off all electronics and use your bed only for sleep and sex.

Sedentary behavior can be a hazard to your waistline,” says Cruise. Even for people who don’t do structured exercise, those who sit less during the day have less belly fat than those who sit more. Thanks to modern lifestyles, we spend our majority of time in front of computers and televisions. To increase your standing time, wash and dry dishes by hand, stand to fold laundry while watching TV (put clothes away during commercials) and wash your own car.

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