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How to Get a Flat Stomach

Three Parts:Following a Healthy DietExercising for a Flat StomachLiving Healthy

Whether it's springtime in Florida, summer in Sydney, or all year long in Hawaii, when the beaches beckon, you want to be in swimsuit shape. If you're feeling a little flabby around the middle, or just want to do a little toning up, let these tips be your guide.

Part 1
Following a Healthy Diet

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    Stop eating two to three hours before sleep. Your body slows down when you sleep, which will prevent your body from digesting the food in your stomach properly.
    • You are also much less active in the evenings and at night, which means that your body is more likely to store the calories you consume late at night as fat, rather than burning them as energy.
    • Try not to eat anything at least two to three hours before going to bed, or follow the "daylight diet", which only allows you to eat during daylight hours.
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    Eat healthier. There's no real secret when it comes to having a flat-tummy friendly diet — you simply need to eat more healthy foods like fruit, veg, and whole grains, and cut down on junk food, like candy, chips and fast food. Just by making this simple switch, you'll see a world of difference to your stomach. However, it's not recommended that you go cold turkey — try to ease into a healthy diet by slowly, but consistently replacing the bad with the good. Here are some simple changes you can make:
    • Eat lots of lean protein. Beans, nuts, and lean meat are rather good for you as long as you do not eat the fat!
    • Eat whole grains. Look for labels that say "100% whole grain" or "100% whole wheat" and not just "wheat flour." Whole grains keep you fuller longer, which can help with weight loss and getting a flat tummy.
    • Eat low-fat dairy products. Switch out your high-fat dairy for low-fat options, which are rich in protein and vitamin B6.
    • Eat healthy fats. Not all fat is bad you know! The monounsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts and fish oil are actually very good for you and can help you to lose weight. Just stay away from the trans fats found in processed foods and baked goods.[1]
    • Lower your sodium intake. Sodium causes your body to retain water, which causes you to look bloated — especially around your abdominal region. Whenever possible, try replacing high-sodium foods with healthier options. Switch regular table salt for kosher or sea salt, which are lower in sodium, and stay away from soy sauce as it's full of it.[2]
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    Reduce your portion sizes. Rather than eating the wrong kinds of foods, many people just eat too much of the right foods. You should eat just enough until you feel full, then stop. If you're eating regular, healthy snacks throughout the day, this shouldn't leave you feeling hungry.
    • One good trick is to use smaller plates when you eat meals. That way, your plate will look like it's heaped with food, but you're actually eating less than you normally would. Also try to fill at least half the plate with vegetables.
    • Try to chew more slowly and thoroughly when you eat. Chewing your food well helps to speed up the digestion process in the stomach, leaving you feeling less bloated and gassy. You should chew every bite until it reaches the consistency of applesauce.[3]
    • Take small breaks in between every bite of food when eating. The extra time will give your stomach a chance to realize that it's full, thus preventing you from over-eating.
    • Nuts and seeds are especially good snacks as they will make you feel more full.
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    Eat low-glycemic index foods. These items take longer to digest, so you feel full longer. Your body will slowly absorb the nutrients so you'll avoid any spikes or drops in your blood sugar until your next meal. Some of the best low-GI foods are:[4]
    • Cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, zucchini, dark leaf lettuce, onions, pears, tomatoes, watercress, broccoli, bananas, apples, and berries are all good foods to eat.
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    Cut as much sugar as possible. Besides being full of empty calories, having less sugar in your system will help to lower your insulin levels.
    • Use artificial sweeteners with care. While they may help to reduce caloric intake, there is also evidence suggesting they trigger an increase in hunger that results in weight gain.[5]
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    Eat a protein-rich snack between 3 and 4 p.m. According to experts, eating a protein-rich snack at the magic hour between three and four in the afternoon will boost your metabolism and balance your blood sugar.
    • A protein bar or shake, a handful of almonds, or pumpkin seeds, or a chunk of low-fat cheese are all good options.
    • Having balanced blood sugars lowers the amount of insulin in your system, which is good because insulin can cause you to store fat around your middle.[6]
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    Eat small, frequent meals. Replace your usual system of eating three large meals a day, with eating smaller, more regular meals. Many people make the mistake of eating nothing at all between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, especially when they are trying to lose weight.
    • However, this type of diet will negatively effect blood sugar levels and cause you to eat more due to hunger, thus making it harder to lose weight.
    • Having a small, healthy snack every three to four hours and not letting yourself go hungry is a much healthier and more effective system.[6]
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    Drink plenty of water. You should replace all your regular beverages with water, especially soda and sugared drinks which are full of empty calories and will cause your stomach to bloat.
    • Take water with you wherever you exercise or do strenuous activity and take water breaks during hot or heavy workouts.
    • Drinking lots of water will help to flush toxins out of your system and keep your bowels moving, both of which are essential for a flat stomach.
    • If you find regular water too boring, consider making sassy water instead. Sassy water is simply regular water infused with a number of refreshing and energizing ingredients, which help to speed up the metabolism and cut down on belly fat. Recipes vary, but many include some combination of ingredients such as orange slices, lemon slices, grated ginger, cucumber, fresh spearmint, and fresh basil. The water is left to infuse overnight — making it refreshingly "sassy" by the next morning!
    • Pay attention to your body's signs. Your urine should be a light yellow or clear color; dark yellow with an odor could be a sign that you are dehydrated.
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    Cut down on alcohol. While the prospect of cutting alcohol out of your diet completely may be hard to bear, you should seriously consider cutting down. Alcohol, particularly wine and beer, is full of calories (scary fact: one bottle of wine contains roughly 600 calories).
    • Alcohol consumption also releases estrogen into the system, which is undesirable, as excess estrogen causes the body to retain weight.
    • In addition, alcohol stimulates appetite and causes willpower to melt away, making you much more likely to binge on all the things you've been depriving yourself of, like burgers, fries, pizza, chocolate, and potato chips.[7]

Part 2
Exercising for a Flat Stomach

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    Do aerobic exercises daily. Sure, you can do 100 crunches a day, but if you've got a layer of belly fat covering up your ab work then what's the point? You need to burn the top layer of stomach fat to see the changes. Cardio exercises will heat up your core temperature and improve circulation, both of which will aid in acquiring a flat stomach. Strive for at least 30 minutes a day minimum, but include 1-2 days of rest each week.
    • Activities such as dancing, running, tae-bo, swimming, cycling, and walking at a good pace will all provide a great aerobic workout. In fact, anything that brings your heart rate up will do the trick! Boxing provides an excellent cardio workout, while the muscles involved in throwing punches will help to flatten your stomach.[8]
    • Try interval cardio training, such as alternating between sprinting and power walking. You can try sprinting for as long as you can. When you become too tired, you should walk. When you feel that you've caught your breath, sprint again. Do these alterations for a total of 20 minutes at a time.
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    Include plyometrics. Plyometrics are exercises that require "explosive power". They combine cardio with strength training. Plyometric exercises are more suitable for experienced athletes than for the less experienced athlete or the older athlete, as there is risk of injury (falls, contusions, tendon injury and sprains). Some great plyometric exercises you can do at home include:
    • Modified jumping jacks. Start standing, then jump up with hands and feet spread apart, creating an "X" in the air with your body, then land back in standing. Repeat as many times as you can.
    • Squat-thrust push-ups. Start in push-up position, do one push-up, then push off with your feet and pull your knees up to your chest so your feet land between your hands (still on the ground in push-up position), then jump as high as you can, arms over head. Squat back down with your hands on the floor, then jump back to push-up position again. Do as many as you can do well with good form.
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    Incorporate strength training to build muscle. Having more muscle will increase your metabolism, so you'll burn calories faster over time. Note that abdominal exercises will increase the muscle mass in that area, leading to a larger look unless you simultaneously follow the previous steps to shed body fat.
    • Crunches work the upper abdomen, leg raises work the lower abdomen, and side bends work the obliques (also known as love handles). About 15-25 reps each day should be enough. If you can do more than that, try adding a weights to your routine. Note that doing crunches will only build muscle underneath your existing belly fat, but will not burn that fat directly.
    • Try using an exercise ball to work your tummy muscles. One great exercise is called the ball exchange. Lie flat on your back, with your arms extended over your head, holding the exercise ball. Lift the ball above your chest, simultaneously raising your legs (keeping them completely straight) off the ground. Place the ball between your ankles, then lower your arms and legs to the floor. Repeat the exchange, this time passing the ball from your ankles to your hands. Do 10-12 repetitions.[9]
    • Try compound exercises like deadlifts with heavier weights.
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    Do the simple three-step crunch. You will have a flat stomach in no time!
    • Lie down on the floor with your hands on your side and you knees bent.
    • Keep your feet on the ground and sit up.
    • Repeat 10 times and increase the amount you do daily.

Part 3
Living Healthy

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    Consult with an expert. Doctors, certified dietitians (not nutritionists), and personal trainers can help you in covering all of the bases you need to to lose weight. Always see a doctor or dietitian first though... many personal trainers will say whatever they have to to get your money!
    • Going to see a personal trainer or a doctor can help greatly because they can give you a diet and exercise plan that will help you get to your desired weight. Working from their guidance is much easier than doing it alone.
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    Don't do fad diets. Eating healthy and exercising are the best ways to lose extra pounds. Fad diets may have short term results, but they'll turn on you after awhile, or even cause serious damage to your body. In the long run trendy diets just make you eat more or in unhealthy and unsustainable ways, causing weight gain. Try eating healthy.
    • Try swapping out one bad food for a good food everyday until you don't eat junk food as your main priority.
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    Never starve yourself. Your results will only be temporary and you will feel frustrated sooner, which makes you much more likely to give up.
    • While you might think that starvation is most effective, in essence it could do permanent harm to your body as well as make it hard to keep off the weight.
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    Be patient! You cannot expect immediate results in a healthy way. Any method that sees fat just "melting off" is also likely extremely bad for your body. The best way to preserve your health and keep the fat off long-term is to take the steps we discuss above.
    • Also, keep in mind: some people find it harder to obtain a flat stomach than others. Natural body shape and your own personal fitness level play a role. What works quickly for some might not work quickly for you.
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    Learn to cope with stress. Many people overeat because work, their family, or other factors are causing them too much stress. Finding other ways to cope with this stress can really help you get and keep that flat tummy.
    • Try things like jogging to reduce stress, or take up a new hobby like boxing that gives you a positive outlet for those negative feelings.
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    Get enough sleep. If you feel tired all the time, you probably aren't getting enough sleep. Having adequate rest helps you to relieve stress. You will feel less likely to go on an eating binge. Develop healthy sleeping habits.
    • Studies have also shown that inadequate sleep can inherently cause weight gain, so get yourself to bed![10]
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    Work on your personal image and self-confidence. Many people eat more food than they need to to make them feel better, because others put them down, they feel lonely, or they don't like how they look. Don't do this! You are beautiful and amazing! When you accept that you are incredible just as you are, you'll find that you're okay with a little softness in the navel region.
    • Don't compare your body to that of others. Everyone has a different body type and no one will ever look exactly the same. You might not need a flatter stomach at all. As long as you feel healthy, that's really all that matters.

Test Your Knowledge

Get a Flat Stomach Quiz


  • Feeling hungry when you have already had enough to eat? Drink a full glass of water, it fills you up.
  • Drink water before and after every meal to feel more full; you won't eat as much.
  • Try listening to music while working out, too! Watching TV or any other thing that helps you keep focused and motivated at all times. Think about you looking gorgeous when you have a flat stomach and visualize it. This will keep you motivated.
  • Always carry a bottle of water with you, or have a glass at your desk-this way you will drink much more and you'll barely even realise!
  • Always drink water! As good as that chilled glass of Pepsi or coke may sound, switch it to water. You'll be glad you did!
  • Be determined - believe you can do it. Think of how much it will pay off in the future; you'll get lots of compliments, look great in all of your clothes, and live a long, healthy life.
  • Eating breakfast every day is believed to reduce weight gain, while skipping it results in extra weight gain.
  • do not starve yourself by not eating, it is very bad for you and can lead to disorders in later life ad if the flat stomach doesn't work out, you are beautiful the way you are and should have confidence in yourself.
  • Exercise and eat more healthy food and forget about junk food.
  • Exercise a lot. If you only work out every two weeks or so, it won't help unless you exercise for a LONG time. Try to make exercise a part of your daily routine. Keep in mind that some people have to exercise more and that's just who they are.
  • Do little and often: aim for at least 20-30 mins of exercise each day but allow 1 or 2 days of rest during the week!
  • Aim for at least 3 days of cardio a week. This will help towards a toned stomach, bum, and legs. The cross trainer is a good example, as it targets all those fat storing areas.
  • When exercising, pop/hip hop music gives you a solid beat to work out to, and playlists give you a set amount of time to exercise.
  • Keep a good posture! It will make a huge difference.
  • Be determined, eat less foods with fat and calories. Exercise daily twice a day.
  • Just think of how good you will look in a bikini.
  • Remember to stretch before doing the exercises, or your body will ache!
  • When you think about eating junk food, just remember what's in it, and something healthy that can replace it.
  • Eat all natural whole foods, cut out processed foods.
  • Write down everything you eat and drink in a food diary or use a phone app. Also include your exercise. This way at the end of the week you can see exactly what you've been doing and which areas you need improvement. Also if you have to write everything down, you're less likely to cheat!
  • Get someone to work out with you so you'll inspire each other. If you can't find anyone, try imagining you are with someone you know, or a celebrity or an athlete with abs you admire.
  • Cook with oil instead of butter. It is much lighter and healthier, and there is virtually no difference in taste.
  • Use honey for your tea, instead of sugar.
  • Take cold showers. It will boost your metabolism and will tone up your body.
  • Don't eat food with starch.
  • Drink a glass or two of water a half an hour before starting your workout. The sweat we lose while doing our workouts is actually a water-loss from our body, which makes us tired during our sessions. Drinking water a half an hour before your workout helps to be more active and energetic during our workout and help in better and sooner results.
  • Take it slow and be patient with your weight loss. It can take some time to achieve your weight loss goals, but once you see results you will never want to stop exercising and eating healthy.


  • Don't go overboard with the crunches. Your body will tell you when you need to rest. Take a quick break, deep breaths, and then continue until your workout is complete.
  • Drinking fruit juice may seem healthy, but it usually contains just as much sugar as fizzy drinks. If you like juice, try making it yourself.
  • No crash dieting! This can lead to malnutrition, irritability, tiredness, lethargy, and will cause food cravings. After you discontinue crash dieting the "yo-yo effect" may take place where you eat more than normal re-gaining all the weight you lost and extra weight.
  • Don't attempt plyometric exercises from the push-up position unless you have acquired good to excellent core muscle control to avoid injuring your back.

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