Banish Belly Fat - 5 Ways!

Are you an apple shape with excess belly fat or a pear with wide hips and thighs?  The good news is that an overwhelming majority of people who lose weight, lose it in the abdominal region first.

Here are five tips to help you banish belly fat once and for all!

TIP ONE: Eat More Whole Grains
A recent study found that including more whole grains in your diet might do the trick. Participants with the highest whole grain intake (3 servings daily) wound up with an average one inch smaller waist circumference compared to those with the lowest intake. This study compared whole the grain versus refined grain intake of 2,834 adults. Sources of whole grains were dark bread, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals and oatmeal. Pasta, english muffins, and white bread topped the charts of the refined grains. Researches found that those with the highest intake of whole grains had the least amount of visceral or belly fat. They concluded, eating a diet rich in whole grains helps improve insulin sensitivity, ultimately reducing belly fat deposition.

TIP TWO: Control Portion Sizes
Portions and Servings are not created equal. A portion is the amount of food on your plate. A serving is a specific amount of food defined by a standard measurement (IE: ounces). When preparing your own meals at home, reduce portion sizes. When dining out, share meals, or eat half and take the rest home in a doggy bag. Refer to the chart at right to help you determine how many servings (not portions) of each food group you should be consuming. Remember, you can easily consume two or three servings in a single portion.

TIP THREE: Eat More Healthy Fat
Over the last decade we've heard a lot about "healthy fats". In a new book, The Flat Belly Diet, the author suggests you can lose belly fat by eating a 1,600-calorie diet rich in monounsaturated fats, the type of fat found in nuts, avocados, chocolate and canola oil. Buyer beware, even healthy fats have to be controlled, as it is easy to overeat at 9 calories per gram, which can undermine the benefits by packing on the pounds.

TIP FOUR: Reduce Stress
Monkeys fed an American diet get fat -- but those under chronic stress put on much more belly fat, found Carol A. Shively, PhD at Wake Forest University in a two-year study. During the years of the study, stressed monkeys had high levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Over time, high cortisol levels cause belly fat to accumulate, as well as making individual fat cells get larger. Find ways to reduce stress in your daily life. Activities such as meditation and deep breathing work wonders.

TIP FIVE: Exercise
Endless crunches every day won't flatten your belly if you need to lose weight. But if your abdominal muscles aren't buried in excess fat, toning can help you look tighter and thinner. But spot exercises won't banish belly fat.  Experts agree, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you must eat a healthy, calorie-controlled diet and get regular exercise. And the harder you exercise, the more belly fat you may lose. People who engage in high-intensity aerobic exercise, such as Kettlebell Fitness Training, tend to be leaner around the abdomen.

More whole grains, portion control, healthy fats, stress reduction, and more exercise - these are 5 simple tips to get your belly flat for summer!