Transforming your body doesn’t only happen at the gym, it happens in the kitchen! If you keep piling junk food onto your plate, you can’t expect to get the ripped body you want. Here are some ways to adjust your eating habits to successfully gain defined abs!
Understand How Many Calories You Need
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the recommended calorie intake for women aged 19-51 years ranges from 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day. Men aged 19-51 years of age require even more, anywhere between 2,200 to 2,400 calories per day. Although these recommended numbers do vary depending on how active lifestyle you lead. Nutrition labels are also based on the recommended amount of calories an individual should consume per day, so it’s important to be aware of how many calories you’re consuming throughout the day to reach your fitness goals. You should also keep track of where your calories are coming from. It’s vital to get the proper amount of calories, especially protein, in order to build a strong core.
Avoid Processed Foods
If your goal is to have a flat stomach, it’s time to cut out those processed foods! Next time you go grocery shopping, you will be doing yourself a favor by clutching to the sides of the store (where all of the fresh foods are) and avoiding the center aisles where all of the processed food is located. Keeping fresh foods in the house will promote healthy eating and provide your body with the nutrients you need instead of hoarding it with sugar and sodium that is at times, an exorbinant amount more than what an individual needs per day. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans consume an average of 3,500 milligrams of sodium each day (excluding added salt at the table) while the recommended amount according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommends limiting sodium to less than 2,300 per day.
Focus on Foods Rich in Nutrients
If you focus on foods that are rich in nutrients and eat foods that aid in easy digestion, you’ll be on the right path to getting those ripped abs. For instance, yogurt contains probiotics, which are bacteria that aid in digestion and fight against bloating and constipation. Eating foods that are higher in protein also help keep you feeling more satisfied for longer so you’re not hanging out in front of the fridge more often than you should! Foods that are high in protein are important to keep in your diet in order to build strong abs. Protein helps get your metabolic rate up and prevents the loss of lean muscle mass loss that typically accompanies very low calorie diets. Protein-rich foods include fish, meat, lentils, Greek yogurt and beans.
Foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats- such as avocados – are also foods that should be added to your grocery list. Research shows that dieters who ate foods containing monounsaturated fats lost more belly fat than those who ate less monounsaturated fat even though the caloric intake among both groups was the same. Monounsaturated fats stop blood-sugar spikes that lead to an accumulation of fat around the midsection. Being mindful of the nutrients you’re consuming and which nutrients you’re lacking in your diet is a vital step in achieving your fitness goals.
Meal planning each week will help you achieve the midsection you’re looking for by taking out the guess work! You will most likely make healthier options when something is already prepared rather than heading out to the closest fast food restaurant. By planning ahead, you’re setting yourself up for success! Schedule a day at the end of each week to prepare meals for the following week so you make it easier on yourself to make healthy choices and don’t have any excuse to go out for a quick, unhealthy meal. By planning meals and eating at home, you have better control of what is in and added to your food. By meal planning, you can also limit any room for consuming empty calories – calories from solid fats or sugars – that won’t contribute to your goal of getting ripped abs!
Be Mindful of Late-Night Snacking
If you have a tendency to go right for a bag of chips later at night, you might want to think about going to bed earlier to avoid the temptation altogether. However if you have to stay up late and need to fuel up, make sure you’re making smarter choices and choosing foods that are higher in protein so you stay satisfied for longer. While there is a big debate as to whether or not eating late at night causes weight gain, you can’t argue that the extra calories you’re consuming will only add up each night. It is suggested that if you must eat later at night, eat a nutritious snack one to two hours before you go to bed so your body has enough time to digest. You’re also less likely to not expend those calories you’re consuming late at night as you would while you’re eating in the middle of the day. Before you resort to eating late at night, determine whether or not if you are really hungry or if it’s just out of boredom or stress. While your body does burn calories even when you’re asleep, you burn less calories when you’re catching some z’s.
Getting flat, defined abs takes dedication and work in and outside of the gym. Your nutrition is one of the most important factors to take into account if you want to lose the extra cushion around that midsection! If you give your body what it needs, you will start seeing the results you’re looking for!