The right outfit can pull off a multitude of belly-flattening miracles. Meg Goldman (meggoldman.com), a New York City stylist who dresses women of all shapes and sizes—including curvy Weight Watchers success stories—shares her best belly-flattening tips.
- Choose fabrics wisely. Avoid lightweight knits, Lycra, and other stretch fabrics that highlight and emphasize extra pounds. Opt for woven fabrics (like woven cotton, silk or rayon blends, and lightweight wool blends) that skim the body rather than cling to it.
- Shop for a shift dress or wrap dress. The shift is a great way to show off your arms and legs, if they’re your best assets, drawing less attention to the midsection. The wrap creates a waistline and shows off a beautiful neck and bust.
- Pick tops made of woven fabrics as well. Shirts with detailing around the neckline and accessorized by a great piece of jewelry draw the eyes up to the face—and away from the stomach and hips. Blouses and tops with a small ruffle down the center are good for diverting attention away from the midsection as well. Wrap tops also slim quite nicely if they aren’t made from thin, stretchy fabric.
- Cinch your waist with a wide belt in a dark color. This separates the hips and bust, drawing the eyes to the center of the body. Look for one in soft leather that will mold with the body’s natural curves.
- Experiment with small patterns, like florals and geometrics, which tend to disguise trouble spots. Wear floral tops with a solid dark bottom to slim your lower half.
3. Turn in an hour earlier
You’ll be less likely to overeat the next day. Eating right and exercising regularly help ward off both stress and belly fat, but only if you’re getting enough sleep. Skimping on sleep causes levels of the stress hormone cortisol to rise, along with levels of deep abdominal fat. “There’s a definite association between lack of sleep, increased stress hormones, and weight gain,” says Auburn University exercise researcher Michele Olson, PhD. In a 6-year study, Canadian researchers found that adults who averaged just 5 or 6 hours of shut-eye a night were 35% more likely to gain 10-plus pounds and were nearly 60% heavier around the middle than those who slept 7 to 8 hours. Now that’s a reason to skip Jimmy Kimmel Live!
4. Swap soda for Sassy Water
A nice carbonated beverage can hit the spot when you’re thirsty. But you’ll have to skip the bubbles while you’re on a middle-shrinking mission—nutritionist Palinski says the gas will make your belly poof up right away. Drink plain old tap water to stay hydrated—and make sure you get at least eight glasses a day. One delicious alternative: Flat Belly Diet Sassy Water (the eating plan’s signature drink). The special ingredients aren’t just there for flavor, either: The ginger helps calm and soothe your GI tract. Get the Flat Belly Diet Sassy Water Recipe here.
5. Munch more whole grains and protein
Trading refined carbs for whole grains is not only healthy, it can actually help you shed belly fat, too, according to research from a Pennsylvania State University study. Dieters in the study who ate whole grains shed more than twice as much abdominal fat as those who ate none. Whole grains reduce the production of insulin, a hormone that encourages fat storage, making it easier to lose belly fat.
Add another belly fat-fighting component to your meal by packing in protein-rich foods. In a Danish study of 60 men and women, those following a diet that included 25% of calories from protein lost nearly twice as much fat after 6 months than those eating a diet with 12% protein. Include a serving of lean protein with each meal and snack—eggs for breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch, low-fat or fat-free yogurt or milk for a snack, and grilled fish and vegetables for dinner.