If you’re one of the 32 percent of Americans who want to lose belly fat for good, but have no idea what actually works anymore, you’re not alone.
A recent survey found that 76 percent of people didn’t follow a diet or workout plan last year because, well, there seems to be a fad diet popping up every day and nobody knows what’s what.
So let’s cut through the clutter — these are the 23 out-of-the-box strategies that are guaranteed to give you results.
Pick the ones that work best for your lifestyle and say hello to your skinny jeans once more.
1. Eat an avocado a day
To keep the doctor away. Really, forget apples — avocados reign supreme when it comes to weight loss. They’re rich in monounsaturated heart-healthy fat, and studies show eating just half of one with lunch can curb your appetite.
Slice one in half, sprinkle a little sea salt, and eat the inside with a spoon or top off your salad with a few pieces. Research found that doing so allows you to absorb three to five times more carotenoids, a disease-fighting compound associated with improved weight and fat loss.
2. Monitor your poop
There’s a reason poop is being talked about so much these days — when there’s problems with it, it’s an easy tip-off that something’s not quite right with your insides.
But most people don’t realize that constipation leads to weight gain, so they never consider it to be the culprit behind those tighter-fitting jeans.
If you’re constantly constipated, then it likely means you’re on a poor diet that can also make you overweight, or you lack important nutrients that help keep things moving.
Besides drinking plenty of water throughout the day (don’t guzzle it down in one meal, as that can slow down digestion), eat plenty of fiber-rich legumes like yellow beans and lentils to keep your stool moving.
And don’t worry about bloat or gas — soaking beans overnight nixes that problem.
3. Add medium-chain triglycerides to your breakfast
When it comes to losing belly fat, using any old oil just won’t do.
Medium-chain triglycerides (or MCTs), like coconut oil or avocado oil, are a unique form of fat that require less energy and enzymes to be digested.
And unlike other dietary fats, MCTs don’t get stored as fat in the body; they get burned for energy.
Which means you get a faster metabolism and tons of energy to power-through your to-do list.
4. Drink lots of water
You’ve heard this before but let me reiterate. You have to drink a lot of water.
People confuse thirst for hunger, so instead of automatically reaching for another snack, have a glass of water first.
Most of the time that’ll do the trick, but if not, then you’re in the clear to grab something more filling.
But take note that not all waters are created equal. Mineral waters, while great for helping you hit your daily calcium and magnesium needs, are often high in sodium — a common culprit of bloat.
And coconut water gives you some potassium…but contains 45 calories per cup (and there’s usually more than one cup in a container).
It’s a better bet to reach for standard purified water — and eat a banana if you want the nutrient boost. Or better yet, grab alkaline water, which can help prevent your bones from getting weaker.
5. Leave crunches alone
You hate ’em anyway, so…you’re welcome. Experts say that isolated abdominal exercises, like crunches, are a waste of time.
It’s better to try ones that strengthen your core while burning more total calories. Because if you’re only strengthening the muscles on the top layer of your stomach — which is all a crunch targets — your stomach may end up looking thicker.
Instead, try hanging from a tree branch the next time you take the kids to the park, and keep your stomach tight while you dangle.
Or play with the kids, daring them to roll like a log without using their arms or legs, and see who gets across the living room fastest. Not only will you get in a mini workout, but you’ll also have fun bonding time with them, too.
6. Use pure, unrefined salt
While it’s true that 75 percent of the salt most people eat comes from processed foods and restaurant meals, not all salts are created equal.
Pure, unrefined salts like Himalayan and Celtic sea salt have a much lower sodium count than its refined counterparts and is less likely to cause belly bloat.
Use it when you cook, which not only brings out the natural flavors in your dish (making you more satisfied and less likely to overeat), but also ups your mineral intake.
Because unlike refined salt, which is 99 percent sodium and chloride, unrefined varieties also include elements like magnesium and calcium.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should go overboard, but it does give you the go-ahead to add a little something-something to your next meal.
7. Forget “low-anything”
America has been trying to follow a low-calorie, low-fat diet for 40 years, and where has that gotten us?
To being one of the heaviest countries in the world!
Think about it, the problem is when you cut back on calories like that, your body tries to fight back with increased hunger and a slower metabolism because it thinks it’s going into starvation mode.
Meanwhile, you eventually eat again to satiate the hunger pangs, and likely eat more because, well, you’re insanely hungry. But your metabolism is still operating on that low level, so calories don’t get burned fast enough and they get stored as fat.
This cycle continues until you feed your body regularly (best to have at least three meals and two snacks in between) with real food made from real ingredients. That matters more than the calories it’s made up of, so repeat after us: I will always choose an all-natural version of something over food that’s labeled low-calorie or fat-free.
8. Get more sleep
You’ve heard it before, and again it needs to be said. At least 70 percent of Americans aren’t listening to this advice. Staying up late may make you happy in the moment, but all that sleep you’re skipping catches up to you in the form of extra fat around your middle.
Yes, “me time” is important for your sanity, but “when you’re lacking sleep, your body overproduces the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin. Additionally, your body under-produces leptin, the hormone which tells you when you’re full.
Getting proper shut-eye — seven to nine hours is best, though it varies per person — truly stops unnecessary snacking when you wake up the next day.
9. Plan your dinners
You know that friend who casually chats about the healthy meals she whips up for her family like it’s no big deal?
That’s because she’s planning ahead, and you should be, too.
When you plan an entire week of dinner in advance, you’re way less likely to go off course and indulge in foods that aren’t good for you.
Science backs this plan up. Those who spend more time prepping food at home eat at least eight servings of fruit and 13 servings of veggies each week. And those who don’t tend to eat only six servings of fruit and just under 11 servings of vegetables.
So get into a routine and, after weekly grocery shopping, kick the kids out for playtime with Dad so you can knock out as much work ahead of time as possible.
Clean and slice those veggies, portion out the chicken breasts for each meal, etc. Come dinnertime, there’ll be barely any work before food is on the table.
10. Skip the binge watching
It’s tempting to hang out in front of the TV after a long day of work, but the longer you sit, the more you hurt your waistline.
In a recent study, researchers found that for every hour and a half you spend sitting watching a show — or doing anything sedentary, for that matter — your belly fat can increase by 3 cubic cm.
Individuals in that study who watched a lot of television had a greater amount of fat in their abdomen, including the fat in and around their organs, as compared to those who reported watching little or no television.
So being sedentary might feel good in the moment, but it’s not doing anything positive for your body in the long run.
11. Eat more veggies
Yeah, yeah — it’s what you’ve been told since you were a kid.
If you haven’t realized, here’s why. Going for veggies loaded with dietary fiber — like carrots, peas, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts — will keep you full, promote a healthy digestive system, and keep your metabolism in check.
And that all equates to a slimmer waist and a flatter belly.
12. Cut back on meat
If you’re on a paleo diet, be careful. There’s a chance you might getting too much protein. The average woman only needs around 46 grams per day. A diet high in meat and meat products could cause excess protein to be stored as belly fat.
Plus, too much meat can cause problems with inflammation and digestion due to all the hormones and antibiotics it contains.
13. Spice up your meals
Spices don’t just flavor your food — they also help reduce inflammation and get rid of an unwanted belly.
They help crank your body’s thermostat, firing up your metabolism and burning extra calories and fat as a result.
If you haven’t experimented with spices before, you can always start with turmeric. It gives your digestion and metabolism a boost and fights off cancer and heart attacks.
14. Eat dark chocolate
Who wouldn’t want an excuse to snack on some dark chocolate? Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate — which is full of inflammation-reducing flavonoids — has been found to help get rid of belly fat.
But don’t go overboard: Grab a bar that’s at least 70% cacao and only have a couple pieces a day.
15. Try this odd “carb trick” that burns up to 1 pound per day
If you’re like most women trying to lose weight… you diet, you count calories, you tear up the treadmill, and…nothing.
That’s how 40-year-old Carly Donovan, an overweight mother with prediabetes was feeling…
She did “everything right” and never lost an inch.
Until she stumbled on this strange “carb-pairing” trick and burned away an unheard of 22lbs pounds in just 13 days.
And because of this one simple shift in her eating, she shed pounds and inches from her body without starving herself and without a lick of exercise!
With the same “carb-pairing” trick Carly dropped a total of 37lbs in the FIRST month and she shocked her doctor by completely reversing ALL pre-diabetes symptoms!
If you’re a woman over the age of 25 who wants to reclaim her life inside the body she DESERVES, you should check it out for yourself.