When it comes to weight loss, many people obsess about diets and forget to make positive and healthy changes to their lifestyles. By looking at your life holistically and assessing your personal lifestyle, you can make permanent and significant changes to how your body looks.

Experts advise that to maintain a flat tummy you need to cut down on processed foods, cook your own food, watch your portion sizes and increase your activity levels. They also add that your attitude is key. These tips will help you kick-start a healthy diet and also have a good attitude to food and body weight.

Flat tummy eating tips

Build some sound foundations. Drink at least six to eight glasses of water and three or four cups of herbal tea throughout the day. Enjoy at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. If you have a sweet tooth, replace processed sugary snacks with fruit or have just a couple of pieces of dark chocolate in the evening or with your afternoon cup of green tea. Avoid adding salt to your food, as it will absorb excess water just when you want to flush it out.

Keep breakfast simple and healthy. Have oats porridge or wimbi or other healthy indigenous grains flour with honey, a slice of fruit and a cup of herbal tea. You could also opt for yoghurt with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of home made muesli. Steer clear of bread and enjoy a bowl of soup or salad for lunch. At dinner, replace potatoes, ugali and chapatti with sweet potatoes, baked plantain or arrowroot. Include lean protein in your lunch or dinner (fish and chicken). Add small portions of wholegrain and lots of vegetables. Include beans in at least three of your meals a week, whether at lunchtime or dinner.

Find time to relax. At the beginning of each day, and after lunch, take just a few minutes to sit quietly and breathe deeply. Let your thoughts come in to your mind, recognise them and then let them gently drift away. As you are making lifestyle changes, think about what went well each day and what proved more of a challenge.

Keep a food diary. Write in your diary your plan for the day and then the reality of what you have eaten as this helps when it comes to willpower and saying ‘no thanks’ to food you don’t need. The key is for you to make positive healthy changes each day. For some that might be adding 30 minutes of exercise a day, while for others it could mean swapping sandwiches and crisps for a healthy soup at lunchtime.

Don’t rush your food. Eating slowly and in a relaxed frame of mind means you will digest the food more effectively, eat less and prevent bloating or wind.

Fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Try brisk walking, gym, swimming or dance classes. This is essential for getting your energy flowing. Combining exercise with your diet changes puts you on the path to a flatter tummy.

The best flat-tummy foods

1.Eat fibre-rich foods.

If you are going to get a flatter tummy, you need to be regular with your bowel movements and you therefore need to eat lots of fibre-rich foods. If you are not going to the loo at least once a day, adding a few prunes to your breakfast cereal or porridge can work wonders. Beans and pulses are excellent for reducing water retention and provide lots of fibre and protein and are also a tonic for your digestion.
Eat a small portion of plain natural yoghurt daily. You can eat this with your fruit such as berries to boost the friendly bacteria in your gut. The bacteria improve digestion, helping you feel more energetic and getting rid of that bloated look and feel.

2.Drink aloe Vera juice.

This is soothing and helps your digestive system function.

3.Drink lots of green tea.

This is excellent for general well-being and for a flat tummy, so include three or four cups a day. If you can, begin the day with a cup of herbal tea or squeeze of lemon juice in hot water. Dandelion and nettle teas are mild diuretics, which means they help to get rid of excess water. Lemon juice is very supportive for the digestion and so is also a perfect flat tummy start for the day. If you can’t function without a cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning, limit yourself to one cup of coffee or two cups of regular tea in the day and have herbal tea the rest of the time.

4.Use herbs ands spices in your cooking.

Cardamoms can help with flatulence while cinnamon aids IBS symptoms. Other helpful herbs and spices include cumin, fennel and ginger. Lemon is good for both digestion and stress reduction. Peppermint is a digestive tonic and it is an excellent drink before you eat, rather than after.