10 ways to get a flat belly

These diet and exercise tips will help you eliminate hard-to-reach belly fat to give you the sculpted midsection you've always wanted.
© Prevention // © Prevention

Maybe it's the approach of another bathing suit season. Or maybe you're just tired of dressing defensively—you know, strategically planning your outfits for the best options to camouflage your belly. But whatever your reasons may be, you're ready to slim your middle—and we can help make it happen. (Click here for 40 additional tips to get a flatter belly.)

--By the editors of Prevention

1 of 12 MIXA

Change your hunger patterns

Remember when you ate a big, rich meal, and still felt hungry the next day? That's because prolonged periods of overeating make your stomach's network of stretch receptors (the ones that send messages to your brain that you're full) less sensitive. Short-circuit your post-binge appetite by eating healthy portions of low-calorie, high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They'll keep those receptors satisfied without directing you toward the leftover pies. (Do you know that the average person eats 580 calories a day in snacks? Click here for 16 ways to curb mindless munching.)

2 of 12 Carrot and celery sticks (the food passionates/Corbis)

Start your day with grapefruit

Stock up on this tart pink fruit. The acidity in grapefruit slows digestion, so you'll feel fuller, longer. And just half a grapefruit packs 64 percent of your recommended daily vitamin C intake. Look for ones that feel heavy for their size with a fine-grained skin. (Slice and segment your citrus like a pro with these tips.)

3 of 12 Grapefruit (Lauri Patterson/Getty Images)

Take your gossip session on a walk

Instead of catching up with friends over cocktails, suggest a reunion on the move—you're likely to work out 104 percent harder if you have an exercise buddy. Suggest a weekly walk-and-talk session or form a friendly fitness club. You'll motivate everyone to get moving while you grow even closer. (Walk off the pounds the easy way. Try one of these 14 walking workouts to blast body fat.)

4 of 12 Women talking and walking (Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Corbis)

De-puff with the roll-up

Hold a resistance band taut between your hands and lie on the floor face up, with legs extended and arms overhead. Pull in your abs, tuck your chin, lift arms toward the ceiling, and roll head, shoulders and torso up and over your legs as far as you can. Keep heels firmly on the floor and reach your hands toward your feet. Pause, then slowly roll back down. Do 5 to 8 reps with 30 minutes of cardio 5 to 6 times a week. (Flatten your belly without a single crunch with this super-effective no-crunch ab workout.)

5 of 12 Man rolling up to a sitting position (George Doyle/Getty Images)

Slurp your way to a slim belly

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that eating a bowl of low-calorie soup before lunch or dinner can cut your calorie intake by 20 percent for that meal. (Get cooking with these 20 satisfying soup recipes.)

6 of 12 Woman slurping soup (webphotographeer/Getty Images)

Make time for cardio

If you want to burn the most belly fat, a Duke University study confirms that aerobic exercise is the most effective in burning that deep, visceral belly fat. In fact, aerobic training burns 67 percent more calories than resistance training or a combination of the two, according to the study. (These 25 easy ways to fit in 10 minutes of exercise can help.)

7 of 12 People in a spinning class (yellowdog/Getty Images)

Eat dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is packed with MUFAs—or monounsaturated fatty acids—that help your body burn belly fat. Dark chocolate is also filled with flavonoid antioxidants (more than three times the amount in milk chocolate) that keep blood platelets from sticking together and may even unclog your arteries. It may also help with weight loss by keeping you feeling full, according to a study from Denmark. Try a chocolate with 70 percent or more cocoa. (Need a little chocolate in your life but don't want the calories that come with it? Check out our flat-belly diet chocolate desserts.)

8 of 12 Man eating dark chocolate (altrendo images/Getty Images)

Try out Spidey moves

Try the Spiderman Climber: Get into plank position with arms and legs extended, hands beneath shoulders and feet flexed. Keeping your abs tight, bend your left leg out to the side and bring the knee toward the left elbow. Pause, then return to start. Switch sides. Do 20 reps, alternating sides, with 30 minutes of cardio, 5 to 6 times a week. For an additional challenge, perform planks with forearms on the floor, as shown. (Exercise is a sure-fire way to cheer yourself up and keep your spirits high. Click here to see 10 happiness-boosting yoga poses.)

9 of 12 Women in plank position (Image Source/Getty Images)

Fight fat with fiber

For every 10 grams of fiber you eat daily, your belly will carry almost 4 percent less fat. Thankfully, there are more enjoyable ways to increase your fiber than scarfing down a box of bran flakes: Two apples, a half- cup of pinto beans, 1 artichoke or 2 cups of broccoli will all give you 10 grams of belly-flattening fiber. (Looking for quick weight loss solutions? Check out these 25 ways to flatten your belly.)

10 of 12 Artichokes (Simon and Simon/Food and Drink)