10 Tips for a Flat, Toned Tummy

Tired of hiding a muffin top behind baggy clothes or wishing to wear a bikini with confidence this summer? We’re sharing 10 tips to help you banish bloat, reduce belly fat, and tighten your muscles to get a flatter, more toned tummy.

How to Eat for a Flatter Stomach

The foods you eat as well as when you eat them play a key role in the shape and size of your belly.

Eat Several Small Meals a Day

To keep your metabolism efficient, eat five or six small meals a day. This will help you avoid feeling intense hunger that leads to unhealthy snacking and prevent your body from going into “starvation mode” and storing calories as fat.

Limit Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, and refined sugar add bloat and belly fat. Instead, choose complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, and multigrain bread, while focusing on adding more lean protein into your meals.

Eat More Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber increases feeling full between meals, decreases calorie absorption, and helps keep your digestion regular which reduces bloating. Find soluble fiber in fresh fruit, oats, lentils, sweet potatoes, and black beans.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking water is key to having a flatter tummy because it helps you feel full between meals, thus reducing overeating, can increase your metabolism, and help relieve bloating caused from both water retention and constipation.

Exercises to Tone Your Tummy

In addition to eating properly, exercising will tone the muscles, tightening and flattening the midsection.

Cardio Exercises

Cardio workouts like running, biking, or taking an aerobics class burn calories as well as strengthen your abdominal muscles and reduce belly fat. To maximize the results, aim for 30-45 minutes a day, five days a week.

Add Strength Training

Building your overall muscle mass through bicep curls, squats, and pushups will boost your metabolism and shed body fat. Aim for a full body workout to condition each of your major muscle groups two to three times a week.


Planks are one of the most effective core-strengthening exercises that almost anyone can do. Lay on the floor, keeping your elbows under your shoulders and your hands flat on the floor (or rest on your elbows keeping your forearms straight ahead). Then, ground your toes into the floor, tuck your belly button in, and squeeze your gluteal muscles for stability. Your body should be in a straight line from your knees through your back and neck to your head.  Hold the plank for 20 seconds, gradually building up time while keeping your form.

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Lifestyle Changes That Reduce Belly Bulge

Diet and exercise are important, but certain lifestyle habits can slow down your metabolism and cause your body to hold onto belly fat.

Reducing Stress

Stress triggers your body to release cortisol, a hormone that can cause your metabolism to slow down, affect your blood sugar regulation, and your body to store abdominal fat. By reducing your overall stress level, you can avoid the pitfalls that come from continual cortisol release.

Get More Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can slow your metabolism and increase appetite, specifically leading to sugar cravings to increase your energy levels. Plus, continued fatigue means you’re less likely to exercise and make healthy dietary decisions.

Reduce Alcohol

Wine, beer, and liquor all contain significant amounts of calories. Plus, alcoholic beverages can impair digestion, slow the absorption of nutrients, and throw your metabolism out of whack. Drinking in moderation (for women, this means no more than one alcoholic beverage a day) is generally fine, but it’s important to watch intake to get a flatter stomach.

Choosing a Tummy Tuck

For many women, pregnancy, hormones, and genes can affect how your midsection looks, and diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes won’t deliver the tight, toned tummy you want. In this case, we would recommend consulting with Dr. Ortiz, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Raleigh, to determine if a tummy tuck or a mini-tummy tuck is right for you.

During a tummy tuck, an incision is made between the belly and pubic area, and, in more intensive procedures, a second incision is made around the belly button. Excess skin is removed and stretched or damaged muscles are repaired and reshaped. Then, a new navel may be created if necessary, and the incisions are closed, creating a more trim, toned abdomen.

A mini tummy tuck is similar, and commonly chosen by women struggling with loose skin and sagging below the belly button, often as a result of weight loss or pregnancy. A small incision is made above the pubic region, then, like the tummy tuck, the muscles are tightened and excess skin is removed in a more localized area.

Schedule a Tummy Tuck Consultation Today

If diet and exercise don’t help you to achieve the flat, toned tummy you want, we can help you get the body of your dreams. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Ortiz today by calling us at 919-532-2270 or simply fill out the contact form below.