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What is a Flat Stomach?

A flat stomach is characterised by minimal abdominal fat and toned muscles, resulting in a smooth and levelled appearance of your midsection.


What Causes the Abdomen to Gain Fat?

A fat stomach results from genetics, lifestyle, and some medications. These factors cause excess fat for a variety of reasons:

Genetics

Some people are genetically predisposed to store more fat in their abdominal region, causing a fat stomach and excess fat around the hips and back, known as love handles. This can be the case even if they have a relatively low body fat percentage. Genetics also determine your metabolic rate and influence your tendency to accumulate fat, including the abdominal region.

Body weight and composition

Being in a caloric surplus (where you are regularly consuming more calories than your body is able to use) consisting of highly processed foods and sugar, combined with a sedentary lifestyle leads to excess body fat. The stomach is one of the most common areas that accumulates stubborn fat as a result of diet and lifestyle habits. 

Medications

Drugs like corticosteroids, antipsychotics and antidepressants can increase your appetite and slow down your metabolism, leading to weight gain overall, including in your midsection.


What Are the Issues with Having Fat Around the Stomach?

A fat stomach can impact your physical and emotional well-being. There are also medical concerns to consider if the weight gain is excessive and long-lasting. 

Physical effects

Having a fat stomach can impair your mobility and flexibility. It can hinder daily activities and limit your physical capabilities. 

The excess weight you carry in the abdominal region can strain your back and put pressure on your ankles and knees. Musculoskeletal issues, like lower back and joint pain, are common in people with excess fat around the abdomen. 

Medical effects

Excess fat in the abdominal region often accumulates around your organs and is responsible for hormonal imbalances, inflammation and insulin resistance. It contributes to an increased risk of developing diseases like heart attack and stroke. Abdominal obesity is also linked to Type II Diabetes, as excess fat impairs your body’s ability to effectively use insulin.

Other health risks of a fat stomach include an increased risk of certain types of cancer, sleep apnea, and metabolic syndrome.

Psychological effects

Excess weight, especially around the stomach, is not regarded as aesthetically appealing in society, which can lead to a feeling of shame and cause social isolation. The social pressure often takes a toll on mental health and can cause depression and anxiety. It can also make people feel less confident to wear tight-fitting clothing and make taking part in activities such as exercise more uncomfortable.


How to Get a Flat Tummy Through Exercise and Lifestyle Changes

Exercise and positive lifestyle changes help you burn excess fat and build muscle to get a flatter stomach.

To get a flat stomach through exercise you need to incorporate a mix of cardiovascular and resistance training.

  • Cardiovascular exercises: Cardio is a highly effective way of reducing fat across your entire body, including the stomach. Experts recommend doing between 20 and 40 minutes of moderate-to-high-intensity cardio exercise a week, such as cycling, jogging, running, or taking a brisk walk. Walking 30 to 40 minutes a day has been shown to significantly impact stubborn tummy fat. HIIT (High-intensity interval training) is a faster but more challenging way to lose weight. You can spend less time exercising, so long as you’re willing to push yourself harder. It involves an intense bout of exercise, such as sprinting, cycling, or rowing, followed by a short rest period, before repeating multiple times. 
  • Strength training: Regular resistance training builds muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more fat your body burns when resting. You can target the abdominal muscles to build them like any other muscle with exercises like Russian twists, crunches, and planks. However, they won’t be visible until you lose enough body fat, which happens via cardio and being in a caloric deficit (where you are regularly consuming fewer calories than your body is able to use). 

Making positive lifestyle changes, like eating a balanced diet, improving sleep quality, and managing stress, also helps reduce belly fat.

  • Diet: Incorporate, protein, fruit, and vegetables into your diet while avoiding processed food and sugar. Eating a high-protein diet with healthy fats from eggs, meat, and avocados will keep you fuller for longer. The body also uses more energy to digest proteins than fat or carbs. Lean proteins like fish and chicken also boost your metabolic rate.
  • Hydration: It’s recommended for men to drink approximately 4 litres of water per day and women to drink 2 litres of water every day. This helps to keep you hydrated and flush out toxins whilst also keeping your stomach full. If you feel hungry due to eating less, drinking plenty of water can help to keep your stomach full so that you’re less likely to give in to cravings. 
  • Sleep: Sleeping for 7-9 hours every night is essential for hormonal balance and regulating your basal metabolic rate.
  • Stress management: High stress leads to fat accumulation, including in the abdominal area, due to the increased release of cortisol. You can manage stress with practices like yoga, meditation and deep breathing. Drinking and smoking can also increase your baseline stress levels so it’s best to try and reduce them or cut them out completely. 

How to Get a Flat Stomach with Non-Invasive Procedures

Non-invasive procedures like Fat Freezing and high-intensity focused Ultrasound can reduce belly fat and contour your midsection resulting in a slim stomach. Some patients wish to choose a non-surgical approach as this doesn’t involve any scarring.

  • Fat freezing, also known as Cryolipolysis, involves freezing the fat cells under your skin, which the body naturally eliminates over time. It’s effective in reducing small fat deposits in the abdominal area, giving you a flatter stomach. The technique is not suitable for targeting large areas, and the results can vary significantly from patient to patient.
  • Ultrasonic Cavitation delivers focused ultrasound energy to target deep layers of fat in the abdomen. It destroys fat cells and encourages collagen production, leading to a tighter and more toned appearance.

How to Get a Flat Stomach with Surgery

The two surgical options for getting a flatter stomach are a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction. Here’s an overview of each option. 

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Abdominoplasty, also known as a Tummy Tuck, is a surgical procedure for excess, sagging skin in the abdominal area caused by weight loss, pregnancy, or the natural ageing process. It removes excess skin from above the waistline and tightens the muscles and fascia of the abdominal wall, restoring a tighter and flatter-looking stomach. 

Abdominoplasty is a common procedure for both men and women looking to achieve a flatter and more toned abdominal area.

At the Cadogan Clinic, we offer a range of Abdominoplasty procedures, including Brazilian Abdominoplasty, Extended Tummy Tuck,  Mini Tummy Tuck (also known as an Apronectomy), Caesar Correction and Fleur-De-Lis Abdominoplasty. 

These techniques target different areas of the abdomen. All Abdominoplasty procedures at Cadogan Clinic are carried out as day case procedures and you will leave the same day as your surgery to recover at home. Our expert surgeons will be able to advise you on the best treatment according to your body type and what you hope to achieve through the surgery.

Tummy Tuck procedures are typically viewed as cosmetic and therefore are usually only available through private healthcare. In some rare instances, where there is a medical concern such as issues with the abdominal muscles, a Tummy Tuck may be available through the NHS.

Liposuction

Liposuction removes stubborn fat that’s difficult to get rid of with exercise and diet. The procedure involves vacuuming fat from specific areas of the abdomen using a cannula. While Liposuction effectively reduces fat, it does not address excess loose skin or muscle tightening.

At Cadogan Clinic, we offer Liposuction for men and women. You can book a consultation with one of our expert surgeons to learn more. 


What Are the Benefits of a Flat Stomach?

The benefits of having a flat tummy go beyond just aesthetics, contributing to your overall health and wellness. A flat abdominal area means you have less visceral fat, which is directly linked to a reduced risk of health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A flat tummy improves posture and alleviates stress on your back. It allows you to be active, engage in physical activities, and improve your metabolic health. The confidence boost you get from having a flatter stomach can also have a profound influence on your mental health, self-confidence, and body image.


Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

While lifestyle changes like diet and exercise can help to achieve a flat stomach, they may not always produce desired results, particularly in cases of excess skin or sdamaged abdominal muscles. In such instances, surgical procedures like Abdominoplasty offer the most effective solution. By tightening the skin and muscles of the abdomen, we provide patients with an effective solution to achieve their desired results. Through personalised care and advanced techniques, we help individuals realise their vision of a slimmer stomach area.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

FAQs

The goal of achieving a flat belly in a week is unrealistic if you rely on non-invasive techniques, diet, and exercise. Surgical methods, like a Tummy Tuck, are the fastest most effective way to get a flat stomach, however, it is important to factor in the recovery time of 6-8 weeks.

Keto and carnivore and two popular diets that can help reduce body fat and achieve a flat stomach. 

The keto diet focuses on protein and fats with little to no carbohydrates. It includes meat, fish, eggs, avocados, and nuts. Once your body is in ketosis, it uses the fat stores as energy instead of the carbohydrates that you were previously consuming. 

The carnivore diet consists of meat, eggs, milk, honey, butter, and fruit. Similarly to the keto diet, it cuts out starchy carbohydrates but it doesn’t restrict carbs. Instead, your carbohydrate sources include fruit, honey, and milk. This diet focuses on whole foods and eliminates processed foods and added sugar which can help you lose weight. 

Being in a caloric deficit is the most certain way to lose fat and have a flat stomach. It involves using your body weight to calculate your maintenance calories, which can be done with an online tool. You can then set your calories below your maintenance and track your food each day. Once you hit a plateau in weight loss, you can reduce the calories again and over time, you’ll lose fat. 

The type of diet you choose comes down to personal preference and choosing one you can adhere to for the longest time is the best option. Although diet helps you to lose excess fat around the tummy area, on its own it cannot help to tone the abdominal muscles which also contribute to a flat stomach.

Abdominoplasty and Liposuction are two surgical options for addressing a C-section overhang. A Tummy Tuck removes excess skin and fat and tightens abdominal muscles to correct the overhang specifically. 

Liposuction removes the fat but does not address the excess skin. Surgeons can combine a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction to remove fat, tighten the abdominal wall, and remove excess skin in one procedure. 


Treatments mentioned in this article



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