I’m a 34 year-old guy. I drive a truck for a living. The easiest thing to eat on the road are sandwiches, but I use fat-free turkey, cheddar and a little mustard; along with my 5 grams protein and 6 grams fiber per slice of bread. I eat one sandwich every 2 hours and drink a ton of water. Any ideas about how to flatten my stomach and how I should be eating different? –Matt K.
The short answer is “no.” If you have a considerable spare tire, improving your diet will help reduce the bulge but not make your belly flat. For that, it’s essential to tone the muscles of your abdomen. There are lots of ab exercises you can do at rest areas along your route until you can get back in the gym. Crunches, planks, bicycles, leg raises and ab scissors don’t require any equipment, just a flat surface to perform them on.
And probably the best thing you can do while you drive is to sit up straight and actively engage your core, tightening your abdominals and holding the contraction for a few seconds at a time but breathe normally. This works the deep core muscles of your abdomen, stabilizing the lower spine and pelvis.
As far as your eating goes, I get the ease of repeating the same handheld snack/meal over and over again on the road. But you’re missing fruit and vegetables in a big way! Produce is loaded with nutrients for very few calories. Most finger food options keep in a cooler as well. Try baby carrots, bell pepper or jicama strips, celery stalks, cucumber slices, grapes, and apple slices. Water is of course an excellent beverage but if you can work in some green tea (iced is okay too!) it might help reduce your belly fat.
Don’t eat by the clock. Instead, eat mindfully by having something to eat only when you are hungry and consuming just enough to feel satisfied, not “full.” Employing this technique will help you pay more attention to your true hunger signals. Also called ‘intuitive eating,’ this approach often results in consuming fewer calories as people tend to eat less rather than finishing full portions. It’s like being more fuel-efficient – something we could all use on the road!
- Debbie J., MS, RD
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