Try to keep stress at bay as much as possible this month--stress increases levels of cortisol, a hormone that sends fat to your midsection. To keep levels low, try this 5- to 10-minute stress reducer: Take several slow, deep breaths to help clear your mind. Continue breathing deeply and repeat the word "one" to yourself as you exhale. (If you get distracted, just bring your focus back to the word "one.") Practice this for 5 to 10 minutes once or twice a day.
Enlist Gravity to Tone Your Tummy
Using a captain's chair at the gym to do hanging leg lifts is one of the best exercises for your midsection. To do it: Support yourself on this piece of equipment with your forearms, legs hanging straight. Using your midsection muscles, slowly pull your knees up toward your chest and then lower. Keep your back against the seat, and don't swing your legs. For a more advanced move, keep your legs straight as you lift them.
Start Your Day Right with This Hearty Breakfast
Drizzle one toasted whole wheat English muffin with 1 tablespoon infused olive oil (MUFA). Fill the muffin with one large poached egg, 1 slice reduced-fat Swiss cheese, and half of a medium vine-ripened tomato, sliced.
Try the No-Hands Reverse Crunch
Instead of keeping arms at sides, where they can help abs, anchor them overhead to activate more belly muscles. Lie face up with arms overhead and hands grasping a heavy piece of furniture or railing. Raise feet into the air with legs bent. Contract abs, press back into floor, and lift hips off floor. Exhale as you lift; inhale as you lower.