Losing belly fat isn't easy - and unfortunately for many of us, the tummy is the first place those biscuits, burgers and beers tend to go.
Helen Bond, expert dietitian at the Harley Medical Group says: "There is a lot of ‘nutribabble’ out there, so forget faddy diet solutions glamourised by celebrities - there’s no quick fix when it comes to losing weight and getting a slimmer belly.
"The only diets that work are those that are sustainable in the long term, and of course include enjoyment – a rich variety of natural whole foods and less processed foods, in appropriate sizes and moderation."
So how do you lose your belly? Here are Helen's top belly busting tips:
Let’s start simple: Take in fewer calories
By eating a little less and exercising a little more, your body starts to use up its fat stores to get the extra calories it needs to keep functioning properly. Over time, this will result in weight loss and visceral fat (or intra-abdominal fat) is some of the first fat to go. Bye-bye tum!
Take it slow
A sensible weight loss is 1-2lb a week. To lose 1lb (0.5kg) of fat, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories, and it’s easy to shift 1lb in a week simply by reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories a day.
Healthy breakfast is a must
It’s not called the most important meal of the day for nothing. Studies show that people who skip breakfast tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast. A balanced breakfast – say, a bowl of wholegrain porridge topped with fresh berries or protein rich smoked salmon and scrambled eggs - will help kick-start your metabolism after the overnight fast and help to fuel you through the morning.
Give white refined carbs a wide berth
Complex carbohydrates, such as wholegrain breads and cereals, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, couscous and oats may help you lose fat from around your middle. Whole grain carbs are brimming full of gut healthy fibre and B vitamins and so release their energy slowly, keeping blood sugar levels steady and hunger at bay.
Reel in the oily fish
Some early research suggests that oily fish, rich in essential omega-3 fats may also help us lose weight, particularly from our stomachs.
Don’t ditch the dairy
Adults who consume low-fat dairy products, rich in bone building calcium, as part of a lower calorie diet trend to lose more weight – especially around their waist than those who skip dairy, say some studies.
Too little sleep can reduce the level of the appetite-controlling hormone leptin and increase the hormone ghrelin, telling the brain you need to eat – and not always the right healthy food choices.
Pick up a probiotic
There is increasing evidence between the health of our gut and the bacteria that are living in our gut and our weight. If our microbiome doesn’t contain enough friendly species of bacteria and a wide diversity of types, we may extract more calories from the foods we do eat.
Take the relaxing route
We lead increasingly stressful lives, juggling work and home lives and stress can play havoc with our digestive system, weight and health, so where possible try to plan ahead to minimise your stress levels and take time to relax – walks with the dog, yoga classes or a aromatherapy massage may help.
Watch the alcohol
Beer bellies and wine waist are not a myth. Alcohol contains empty calories – seven calories a gram in fact, almost as many as pure fat. And, not only does alcohol increase your appetite, but it can weaken your willpower, too, meaning you’re even more likely to overindulge on the crisps and olive nibbles.
Don't drink your calories
It's not just alcohol that can add to the belly fat, but sugar-laden drinks too. We're talking fizzy drinks, squash and syrup-heavy coffees. Try swapping calorie-laden drinks for calorie-free water and other healthier drink choices; if you want flavour, add a squeeze of lemon or lime and a sprig of mint.