Learn How to Flatten Your Belly

If you're like thousands of other Americans, one of your New Year's resolutions likely had something to do with getting in shape. Dreams of toned and flat bellies don't have to remain just dreams, though.

A new book claims it can give you the keys to a flat and envied midsection. Prevention editor in chief Liz Vaccariello and Prevention nutrition editor Cynthia Sass have written "Flat Belly Diet!" Find out more about the book at www.flatbellydiet.com.

You can get more health, diet and fitness tips at www.prevention.com.

Read an excerpt of the "Flat Belly Diet!" book below.

Get Ready for a Flat Belly!

It doesn't matter what your personal stumbling blocks are: baby weight, killer cravings, or (say it with me) "getting older." Belly fat is not your destiny. I am delighted to tell you that you can, and will, get rid of it. Prevention has found a way to target belly fat that is healthy, real, longlasting, and works for everyone.

Before we get started, I think it's important to do a "gut check." Chances are, if you've plunked down cold, hard cash for a book called Flat Belly Diet, you may wish you had someone else's belly, or wish you had your own belly—from 20 years ago.

I want to ask you to change your thinking. Be kind to your belly. No matter how flat or round, jiggly or rock-hard—it's yours, and it's powerful. It's probably the center of some of your most profound memories. Think about it . . . the laughter you've shared, the romantic dinners you've had, the butterflies you've felt, the children you may have carried. All these set up house in—yes—your belly. And for that, it deserves your respect. Your appreciation. And more than a little love and kindness . . . even when you're struggling to button your jeans.

How do I feel about my belly?

I consider it my core strength, and I love to feel it move, twist, support me as I go through life's business. It's where food (one of life's greatest pleasures, yes?) touches down, and there are few things as peaceful for me as that not-stuffed-not-hungry-but-just-full feeling. It's also my meditative center, and I sense the calm overtaking me when I fill my middle with deep breaths. Then, of course, there's the role it played in my pregnancy with twins. Anything willing to expand to host two precious, growing, kicking girls earns a special place in my heart for all time.

But the belly betrays. If I'm puffy the morning after a sushi dinner, that's where my outfit feels tight. If PMS strikes, my belly moans and groans. When I gain five pounds, that's where it shows. And, of course, when I go to take those five pounds off, that's where they stay.

One of the best things about being editor-in-chief of Prevention is hearing from all of you and learning—clearly and quickly—that I am not alone in my love/hate affair with this fascinating, troublesome part of the body. Many of you have told me that when look at yourself in the mirror, you overlook your familiar, beautiful features, the favorite nuances of your physique. Instead, your eye travels directly to the areas where your fat resides. And for most of us, that's the belly.

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