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6 Reasons Your Abs Won't Pop

Even marathon crunch sessions aren't going to cut it if these bad habits are still a part of your weekly routine.

It's not your genetics. It's not your fate. Or your destiny. Or anything else predetermined. Listen carefully: You—yes, you—can have abs that pop. You already know the basics: eat well, move more. When it comes to really shredded abs, though, it's not enough to do the good things. You also have to eliminate the bad. You need everything working in your favor. The solution? Simple. Ditch these bad habits that, even if they're not packing on the pounds, are keeping your abs hidden. Commit to the changes and get ready to welcome a washboard stomach.

And lose up to 16 pounds in 14 days with these 9 Ways to Lose Your Belly When You're Crazy Busy!

Drinking Diet Soda

It's calorie-free, but that doesn't mean it gets a free pass. If you're sipping diet soda in an attempt to cut calories and slim down, new research published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests you could be self-sabotaging. Researchers found that diet soda drinkers take in more total calories throughout the day than those who pass on the pop. Need carbination? Stick with seltzer. Fill up, but don't fill out: Use These Eat This, Not That!-recommended 10 Daily Habits That Blast Belly Fat.

Eating Out Too Often

buttering bread

Although restaurant nutritional info is notoriously inaccurate, you can home in on certain words on the menu to make an informed decision when you place your order: Anything breaded, fried, crusted, smothered, or creamed will likely be higher in fat than something that is grilled, broiled, or sautéed. Don't be shy about customizing your order, either. Hold the sauces—mayo lover, we're looking at you—or ask for it on the side. When possible, just whip up something at home where these factors are entirely under your control.

Being Lazy on Weekends

feet in bed
Staying up late—and then sleeping in the next morning—has been linked to weight gain by research out of Northwestern University. Study subjects who went to bed after midnight, woke up mid-morning, and ate their first meal of the day around noon showed some pretty terrible daytime eating habits: they consumed more overall calories a day, more fast food and fewer fruits and vegetables than their counterparts with an early bedtime routine. So if weekends are when your diet goes downhill, it's time to carry your work week sleeping habits over to those days off, too. Keep That Waistline Toned and Tight with These Essential 14 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 14 Days!

Fighting Stress with Sugar

various chocolates
That candy bar is not the solution to your jam-packed schedule woes. In fact, your never-ending to-do list is likely the reason you're reaching for the vending machine snacks. Stress increases cortisol levels in the body, leading to cravings for sugary and fatty foods according to a study from Harvard Medical School. Instead of hitting up the office candy bowl, reach for one of our 50 Best Snacks for Weight Loss.

Sticking to Cardio

woman running stairs

You've been shunning the weights in an attempt to get long and lean. While any exercise is sure to help you whittle your waist, you might want to pick up some barbells to get that willowy figure you're looking for. Increasing your weight training time cuts belly fat more than upping your cardio, yardwork, or stair work according to a recent study. A weight-cardio combo is best for your figure, so mix up your gym agenda and be sure to log time doing both exercises.


cigarettes in ash tray

Forget those rumors about smoking keeping you slim. Compared to non-smokers, those who light up have larger waist circumferences—we're talking more belly fat and less muscle mass—according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And, yes, the flabby belly is a direct effect of smoking. Do your lungs (and waist) a favor and drop the cancer sticks.

Courtesy of Men's Fitness

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