How to get a flat somach

Are your jeans feeling the strain of that bloated bulge? Is your muffin top more like a panettone? Here’s how to tone your tummy. You'll be proud to wear a bikini in no time.

Flat stomach

1. Don’t eat wheat for breakfast

Wheat converts to sugar faster than any other grain, so instead of your regular cereal and toast combo, treat yourself to a lovely nutrient-rich breakfast of salmon and eggs or avocado on oatcakes. It'll keep you fuller for longer without the bloated tummy.

2. Max the flax

Jennifer Lopez’s trainer Bobby Storm recommends adding flax seeds to breakfast oatmeal. "They help burn off your muffin-top by switching on your fat-burning hormones." If it's good enough for J-Lo...

3. Do as Una does

The Saturdays' Una Healy has one of the flattest stomachs in pop (well, when she's not preggers of course). Her top tip? "Do 100 situps a day". But heed our advice. There is no point – repeat NO POINT – crunching for England if you don't change your diet. You may be building up the muscles underneath but you need to shift the fat for your efforts to show.

4. Chew s-l-o-w-l-y

James Guigan, trainer to Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely and Elle Macpherson, says properly chewing food is the key to a flat tummy. Why? Because it releases all the vitamins and minerals; it stops half-digested lumps of food festering in your gut and it makes you feel fuller sooner. Says Guigan, "it should take at least twenty minutes to finish a meal… chew every single mouthful at least twenty times." Erm, we'll work on it.

5. Quit the booze

If you're serious about washboard abs, alcohol is a massive no-no. Packed full of sugar, it stimulates oestrogen which in turn prompts fat storage around your midriff. Also do bear in mind that the liver is a fat-burning organ, so while it’s busy processing the large G&T you've just necked, it can’t metabolise the rest of the day's calories.

6. Take up Pilates

Pilates is the fast-track route to a flat stomach. It focuses on strengthening your 'powerhouse' - the entire area between the bottom of your ribs to the line of your hips. Buy a Pilates DVD, sign up to a class or if your budget stretches to it, invest in 1:1 tuition.

7. Take it easy tiger

The stress hormone cortisol comes in very handy in ‘fight or flight’ situations but it’s also secreted when we find our blood pressure rising by deadlines, warring kids, traffic jams etc. The problem with cortisol is that it's attracted by fat cells around the stomach so it creates a toxic layer of blubber just below your abs that’s hard to shift. De-stressing will not only eliminate the fat, it’ll make you happier too.

8. Breakfast like a king…

Simon Waterston, the ex-marine who got Daniel Craig into shape for that Speedos scene in the Bond movie, advocates eating in an ‘upside down pyramid’, so the biggest meal at breakfast, a smaller meal at lunch and an even smaller meal in the evening, supplemented by protein and carb snacks (eg apple and nuts) mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

9. Take supplements

Omega 3 fish oils are great for fat burning (as well as improving your immune system and heart health) so if you pop no other pills, make sure you pop these. Elle Macpherson swears by them and she doesn’t look half bad…

10. Wear heels

The quickest fix there is. You can’t slouch when you're wearing six inch skyscrapers – go on, try it. They force you to stand tall with your tummy tucked in – the equivalent of a virtual drop in dress size.