Losing belly fat is one of the most searched weight loss problems on the internet—and it’s no a surprise why this is so.

One of the most obvious signs of weight gain is a protruding tummy and, unfortunately, it’s one of the toughest parts to tone up. Losing stomach fat is a challenging task that requires careful monitoring of both physical activity and diet.

However, you don’t have to exhaust your energy by exercising like mad or starving yourself just to get rid of the tummy bulge. There are ways to achieve a flatter stomach without depriving yourself of food.

Losing weight is not about not eating and cutting your intake. Many studies have proven that it is mostly about the type of food you eat and creating a balance between the treats you love and those that your body needs to get to work. Here are some pointers.

1. Eat plant-based foods

Plant-based foods are high in protein and low in sugar. Anything that grows out of the soil is a good way to start your belly fat eradicating diet, though you will have to be more mindful in the future about starchy and sugary vegetables and fruits.

2. Let go of ultra-processed foods and sugars

These two are the bane of your weight loss journey. This is why you should read nutrition labels at the store carefully before you throw an item into your cart. When a food has to be preserved for a long time and contains a high amount of sugars and sweeteners, take them out of your menu. It’s okay to enjoy these every once in a while, but bingeing on them is another story.

3. Enjoy a big breakfast of mostly proteins and fat

Rich sources of these two include red meat, eggs, peanut butter and fatty fish. Stay away from cereals as these are very high in sugar and have low nutrient content. The key, really, is to have a balanced diet that offers a healthy mix of carbs, fat, and protein.

4. Don’t drink your calories.

Drinking your calories runs the risk of taking in more calories than what you need per day. Instead, drink plenty of water and limit your alcohol consumption (as they also contain lots of calories).

5. Do strength training over cardio

The common mistake among those who want to lose weight is toughing things out on the treadmill. Health experts say that cardio exercises actually trigger your appetite and will compel you to eat more later. It is recommended that you do strength training routines, instead, so you can build and maintain muscle mass. Strengthening programs also help your joints get accustomed to the stress so you can do more challenging moves once you begin getting lean.

Weight Loss Salad
It is possible to lose 10 lbs in just one week, but it will depend mostly on your body and how you manage your diet. Pictured: A salad with fresh baby gem lettuce, heirloom tomato, toasted walnuts, and miso yaki tofu dressing Getty Images/Guillem Sartorio/AFP