Having This One Trait Could Be the Secret to Getting a Flatter Stomach

Getting the six-pack you’ve always dreamed of could come down to one simple personality trait, research says.

absprogressman/ShutterstockGood news, dieters: Your days of calorie-counting and intense exercising are (practically) over. Sure, we don’t dispute the fact that healthy eating is one of the keys to flattening your belly. But what if we told you that you can bust belly fat without exercise or dieting?

According to a recent study, extremely mindful people—or those who stay in the moment and focus on one task at a time—have significantly less belly pooch than those who are less attentive.

The study, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, evaluated almost 400 male and female participants with an average age of 47. Researchers measured the participants’ body mass index and the amount of fat on their hips and stomachs, and then gave them a 15-question questionnaire to determine their score on a Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Their overall mindfulness ranking was calculated by averaging those responses; a score of one indicated low levels of mindfulness, while a score of six indicating high levels of mindfulness. After controlling for other lifestyle variables, like age, sex, and smoking, the study authors compared the participants’ scores with their body fat and weight measurements.

Overall, those who scored higher on the Mindfulness Scale had less flab than their unmindful counterparts, the researchers reported. They believe that paying attention to the body’s responses while eating (and savoring each bite!) is the secret to their subjects’ slim waistlines. In addition to eating healthier foods, attentive people are also more likely to stop eating once they reach a comfortable level of fullness instead of mindlessly stuffing themselves. That helps them lose weight fast—and keep it off, too. Learn more about what mindful eaters do at every meal.

One important note, however: Although the results reveal a correlation between mindful eating and lower body fat, they don’t necessarily prove that one causes the other. According to the study authors, further research is necessary before we know how and why attentiveness could be such an effective weight loss tool. Until then, these ab exercises can flatten your belly without a single crunch.

[Source: Women’s Health]

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.