How many times have you said, “If only I could get rid of this stomach I’d be fine.” I think everyone can relate. This is definitely one of the HARDEST areas to get right. But guess what? It actually can be done. It’s not easy by any means, but if you are determined, it can be done. Unfortunately, it takes more than just sit-ups and crunches to slim down your waist. Below are some key tips to help you get that stomach down.
Stress is one of the primary culprits for high levels of cortisol secretion in your stomach. We gain weight in our bellies when our cortisol levels spike. When this happens, cortisol breaks down lean muscle (the type of tissue that burns calories most efficiently) and also holds on to fat storage in the abdominal region. So do yourself — and your tummy — a favor by trying not to stress.
Stop the Sugar
Sugar is clearly crack, and we crave it like no other. However, it’s one of the No. 1 contributors to that extra belly fat! When you create a spike in insulin levels through added sugar, this shuts down any fat-releasing activity of other hormones and then multiplies the fat storing specifically around the belly for most people. Adding cortisol, the hormone that’s released when you’re stressed, to insulin is like pouring gasoline on a fire: the two together — with excess calories — are the real culprits in fat gain around your little pooch. Added sugar is in everything. Be sure to read the labels and take actions, such as replace juice and alcohol with water. Or replace cookies and cake with fruit. Or add more veggies to your fruit smoothie because even though it’s natural sugar, it’s still sugar so you want to cut that fructose concentration with a leafy green.
Increase Cardio and Strength Training
We can’t see that beautiful six pack under a layer of fat now can we? We need to shed it down through added cardio and strength training. When you’re running try and run short quick interval sprints as opposed to moderate speed. You’ll burn way more calories and fat because you’ll be exerting so much more energy. Incorporate more strength training (resistance bands, calisthenics, weightlifting) as well because the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn during rest.
Cut the Sodium
Sodium retains water, and you don’t want all that extra water retention making you feel bloated around the abdomen. Eventually, sodium will lead to hypertension if you don’t cut it down. Try salt-less seasonings, such as Mrs. Dash or All Seasoning from Trader Joes and cook at home whenever you can so you can control the salt intake.
Cut the “Bad” Carbs
Cut those “bad” processed food carbs, such as cookies, cakes, sodas, and sugary cereals and replace them with “good carbs,” such as green veggies and fresh fruits.
Eat To Be Satisfied
Must you have the “itis” (feeling tired) every time you eat? Does every meal have to be Thanksgiving? Eat to re-fuel and feel satisfied, instead of having to worry about how you will close your pants after every meal. This is how you keep your metabolism up and unwanted fat calories down.
What? Eat Fat? Yes, it is not a typo. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it takes good healthy fats to burn fat. Good fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, and salmon. These foods are not only rich in Omega 3’s but are full of nutrients to keep you satiated throughout the day and reduce your hunger cravings.
Take Vitamin C
As I mentioned, when you’re under extreme stress, your body secretes cortisol, which messes with your insulin production leading to belly fat. Vitamin C helps to balance cortisol spikes. In addition, Vitamin C boosts the immune system. There are plenty of food sources that are full of vitamin C, including bell peppers, kale and kiwi.
Operation Pooch be gone. Let’s do it!
Workout Jam of the Week
Fit Tip of the Week
There is no better type of exercise to burn the fat off your body than doing compound workouts. These exercises involve multiple muscle groups to do the work so you are burning even more calories at once. It also ensures evenly distributed toning, muscle building, and fat burn all over your body.
Nutrition Tip of the Week
Start your mornings off and throughout the day with hot water and lemon and or green tea (to naturally detox), ginger, or mint (don’t add any sugar or milk).
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