By Kim Miller and Shannon Dougherty, Fit Mom Diet www.FitMomDiet.com
Photo by Stephanie Heymann
If you have a burning desire to get rid of belly fat once and for all you are not alone. When asked, “What would you most like to change about your body,” our readers overwhelming listed lose belly fat as their number one complaint. Rightfully so, belly fat can be stubborn to reduce if you are not using the proper techniques. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons we have this challenge in the first place.
Perhaps one of the biggest contributors to belly fat is our consumption of processed foods. We live in a fast paced society and as such, it’s easy to reach for fast food. Included in that category is not only the majority of drive-thru food establishments but also processed foods in supermarkets which come in bags and boxes. These food choices often contain little to no nutrition and don’t adequately supply the body with what it needs to function optimally. Fast food also often contains simple carbs, trans fats, excess sugar and high levels of sodium. Calories are not all equal so you have to choose wisely.
So many people are stressed out. You may have heard that stress produces cortisol. Cortisol decreases the body’s response to insulin and leads to increased insulin levels, increasing our storage of body fat. As you can imagine, when we are stressed we also tend to spiral into self-sabotaging patterns like skipping workouts, eating unhealthy food and focusing on a negative mindset. Therefore, avoiding stress can significantly increase our ability to reduce belly fat over time.
Here’s our top three ways to blast belly fat
Eat Whole Foods
Pay attention to what you eat. Fill your plate with fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, healthy fats and lean meats. Aim to eat a balanced diet, ensuring you eat enough protein. If you have never taken the time to look at exactly what you eat on a daily basis consider keeping a food journal. Identify not only everything you put in your mouth throughout the day but also how it made you feel (e.g., tired, energetic, bloated, etc.). Keeping a food journal can be very helpful when trying to identify patterns and make changes. In addition, download my Fitness Pal and enter you food there. You can easily see how many calories you consume, how your macronutrients stack up and other factors such as how much sugar and fiber you have eaten. If you are looking for an easy to follow plan that takes the guesswork out of food planning, check out our 10 Day Flat Belly Plan. You’ll feel less bloated, drop weight and gain energy in just 10 short days.
Get some ZZZZ’s
As we discussed stress is a major factor in losing belly fat and one of the easiest ways to reduce stress is get more sleep. “Lack of ZZZs affects levels of several hormones that influence appetite,” said sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus. Therefore, getting more sleep can help not only reduce stress but make avoiding unhealthy food more manageable. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night. If you are having trouble sleeping consider adopting a meditation practice, which can help calm the mind and relax the body.
It goes without saying that it’s important to stay active. Movement helps burn belly fat, especially any type of aerobic exercise. Try your hand at running, biking, swimming or some other cardiovascular related activity. Just doing this three times a week help you begin to see changes. You can also incorporate HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) into your routine. Not sure where to start, check out some of our FREE workouts at FitMomDiet.com.
While belly fat can be stubborn to lose incorporating these fat blasting techniques will make a tremendous difference. Get started today and you’ll be sporting that healthy, fit mid-section in no time at all.