We all hate our belly fat, mostly because it is unsightly; however, scientists also have a special interest in belly fat because it is so different from the other parts of our bodies. The major problem with belly fat is that it is actually its own endocrine organ. It can produce hormones and inflammatory molecules, and it has enzymes that turn testosterone into oestrogen.
In small amounts, that’s ok, but if there is a lot of belly fat and the majority of testosterone is being turned into oestrogen in men or women, the result is reduction in the amount of lean muscle mass created, which contributes to weight gain.
Here are 8 strategies you can put into action today in order to bust your belly fat and lose weight.
1. CUT LIQUID CALORIES
Instead, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, to flush fat and salt from your system and to fight bloat. Add a few slices of lemon or lime to your water for a dose of vitamin C, which helps fight ab flab. In the summer, it is easy to reach for the fruity alcoholic beverages like daiquiris and margaritas, but those drinks are like liquid sugar and alcohol is high in calories, so limit your intake.
2. EAT HEALTHY PROTEIN SOURCES
Make sure to eat some type of protein source with each meal or snack to keep blood sugar stable. Protein also sends a satiety signal to the brain so you feel full for a longer period of time. Balance out the protein by adding some vegetables and healthy fats, to aid the liver’s capability to process the protein.
3. CHARGE UP YOU WORK OUT
A mix of strength training and interval exercises, workouts that alternate high-intensity effort with low-intensity effort, is the best combination for balancing hormones, losing weight and building muscle mass. Gear up your workouts with some outside activity like hiking, rowing, swimming, water polo or biking.
4. FILL YOUR PLATE WITH HIGH FIBRE FRUITS AND VEGGIES
Fibre slows the absorption of sugars from your digestive tract to your bloodstream. Fibre also helps you feel full and aids in digestion and elimination of waste. When you eat a lot of fibre, you help shrink your waistline.
5. BOTTLED WATER
It is important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, but ditch the plastic water bottles. Instead, fill an eco-friendly reusable bottle with filtered water and carry that with you throughout the day.
High levels of the stress hormone cortisol cause an increase in the production of belly fat. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, which slows down your metabolism and encourages the storage of abdominal fat. The abdominal fat in turn starts sending more cortisol into your bloodstream and the whole process starts over again. Learning how to relax is the only way to break this cycle. Find a stress management technique that works for you – deep breathing, journaling, personal time, meditation, yoga, massage, etc.
7. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
A good night’s sleep is important in reversing adrenal fatigue. Not getting enough sleep disrupts our sleep hormones melatonin and prolactin and makes us gain weight. Steps to improve your sleep include: making sure your room is quiet, dark and an adequate temperature; going to bed early; avoiding refined sugars and caffeine close to bedtime; refraining from using the computer or watching television 30 minutes before bed and doing something relaxing instead like reading or taking a warm bath.
8. PLAN AHEAD
A little planning can make a big difference. Spending some time planning your snacks and meals will keep your eating on track and you’ll be less reliant on eating out or grabbing something unhealthy.