Belly Fat. Its a bad word these days. People think its ugly and doctors tell us its unhealthy. In fact, belly fat has been called the most dangerous fat in our bodies and is linked to more health related problems, than say, just regular old cottage cheese legs. This is because, for the most part, that fat is crowded around our internal organs and forces them to work harder and in some cases it changes the way those organs function completely. Ideally a woman's waist measurement should not be more than 31 inches.
Here are a few tips, to help keep you on your New Year's resolutions to shrink that belly this year:
- Increase protein intake- time after time, studies show that protein helps the body feel fuller, does not convert easily to fat, and does not raise blood sugars. Aim for 25-30g per meal. Try adding protein shakes between meals and add lean meats, seafood, and eggs to your meal times. Protein in the diet also helps the body utilize fat stores for energy
- Increase Water- water never gets enough credit. Drinking water helps flush the body of toxins. It also helps the body get rid of excess water! So, if you are retaining water and feel puffy, drink more! Drink 6-8 glasses of pure filtered water every day. You'll start to see a difference in that belly bloat.
- Decrease fatty and processed foods- this almost goes without saying, that french fries, nuggets and burgers are no good for your waist line. Not only do these foods contribute to belly fat, by directly adding fat to the diet, but they are also hard to digest and process and may make the belly puffier than it already is. Treat your body right by removing obvious toxins in the diet. Your heart will thank you as well!
- Decrease stress and stimulants (caffeine)- Cortisol is an important stress hormone in the body. Unfortunately, too much of it has a negative effect on how our body regulates insulin, blood pressure and immune function. Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands which are also stimulated by caffeine or other "energy" type products. The problem with over-stimulating the adrenal glands, is adrenal burn out. This makes it very hard for people to lose weight when their adrenals are too fatigued. It is important to find ways to reduce stress in your life, by meditation, music, prayer, pets, yoga, exercise, or any number of stress management techniques.
- Burn some Calories- Exercise is an obvious mention here, but any activity over the normal amount you get will help. Little steps add up. Start slowly; walking for 10-15 min a day. Increase your time and distance. Take a class. Join a gym. Swim. Ride a bicycle. Hike. Dance. Anything that gets you moving is a good start. The important thing is that you do something. Belly fat isn't going to just walk away on its own, you have to help it on its way.
These 5 small steps are easy to do, and over time will help decrease the amount of fat in your midsection. Try not to be overwhelmed by the hype of spot reducing dietsor gadgets that don't work. One foot in front of the other. Daily choices to a better you.