Aargh, belly fat – and the ongoing desire to lose it. You’re smart enough to know that endless crunches aren’t going to help, that starving yourself seems to have the opposite effect, and that long, intense sessions on the treadmill aren’t bringing out the 6-pack on your abs (only the one in the fridge).
As a pretty fit – and flat-bellied girl, I have to tell you, I was SHOCKED when I started to get that dreaded pooch of belly fat that all my friends complained about. (Ah, 40). But I also knew that belly fat is often a result of changing hormones – and hormonal unbalance – so after a bit of a freak out (see the 6-pack reference above) I got to work researching some of the best ways to lose belly fat. My top 3 tips are below.
1. Separate your fats from your starchy/sugary carbs. There’s some interesting chemistry behind this tip – but the bottom line is that combining carbohydrates with fats creates a tornado of insulin production and fat storage – and makes it extra hard to lose belly fat. So, if you’re having breakfast – have the bacon and eggs without the toast and potatoes. Have your hamburger without the bun. Have your guacamole without the corn chips (I know – that’s a tough one), or eat your corn chips with a (no fat) bean dip instead.
2. Take a walk. A thirty minute stroll will do wonders to help you lose belly fat. And I do mean stroll. Taking a nice leisurely walk around the block or on a trail (better) can help lower your cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Too much cortisol leads to factors that help your body store fat. A walk in nature has been proven to reduce cortisol levels (and lower blood pressure). So set aside 30 minutes of me-time in the form of a nice stroll. Your brain will thank your for the restorative rest and your body will too – in the form of less belly fat.
3. Sleep. Aim for quality sleep here. Belly fat is all about hormones – and learning how to lose belly fat is all about figuring out the best way to regulate those suckers. Being sleep deprived causes measurable changes to your hormone levels (think leptin, gherlin, cortisol, and insulin). These hormones all play a major role in regulating your appetite, your metabolism, and how your body stores fat. In one study, people who slept 8.5 hours a night lost nearly twice as much fat as the people who slept 5.5 hours a night. More zzz’s and more fat loss? What’s not to love? (And if sleep is an issue for you – check our Rest of Your Life program – it might be just the thing you need to lose belly fat).
Have any tips that helped you lose belly fat – or need some help shedding yours? Comment below.