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Have you done thousands of crunches only to be asked how far along you are? Does seeing your feet in the shower seem like an impossible dream? Does your favorite t-shirt make you feel like a stuffed sausage? Well you’re in luck, because losing the belly fat has never been easier. Whether you’re looking to lose a few inches in the waist or a spare tire, following these tips will ensure that you won’t be qualified for that job as a mall Santa.
Almost everyone has those days when their waistband seems a little tight. Yet for some, those days are a regular occurrence. While belly fat can serve as a drink rest or flotation device, carrying a little extra around the middle can actually be dangerous. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but the risk of premature death increases with waist circumference. Belly fat has also been linked to diabetes and heart disease. If that doesn’t provide a little motivation then visualize that rockin’ body you’ll sport at the beach.
First and foremost, stress less. Yes, your fantasy football team is taking a nosedive and those pesky bills are piling up, but stress causes a rise in cortisol. Deep stomach muscles have a massive amount of cortisol receptors. So chronic stress can lead to an increase in belly fat. How do you eliminate stress? One proven way to reduce stress is meditation. While you’re probably thinking that sitting around was what got you to this point, meditation requires more than sitting in silence. Find a nice, quiet place and sit on the floor cross-legged or even lie flat on your back with your palms up. Close your eyes softly and breathe deeply in and out through your nose. Focus on your breath. When other thoughts pop up, acknowledge them, let them go, and bring your attention back to your breath. Try this for 10 minutes at first, perhaps working your way up to 30 minutes. If your home isn’t exactly exuding peace and quiet, consider yoga. There’s no need to be able to twist yourself into a pretzel or even touch your toes to reap the calming benefits of a yoga practice. Restorative yoga is perfect for beginners and should be relatively embarrassment-free. Taking a yoga class once a week can work wonders for those belly bulking cortisol hormones.
You knew this was coming, but the best way to rid yourself of the belly fat is exercise. You might be groaning, but exercise doesn’t necessarily mean slaving away on the treadmill. Any form of vigorous cardiovascular exercise for at least a half an hour four or five days per week will do the trick. Abdominal exercises are great, but you have to lose the fat first and the only way to get rid of that muffin top is cardio. Live on the edge and try a variety of activities until you find one that’s right for you. Head to the local gym and take a kickboxing class, try spinning, shake it in Zumba, take a swim, or even take regular brisk walks, preferably on an incline. Just do something to get that heart rate up. Try to be active during the day as well. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, play with the kids, rake some leaves, take a walk on your lunch break, just keep on moving.
Once you’re on target with the cardio, it’s time to whip those abdominal muscles into shape. While you may not be able to see them just yet, they are there. Be sure to incorporate ab exercises that target every part of the belly, from the pooch to the love handles. Exercise balls are a savior because they throw the body off balance making the muscles work harder to perform the moves. Find abdominal moves that work for you and keep them in your repertoire to demolish a pot belly. Also be sure to incorporate strength training into your life two to three days per week to help you firm up everywhere.
Another groan may be coming on, but nutrition plays an important role in nixing that belly jiggle. But hey, everything in moderation. There’s no need to go on the supermodel diet or miss mom’s home cooking. Instead it’s about portion control and healthy choices. First on the list is fiber. Aim for 10 grams of soluble fiber per day. Whole grains, vegetables, beans, and apples are all tasty options. Also be sure to include monounsaturated fats into your diet, such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and a handful of almonds or cashews. Though fat has been deemed the Darth Vader of foods, monounsaturated fats are actually healthy and can help blast belly fat. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild salmon, flaxseed, and tuna help in the belly fat department too. Green vegetables are a free for all, as the calorie content is so low. Add some color to your dishes by complementing them with veggies such as sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, green peppers, and carrots to ensure that you’re getting all of your nutrients. Low fat dairy is helpful in moderation. Greek yogurt and skim milk can help you lose belly fat while getting calcium. Lean proteins, such as grilled chicken, egg whites, and fish are an important part of any diet. Stay away from white sugar and flour, over-processed foods, soda, high fructose corn syrup, and anything with extremely long ingredient lists.
Last but not least, get enough sleep. Maintaining a healthy weight requires about seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Those who sleep too little or too much tend to hold onto more fat in their belly and also have higher cortisol levels. Not that anyone needs another excuse to hit the snooze button, but this one is scientifically proven. Getting enough shut-eye helps you lose weight, increases your energy, and improves your overall sense of well-being. So get on track today to banish the belly bulge and reveal a slimmer more confident you.
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write by Aylmer