It’s the one part of the body that most of us women put weight on first, and yet it is the one part of the body that we like to try and keep it off, especially in the warmer months of the year when our clothing becomes a little less forgiving!
Belly blubber, love handles, muffin top, we even give affectionate names for when there is a little more there than usual. Yet the truth is that excessive amounts of abdominal fat can actually be putting your health at danger by increasing your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
So here are 5 steps that you can incorporate into your lifestyle that will help you banish that bulge and leave you feeling taut, toned and terrific this summer.
Move it to lose it. Belly fat can be quite stubborn, especially after the age of 26 when our metabolisms tend to naturally slow from their high powered rate they had been working at. So there is no magic diet or specific resistance exercise that will make it melt away. The most important way to burn through existing belly fat is to exercise, specifically cardio exercise. Some great examples are H.I.I.T workouts, spin/cycle classes, swimming laps, soft sand jogging, stair runs, skipping, or basically anything else that gets both your heart and lungs working really hard. This is the best way to shock your body into burning through stores of energy that is has deposited as fat.
Tone it and shape it. Resistance training is also very important for two different reasons. Firstly, and for what might be the most obvious reason, working to tone the muscles of the torso area is going to help give you that sexy definition you are after. Secondly though, and equally as importantly, is that by building your lean muscle mass you are actually increasing the amount of energy your body will need to burn each day just to complete everyday tasks. The more muscle fibers you have in your abdominals and obliques, the more energy you are going to require just to stand up straight, or bend down to pick things up.
Check your diet. In order to reduce and avoid excess belly fat it is important to be aware of what you are eating. As a general rule, avoid highly processed foods, specifically those high in saturated fats, processed sugars, and simple carbs, as these are the types of foods that are easily transformed into fat and stored in the body. Try to eat foods rich in fibre, as these are important for keeping your digestive system healthy, and healthy protein sources as these will provide a more sustainable source of energy, keeping you feeling fuller longer.
Boost your metabolism. Take the time to stimulate your metabolism naturally and you will find that your whole body benefits from it. Ways in which you can do this include;
- Do a quick 10+ minute workout each morning before breakfast, enough to get your heart rate up and your breath working. This not only stimulates your digestive system and gets you ready for eating, it also kick starts your day.
- Drink green tea (up to 6 cups a day) as the caffeine helps stimulate your metabolism and it is also rich in antioxidants.
- Eat smaller meals more often, instead of large meals only 3 times a day. This helps prevent your digestive system from becoming overloaded and simultaneously keeps your metabolism working efficiently.
Incorporate chilli and other spices into your cooking as these have many medicinal properties, as well as helping to speed up your metabolism.
- Don’t be fooled by liquid calories. So many people fall into the trap of reducing what they are eating and upping what they are drinking, which includes so called ‘healthy’ options like ice teas, fruit juices and diet soft drinks. These usually contain massive amounts of calories, in the form of fructose or glucose, and are very quickly stored in the body as fat when not being used. Even the light or diet drinks have been shown to have a negative impact on people trying to lose weight, so opt for water, green tea or mineral water with a squeeze of lime.
Through a healthy and active lifestyle you can both achieve and maintain your ideal body.