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What you need to know about burning belly fat

There's so much misinformation about belly fat and how to reduce it that are unrealistic and simply not true. The first

thing you need to know is you can’t spot reduce fat. Diet and exercise are the critical factors in getting a flatter tummy and a 6 pack.

What’s hiding those abdominals is subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fat that's just under your skin. If it jiggles and you can grab it, it's subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat on the other hand is a more more dangerous fat as it wraps around your organs. Either way you look at it, holding onto excess fat around the middle is the most dangerous fat of all compared to fat on your thighs or arms.

When you see someone with washboard abs, they had to burn off excess fat to reveal the abdominal muscles and exercise is the best way to accomplish that. For this reason, HIIT and Tabata workouts, exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously (like push ups, squat jumps etc.), and weight lifting are going to be the most effective fitness strategies for bringing out your six pack because they are the most metabolic. Hours of cardio and tons of crunches are not the way forward here.

Now, while there aren't foods that literally target burning belly fat, there are foods that can drive the production of certain hormones that can trigger our body to store more fat on your tummy. The two most infamous are cortisol and insulin. So, making sure to keep your processed sugar, refined flour, sodium content, and alcohol consumption low can go a long way toward helping you burn off the muffin top. Eating foods high in vitamin C such as citrus and berries can help inhibit cortisol production but managing stress is the key to keeping your cortisol under control.

Chronic stress promotes obesity. A study showed that stress activates an area of your brain that releases glucocorticoids, or stress hormones, which lead to rapid weight gain in premenopausal women. Cortisol is also related to sleep quantity and quality. Get enough sleep every night (at least 7 hours) and speak to a friend or professional to reduce stress levels, and find time each day to relax and meditate, practicing breathing techniques and mindfullness with exercise and take regular breaks and holidays to unwind.

Caloric intake is one of the most basic methods for losing belly fat. When you take in fewer calories than you expend, you will lose weight. Most people consume more calories than they think, so keep a food diary and check the nutrition information on the foods you eat. To help lose belly fat, replace sugars and starches in your diet with high-fibre and protein foods. Choose lean protein sources, such as eggs, nuts, fish and skinless chicken. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. They contain fewer calories per cup than most other foods, and the fiber in them will keep you feeling full for longer so that you take in fewer calories throughout the day. For a snack, cut up raw vegetables and dip them in hummus or Greek yogurt. Add chopped vegetables of your choice to stews, soups and pasta dishes. Snack on fruit and add it to your morning bowl of rolled oats. Replace white bread and pasta with sourdough, wholemeal pasta and brown rice.

A combination of eating wholefoods, portion control with regular exercise and managing your stress will not only make you burn belly fat, it will affect your mood, weight management and mental health in a positive way for life!

Hope this helps


Lifestylist Health & Wellness

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