It's winter so many of us are eating more stodgy (high carb) foods such as pizza, pasta, bread, rice and potatoes and have started noticing a creep up the scales or a little extra around the middle. Belly fat is a tough area to shift for most people but there are a few things you can do to help trim the tum and in turn feel more energised.
The first thing to do is cut down on refined carbs - highly processed foods like white bread, biscuits, chips, pastries and cakes cause rapid increases in your blood glucose levels which trigger an insulin response. The result is your body stores excess glucose as body fat if you aren't doing enough exercise to burn it off. Whole grains and slow release (low GI) such as brown rice, sweet potatoes and wholegrain sourdough breads are healthier alternatives than the white food varieties especially pasta, bread and sweets. Just try to eat strchy carbs at lunchtime and restrict them at dinnertime, opting for a plate of greens and protein for dinner.
The other change you can make to your diet is to eat more protein at every meal as it keeps you feeling full for longer and your body will expend more energy to burn it. Protein also keeps muscles healthy and the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be and you burn more kilojoules each day! We lose around 10% of our muscle mass after the age of 30, which means our metabolism slows down unless we balance our diet with exercise.
Moving more and being active not only helps you lose centimetres from your waist, it also keeps your bones and heart healthy and strong and improves insulin sensitivity which reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes! Physical activity gives you feel good endorphins and a new study has shown is 3 times more effective in managing anxiety and depression than anti-depressants! Try a HIIT session or go for a walk. Start walking everywhere - at work try to go for a lunchtime stroll or at least get up from your desk every 30 minutes. Walk before or after work and take your puppy or kids with you too!
Any exercise will also help manage stress which reduces your release of cortisol. Cortisol stimulates appetite and encourages fat to linger inside your abdomen. Yoga and meditation breathing has been shown to help manage stress and moods and in turn help reduce belly fat. Swimming laps is also a great exercise to reduce stress and release feel good hormones. When you add exercise to eating a healthy diet you will move further along the path of losing more belly fat. So even if the number on the scales doesn't shift, you will be losing centimetres from your waist which is a huge win for your health and your self esteem.
Hope this helps
Lifestylist Health & Wellness