The hardest type of fat to lose is belly fat. But, its the most important fat to lose. Belly fat can be a sign of poor cardiovascular health and can signify (years before it happens) potential onset of diabetes, heart attack, and even colon cancer. Getting belly fat under control is of the utmost importance.
Thankfully, due to science, we know more than ever about belly fat and why we have it.
The Cortisol Connection
In women, there is talk about a connection between cortisol levels and waist circumference.
The stress many women have in their lives tends to make them produce more cortisol which tends to force them to store extra fat around their bellies.
This is the muffin top or even beer bellies that you often see in otherwise thin women aka “skinny fat.”
1. Reduce Stress
It is critical that women with excess belly fat (compared to body fat) find ways to reduce their stress levels.
One way to do that is to find ways to get some “me time” through exercise or other stress reducers like meditation or yoga. They can help reduce stress, increase motivation and sometimes gives a boost of energy not unlike caffeine.
2. Avoid Processed Foods
Whether it’s diet food or out and out bad food, it’s best to avoid processed food of all kinds.
Sticking as close to nature as possible to get the nutrient-dense foods that your body needs will do a lot to help you because your body will be getting the vitamins and minerals it needs to repair itself.
Think low calorie, high nutrition. You can eat a larger volume of food when you seek to limit processed foods and stick to whole foods.
3. Drink Plenty of Water
The truth is the only beverage that anyone should be drinking is water, and some green tea (assuming you can have the caffeine). Don’t drink fruit juice or soda (diet or not) and limit alcoholic beverages.
Instead, drink fresh filtered water, about eight glasses per day. If you feel the need for something sweet, eat fruit – dont drink it.
When you pick a fruit off the tree rarely are you going to have five or six in one sitting (as in that glass of fruit juice), you’re more likely to have one or two with all the fiber attached to it.
Aerobic or strength training exercises will not only help you lose weight, combat stress, and burn calories, but they’re also very good for your cardiovascular system.
Since belly fat plays havoc on the cardiovascular system, it’s important to find a way to improve your heart health.
You can do strength training or aerobic exercises to get that heart muscle fit for life. No need for a gym membership or fancy equipment. Some resistance bands or small weights or even body weight are good enough to get going.
5. Eat Regularly
Eat your largest meal in the morning and eat less as the day progresses. Let your last meal of the day be your lightest.
There are some theories about eating only during daylight but this is usually very hard to do in today’s busy life that women live with work, kids, family, volunteering and more.
Intermittent fasting has been a trend with positive results that might work for some as long as you are consistent.
6. Eat Anti-inflammatory Foods
Belly fat is often increased due to eating foods that cause can inflammation. These are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods to eat instead:
- Dark leafy greens
- Dark Chocolate
- Tart cherries
- Whole grains
7. Get Enough Sleep
There is a big connection between lack of sleep and being overweight, including having excess body fat around the belly.
Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. The best way to find out how much you need is to keep going to bed earlier and earlier until you can wake up naturally in the morning at the time you need to get up for work without an alarm.
Even women who are of normal weight but who have round bellies have higher death rates than women who are overweight but do not have excess belly fat.
Ultimately, it’s up to you on what it’s important for you as far as your health is concerned. By following the above tips, fat loss will be a welcomed by-product of just eating and living a healthy lifestyle.