Do you spend most of your time at the beach admiring all of those toned, flat stomachs and wonder why you don’t have one? Belly fat is not very attractive, but it can also pose a health risk as it leads to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. As people age, belly fat becomes an increasing problem, but it can even plague thin individuals who are not sufficiently active. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can tackle and achieve the goal of a flatter stomach and improved health.
One of the main causes of weight gain is an unhealthy diet, and making changes here should be your first step. Obviously, making a point of cutting back on junk foods and others that are heavy in high fructose corn syrup is a smart first step. In their place, substitute energy creating foods like fruits and vegetables. These do many beneficial things for your body and are a great source of fiber, which helps to prevent fat build-up.
Additionally, the type of fats in the foods you choose plays an important factor. The saturated fats commonly found in dairy and meat products only add to the problem. Try and substitute fats that are monounsaturated (e.g. olive oil, almonds, cashews and peanuts) and/or polyunsaturated (e.g. salmon, walnuts, sunflower seeds). However, even these can cause weight gain, so be sure to consume them in moderation.
2. Count Calories.
There are a number of excellent programs available online or as apps for your phone that will tell you how many calories you are consuming over the course of a day. Choose a weight loss goal and the time in which you hope to lose those pounds; the program will then tell you how many calories you can consume per day.
Enter in each food or beverage you consume, and any exercise you do that day, and the program will instantly tell you where you are at in your daily calorie goal. The key with these programs is to use them every day and not exceed your maximum calorie intake.
Increasing your protein input can also help in this fight. It significantly helps to decrease food cravings and gives your metabolism a jolt. Both are great aids in helping you with weight loss, so think about increasing your intake of seafood, meat, dairy products and eggs. Note that the last three contain saturated fats, which are unhelpful, so watch the amounts you consume.
You can also consume protein powder supplements and they serve as a convenient way for vegetarians to increase that portion of their intake, while holding true to their chosen diet. Keep in mind that power supplements are no real substitute for the real deal, of course!
Any exercise that increases your heart rate and causes you to sweat is productive for burning fat. Try to increase your heart rate for at least a half hour five days a week. If you are a runner, you can decrease that time because of your stepped up pace. Even moderate exercise (a half hour, three times a week) will help, but if you really want to deal with that fat, you will require more.
In addition to the obvious suggestions, try and step up your regular activity, like yard work, playing with your children, or going on casual walks: every little bit helps!
An additional part of that exercise regimen is sit-ups, which are great at increasing abdominal muscles. They help to give you a toned look that makes one appear thinner. However, sit-ups need to be done in tandem with other exercises because they do not burn fat on their own, and that is the key in achieving your desired appearance change.
It is recommended that adults consume an eight ounce glass of water at least eight times per day. This fluid intake helps to keep your metabolism active, flushes out toxins, and is great at improving your overall health. You will feel better and thus, more motivated to follow the sort of diet and exercise schedule you require to lose those extra pounds.
Try carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day to serve as a reminder.
One way to increase the fat burning potential of exercise is by consuming antioxidants. Particularly effective is green tea, which includes catechins. These increase the amount of energy your body generates, this making it easier to be motivated and keep on the move. Thus, while everyone consumes water when exercising, it is recommended that you supplement that with three cups of green tea per day.
Getting a good night’s sleep is an important factor in keeping your body functioning at its peak. The more energetic you are, the more likely you will be to exercise. When you don’t get enough rest, you become reliant on sugary foods and drinks to get you through the day and they inevitably lead to weight gain. Fatigue also results in the reward centers of your brain craving stimulation, which leads to ice cream, potato chips, and anything else that you should not be eating.
An excessive amount of stress in your life can lead to bad habits which contribute to belly fat. If you are depressed, you are unlikely to exercise. You may also begin to rely on comfort foods to cheer yourself up and these are almost always loaded with sugar. Stress also releases cortisol, which enlarges fat cells and makes your body less inclined to burn fat. Find ways to reduce the amount of tension you feel and this will make you more inclined to take proper care of yourself.
Most people do not enjoy having extra pounds around their middle and getting rid of them can be a challenge. However, if you can combine determination with some of the suggestions above, this problem can be conquered. The key is to be determined and stick to a diet and exercise program. Do what you need to do to stay on course; a flatter stomach and better health will be yours!