Belly fat can not only affect your confidence, but it can be extremely detrimental to your health too. With the help of health experts, we share 9 ways to banish that belly fat.
Having fat around your middle means it can settle into your organs, and this visceral fat is not very good for your health. Having this type of fat is linked to diabetes, stroke, cancer, heart disease and more.
If you want to banish belly fat and lose excess fat around the middle follow these nine tips to help you on your way.
Eat Whole Foods
Trainer Autumn Calabrese says that it's important to fuel our bodies with whole foods that are packed with nutrients we need to function. Eating processed foods provides little to no nutrients, so keep things natural and cook from scratch using lean protein, wholegrains and vegetables and fruits where possible.
If you need some inspiration, for breakfast the creator of fitness and nutrition programs recommends oatmeal for breakfast with strawberries and almond butter. And if you're looking for a snack pick up fresh fruit instead of eating processed things like crackers or crisps.
Give it time and focus
If you're looking to lose belly fat it's not going to happen overnight, instead, you'll have to be consistent with your training and nutrition. It'll take time, but if you start by exercising at least three days a week and eating healthy and nutritious foods you'll soon enough see a change in your body. It's important you choose the right method of monitoring your progress, whether that's taking measurements, using one piece of clothing as a marker, or taking photos to help you see the difference.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is vital to our overall health and wellbeing, it also has an impact on the foods we eat too. Studies have shown that if you're lacking in sleep, you're likely to eat more calories the next day, in fact, you could eat 300-400 more calories.
We're usually looking for an energy fix too, which means we're likely to reach for something sugary for a quick fix.
Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson says that just one extra hour of sleep could make a difference. It increases the hormone leptin, which works to suppress the appetite.
We know that scrolling through social media is the ultimate procrastination tool, but did you know that it might be wreaking havoc with your waistline. A study found that if participants had a friend who became obese, then their own chance of gaining weight raised by 57%, the scientists believe it's because we see their pictures on social media and see it as normal for them to have gained weight.
Nutritionist Cassandra Barns thinks that addictions to social media cause us to be less active, also we're getting less satisfying contact because we're only doing it online. This could encourage us to comfort eat because we don't have as much of the 'feel-good' chemicals produced in our body.
As much as a healthy and balanced diet affects how much fat we have, it's important that if you want to lose belly fat you'll need to burn calories and build muscle too. Things like HIIT training and strength training can help with this. It's important to target your whole body and get the blood pumping to boost your heart rate to a cardio zone. It's important to note however that you can't spot reduce fat, so you'll lose fat from the whole of your body, which means compound movements that target a number of muscle groups are best for this.
Be more aware of what's in your food
It's easy to pick up the things we're used to eating in the supermarket or even choose low fat, sugar-free or gluten-free in the hopes it'll help us shift the pounds. But in reality, these could be having an adverse effect. Just because something is low in fat doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy, it's usually packed with sugar to make up for the taste.
Low sugar options usually have artificial sweeteners in instead, and these have been linked to mood swings and depression.
Be more aware of the foods you're eating, or just cut out the processed and packaged stuff instead.
Eat the right fat
We need fat to function, just not the trans fat that's man-made. We need healthy fats that come from seeds, nuts and fish, and we also need a little of the saturated fats that come from animal products and dairy. Just avoid things like fried foods and junk foods.
Avoid processed food
We've said it already before, but processed food will lead to excess fat around the middle. It's important that if you want to trim fat from the belly you cut down or cut out processed foods.
Use smaller plates
Trick the mind and your stomach into thinking that you're eating more by simply putting your food on a smaller plate. If you use a really big plate when you serve up your food it's going to look smaller, which means you'll finish and think you're not completely satisfied. Instead, use a smaller plate and take your time eating your meal to ensure it's completely digested.