Do you have excess belly fat or are unable to zip up your skinny jeans because your tummy is sagging? Did you know that abdominal fat is a precursor of diabetes, insulin resistance, cancer, and heart diseases? Your bulging middle section can be a sign of one of these diseases, some of which are fatal. It's time for you to pay attention to your body, pull together all of your willpower, and take the next steps to get rid of your belly. But firstly, let's find out which type of belly fat you have.
- Beer Belly. Simple as that: you booze, you don't lose. Most of us enjoy a beer after a long day at work. But when one beer or one glass of wine lead to 3-4 and more, you start acquiring fat on your waistline. Pure alcohol contains 7-9 calories per gram, while carbs and protein contain about four calories per gram, and fat contains nine calories per gram. Your body stores carbs in the form of glycogen, the type of sugar you get from a carb breakdown. It is safely kept in your liver and muscles.
To lose the beer belly, you need to tone down the drinking, and if you let yourself go at it every Friday night, cut down your carb consumption during the day instead, and try to be more active during the week.
- Post-pregnancy or mummy belly: it's normal to have belly fat after you give birth and it’s supposed to gradually disappear within 3 to 6 months. It takes about 4 weeks for your womb (uterus) to contract to its pre-pregnancy size. All the cells in your body that swelled up during pregnancy will begin releasing their fluids in the form of urine, vaginal secretions, and sweat. And any extra fat you put on to nourish your baby will start to come off, especially if you're breastfeeding and exercising. But it takes at least a few weeks to see noticeable results. I suggest to:
Be patient with your body.
Eat a balanced breakfast.
Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Eat fiber-rich foods, lentils, and grains.
Eat healthy fats such as nuts, avocado, olive oil, seeds
Watch the number of snacks you consume between meals.
Walk more, but don't rush into the gym to do hard cardio and bodyweight workouts. Focus on exercises for the pelvic floor. Your body needs time to restore itself after pregnancy.
- Stress Belly: According to Jackie Wicks, co-author of the book Cheats & Eats: Lifestyle Programme, cortisol, the stress hormone, leads to accumulation of abdominal fat. Stress decreases leptin, a satiety hormone, and increases your cravings. High levels of anxiety can send the body into survival mode and direct it to store more fat. Try to sleep more, avoid caffeine, and focus on meditation, relaxation, and brisk movement. Get an aroma massage in the evening or take a hot shower to calm your mind down.
- Hormonal Belly: Your hormones could be the reason for your bulging belly. Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone can cause weight gain. High estrogen levels increase insulin, lead to sugar cravings, and cause more fatty tissue growth around your midsection. That's why you might crave salty and sugary foods when you have PMS. Besides, you might find it difficult to sleep at night, to control mood swings, and to stop snacking. The main goal is to change your diet habits and take care of your liver, which metabolizes estrogens. Try including probiotics to your diet, as regular stool helps detox your body and get rid of the extreme amounts of estrogen. Add insoluble fiber (the skins of fruits and vegetables, seeds, dried beans, and whole-grain foods). Go organic and avoid soy. Consume phytoestrogenic foods such as pomegranate, flaxseed, pears, apples, berries, wheat germ, oats, and barley. Eat enough of vitamins such as zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, B12.
- Bloated Belly: Did you notice that you get bloated after eating certain types of foods such as dairy, gluten, eggs, lentils, or after black coffee? Food categories such as lactose, fructose, eggs, wheat, and gluten are associated with many digestive symptoms, including bloating. Also, eating too many processed foods leads to belly bloating and inflammation. Here is the solution! Consume more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, which are rich in antioxidants and contain anti-inflammatory properties. Drink more water with lemon, stick to small portions (250-350g), and chew your food slowly.
Girl, whatever the reason for your belly fat, it can be a precursor to lots of diseases. Also, it makes you feel uncomfortable and disrupts your confidence. Who doesn’t want to wear a tight dress? Once you get rid of extra fat, your body image and overall feeling will be restored. Take care of your health and start changing your eating today.