Most women don’t love everything about their bodies. There’s usually at least one thing we’re not crazy about. For many of us, it’s belly fat and the not-so-lovely love handles.
It’s true we’ve moved away from bikini season. So, we don’t need to show our belly anytime soon.
Nonetheless, you still want to take care of your body so you feel great all winter long. If you want to get rid of your belly fat, these are the five lifestyle changes you need to make.
If you want to get rid of belly fat, chances are your exercise routine targets belly fat. This is called “spot reduction”, but it’s the wrong way to lose belly fat and slim down.
Weight loss simply doesn’t work that way.
You can’t target one specific area of your body and only burn the fat in this one spot.
That’s because fat cells are distributed throughout the entire body, and in order to lose belly fat, you need to lose body fat throughout your entire body.
On top of this, how your body burns fat depends on lots of factors like your genetics, metabolism, how active you are, your workout routine and of course, your diet.
Finally, spot reduction is a bit of a weight loss myth because the exercises to reduce belly fat might not actually help you burn calories and fat. This is especially true if you’re opting for strength/resistance training – you might be building muscle, but not burning fat.
If that’s the case, you’re actually making your problem worse: the fat still be there, and you’ll have bulkier muscles making you look even bigger.
So, if you want to get rid of your belly fat, you have to do a combination of cardio and strength training. Why? Cardio helps you burn calories and strength training helps to increase lean muscle, burn fat and keep your metabolism revved up.
And instead of focusing on “belly” exercises, make sure you’re working your entire body.
Learn to manage your stress
Stress is a normal part of everyday life. However, if your body is in a constant and chronic state of stress, this can lead to elevated cortisol levels – your body’s main stress hormone.
Having too much cortisol in your body can increase blood pressure, blood sugar levels, compromise your immunity and make it more difficult for you to lose weight.
So, even if you’re eating all the right foods and doing all the right workouts, if you’re constantly stressed out, your efforts might be doing little for you.
To reap the benefits of a good workout and a balanced diet, be sure to take care of your emotions and stress levels. In short, learn to cope with and manage your daily stress.
This might mean practicing some yoga or relaxing breathing exercises. You can try journaling, taking a break from social media, taking a relaxing walk, or connecting with your girlfriends more often.
All of these activities can help to lower cortisol and increase oxytocin – a feel-good neurotransmitter that can increase feelings of calm.
Finally, if you’re stressed out, don’t include running in your fitness routine. Running can actually increase cortisol levels in women. So, opt for exercise that gives you a good dose of cardio, without stressing you out, like pilates or an in-house workout.
Reduce processed sugar in your diet
The typical American diet is absolutely loaded with sugar. It’s in practically everything, and not just sweet treats and beverages. You can find added sugar in loaves of bread, ketchup, pasta sauce and so much more.
Why is this bad? For one thing, by consuming lots of added and processed sugar, we consume far more sugar than our bodies are designed for. And this overload of sugar negatively affects the body.
All of this sugar has lots of calories and zero nutrients. And even if you’re working out, you may be consuming more calories than you’re burning off. In the end, your body has to do something with all of these extra calories.
So, what does it do? It stores them as fat. So, if you want to get rid of belly fat, you’ll want to get rid of processed sugar, too. It’s not doing you, or your physique, any good.
Eat more protein
Whether you want to lose belly fat, thigh fat or any other fat on your body, one of the best ways to support weight loss is to include more protein in your diet.
For one thing, protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer. It also helps to reduce your cravings for carbohydrate-heavy foods, and the unwanted weight gain from all these carbs.
You don’t have to cut out carbohydrates entirely, but you should think about increasing your protein.
Another great benefit of eating protein is that it increases your metabolism, helping you to burn more fat – exactly what you want your body to do, right?
Another perk to eating more protein is that it appears to significantly reduce the amount of belly fat you have.
Get rid of belly fat the Japanese way
This widely popular Japanese method for getting rid of belly fat might seem too good to be true, but it’s definitely worth a shot. What do you have to lose? (No pun intended!)
Here’s what you do:
Stand tall with one foot slightly behind the other. Place most of your weight in your back foot and squeeze your glute muscles. Then, on an inhale, raise your hands over the head. On an exhale, push all the air out of your lungs and tighten your abs. The exhale should last about seven seconds.
Repeat this six times. From start to finish, it should take about one minute to complete. Do this method twice per day.
Your belly fat might be bringing you down and making you feel bad about how you look. But it doesn’t have to. You can make simple, yet super effective lifestyle changes to get rid of belly fat and feel great, inside and out.