How to lose belly fat

The hardest type of fat to lose is belly fat. But, it’s 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 utmost importance. Thankfully, due to science we know more than ever about belly fat and why we have it. This blog post will look at ways to decrease your belly fat. 

The cortisol connection

In women there is thought to be 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. Especially now days as many Mums are working Mums so have the added stress of running a family and a job. 

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, such as meditation and yoga. By including exercise and meditation as part of your daily routine, you are bound to feel less stressed and ready for the day ahead. Build these habits into your mornings to help your reduce stress. 

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 high nutrient food, organic foods. You can eat a larger volume of food when you seek to limit processed foods and stick to whole foods.

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 fizzy drinks (diet or not) and limit alcoholic beverages. Instead, drink fresh ionized filtered water, about eight glasses per day. If you feel the need for something sweet, eat fruit - don’t drink it.

Do aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise will not only help you lose weight, combat stress, and burn calories, but it is 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. The only way to truly burn fat is also through aerobic exercise such as; cardio machines, spinning, running, swimming, walking, hiking, aerobics classes, dancing, cross country skiing, and kickboxing.

Eat regularly 

Eat your largest meal in the morning and eat less as the day progresses. Your last meal of the day be your lightest. It's best to be prepared. Prep your food the night before, so then you can just grab it and go off on your busy day. 

Eat anti-inflammatory foods

Belly fat is often increased due to eating foods that cause can inflammation. Here are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods that you can eat instead:

* Beets
* Berries
* Dark leafy greens
* Garlic
* Ginger
* Nuts
* Onions
* Peppers
* Salmon
* Tart cherries
* Tomatoes
* Turmeric
* Whole grains

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.

Height to waist ratio

There is a test health care providers use to determine an issue with belly fat which is called the height to waist circumference ratio. This number turns out to be a more accurate indicator of health. You get the number by dividing your waist circumference by your height:

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If you’re under 40 and your waist to height ratio is 0.5 or higher, you are considered to be very unhealthy and it is critical that you get help for your weight issue.

If you’re 40 to 50 years old, then you should not be over 0.55 and if you’re over 50, then you should not be over 0.6. If you are above those ratios, seek immediate medical evaluation from your GP, and start a plan to reduce your waist circumference. 

If you'd like to get started on a nutrition and exercise program with PTV Personal Training contact us today. We'd love to help. 

Author:  Vanessa Geraghty McGann - Owner & Master Trainer - PTV Personal Training & Wellness Coaching.