You’ve tried everything – fasting, deliberate starvation, water therapy and beans-only diet – but that potbelly does not seem to budge.
You have invested in some weight loss pills and herbs, but that waistline seems to be growing wider each day. Indeed, no matter what diet you follow and what exercise you do, you can’t seem to get rid of your paunch.
You are not the only one. The battle of the bulge is one of the biggest dietary challenges of the 21st century, according to experts.
The belly is the part from which most people would want to lose fat; but, sadly, it is often the last area to give way in the race to reduce body weight.
Beating the belly bulge as you grow older almost seems impossible and frustrating. However, Chief Cardiologist with Memphis Heart Centre, United States of America, Dr. James Arthur, says you must not give up for the sake of your health and longevity.
Arthur states that excess belly fat is more dangerous than excess fat around the hips and thighs.
He says, “Belly fat can lead to serious health problems. Studies and research have proven that excess fat in the abdominal area could result in a constellation of killer diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.”
The physician adds that though being overweight is hereditary, poor lifestyle choices is the major reason why many could not fight accumulating fat in their abdominal area.
As impossible as it seems, though, you can shed that bulging belly without breaking the bank. Health and Fitness Instructor, Jo Mattew, in her book, Bust the Belly, gives some stress-free lifestyle changes that can help you achieve your goal of possessing a flat tummy. Here are some:
Get more sleep
Getting enough sleep is very important if one is looking to beat the bulge. Studies have shown that people who don’t get the recommended eight hours of sleep eat more than those who do get the recommended eight hours sleep.
Mattew says, “This happens because of the impact of sleep on your hormones, in particular your hunger hormone, ghrelin. The higher your ghrelin levels are, the hungrier you become. Sleep works as a reset for your hormones; so, if you don’t get enough sleep, then your hormones will be out of balance.”
Relaxation is essential if you want to slim down your mid-section. Most people lead extremely stressful lives, which have a negative impact on hormones, and in turn, their weight.
The fitness expert notes that the hormone, cortisol, which increases with stress levels, could increase accumulation of belly fat.
She states, “Just behind the abdominal wall, you have an organ called the greater omentum. One of its jobs is to soak up cortisol. When you are stressed, you produce more cortisol and the organ soaks the hormone and it keeps getting bigger and your tummy keeps bulging.”
Ditch processed foods
Processed foods are full of toxins that are harmful to the body. The liver’s job is to detoxify them from your body, but ingesting toxins on a regular basis won’t help the liver to do its job effectively.
Mattew adds, “It means that there will be more toxins that the liver cannot work on. When this happens, they need to be stored in the body. Unfortunately, the toxins are stored in your fat cells and, in particular, an organ behind your abdomen called the greater omentum. This is the reason people have a hard pot belly rather than it being soft and flabby.
“If you are losing weight but struggling to lose the hard bulging belly, then you need to clean up your diet and eat organic foods.”
Cut out alcohol
Alcohol is a toxin, experts warn. Just as eating toxic foods will lead to your greater omentum enlarging and your pot belly growing, so will drinking alcohol.
Alcohol dehydrates the body, which again slows down fat loss. It contains a massive amount of calories; and while alcohol is in your system, you will struggle to burn fat, as your liver is busy detoxifying alcohol rather than burning fat.
Drink more water
Water is essential in the battle to beat the belly bulge. For a start, 75 per cent of your body is made up of water. That fact alone should make one realise the need to keep drinking more water. If you are not drinking enough water, it will greatly affect your body.
Water is also used to clear toxins from the body and it helps fats to pass through your system before they can be stored. If you are dehydrated or not drinking enough water on a regular basis, toxins will build up in your body, affecting your ability to burn fat. Worse still, the fats will more likely be stored in your body.
According to Mattew, most people who overeat and struggle to control their hunger are, in fact, chronically dehydrated; and no matter how much they try to fight off hunger or how much they eat, the feeling doesn’t go away. She adds that with more water intake, however, the hunger will disappear.
You will probably have heard people say that carbohydrates make people fat, and not just fatty foods. This is true, experts say, as carbohydrates do lead to weight gain due to the effect they have on the hormones. However, you still need carbs in your diet; so, don’t cut them out completely.
Improve your posture
There are plenty of reasons why improving your posture will help you beat the belly bulge. Improved posture will help speed up metabolism through increased muscle tone, while it also helps the body to burn more calories and fat around the waistline.
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