Is your protruding belly the first thing you notice when looking at your self in the mirror? Have you grown frustrated with your stubborn, lower pooch that simply doesn’t go away no matter how many crunches you do or diets you try? Don’t worry, you’re not alone in feeling this way.
Belly fat is the most common physical insecurity among women because most of them are genetically predisposed to store body fat in their mid-section.
However, extra fat around your belly, aka visceral fat, tends to envelop vital organs, making it hard for them to function properly. This leads to a number of health conditions including increased insulin resistance and cardiovascular diseases.
The good news is that losing fat with a few simple lifestyle changes, is possible. Here are a few belly fat mistakes that you could be making and how you can fix them.
You Have Been Feeling Down Lately
Stress and depression are the worst enemies of mental and physical health, and several studies have found a link between depressive symptoms and excess belly fat. Feeling blue makes you less likely to become physically active and you tend to make poor food choices.
The Fix: Exercising is the best way to boost your mood and burn body fat. Doctors often tell their patients to develop a habit of exercising to ward of depression and become motivated to improve their life and health.
You Think Low-Fat is the Answer
Most people tend to think that the best way to lose weight is by avoiding fatty foods, and although this belief is true to some extent, doctors have discovered the benefits of ‘healthy fats’ (also called monounsaturated fatty acids) in burning fat and speeding up metabolism.
A study recently showed that women who switched to diet high in monounsaturated fatty acids lost one third of their tummy fat in just one month.
The fix: Eating fried chicken and French fries is probably not a great idea but replacing your regular cooking oil with healthy fats such as coconut oil, can help you reduce weight. Other foods high in healthy fats include nuts, seeds, avocados and fish.
Your Diet Consists of Refined Carbs
Processed, packed foods are extremely bad for your health and could be the culprit for your expanding waist. Furthermore, high-carbohydrate foods like chips, sugary beverages and desserts spike your blood sugar level which can cause insulin resistance over time, leading to type 2 diabetes. The frequent spike in blood sugar level can also force insulin to store the excess sugar as fat in your mid-section.
The Fix: Start adding more healthy and unprocessed foods into your diet while slowly eliminating the junk fare that is causing damage to your body.
Your Are Not Getting Enough Magnesium in Your Diet
Magnesium in one of the most important nutrients that has more than 300 functions in your body. Recently, researchers found out that it can also help you lose weight by controlling blood sugar level, thereby lowering the level of insulin produced.
The Fix: Incorporate more magnesium-rich food in your diet such as bananas, green vegetables and soybeans.
You Think Diet Soda Is a Healthier Alternative
If you think that zero-calorie sodas will not harm your body, you are probably wrong. A recent research showed that those who drank diet sodas were more likely to accumulate fat around their bellies than those who didn’t drink any. The logic behind the result that the chemicals inside zero-calorie drinks tend to make us overeat and feel bloated.
The Fix: We understand that drinking diet coke can be addictive which is why kicking the habit and going cold turkey is hard. Instead of giving up diet soda, try to limit the calories you get from food to balance out the effect.
You Aren’t Sweating Enough in the Gym
Simply doing crunches or ab exercises in the gym won’t make belly fat go away. Trainers say that there is no such thing as ‘spot reduction’ (whereby you lose fat in only one area of the body).
Instead of steady paced cardio or ab workouts, challenge yourself with high intensity workouts (HIIT) which can get your heart rate up and make you sweat more. High intensity exercises burn more calories in less time and can reduce the level of insulin and stress hormone cortisol in blood.
The Fix: If you enjoy running or cycling, increase your speed or resistance for a couple of minutes before slowing it down for a minute. Repeat this cycle several times until you’re drenched in sweat!