August 17, 2023

Is your tummy your biggest concern?

Our waistline is a great indicator of our health. A healthy waist measurement is to be 50% less than your height. If you are 170cm tall then your waist should be 85cm or less.

If your waist measurement is larger than 50% of your height, then consider losing some belly fat. Not only will it be easier to zip up your favourite pair of jeans, but you will be improving your health markers as well.

You’re asking, “What is the best and easiest way to do this?”

Just to be clear, you can’t spot reduce, but there are things you can do.

Gaining weight is a result of regularly eating and drinking more calories that our body burns up. As we age, we also tend to notice extra weight, particularly around our waist. Women often find it harder after menopause to halt weight gain. This can be exacerbated if losing muscle as we age. 

What is belly fat?

All fat is not the same. Visceral fat (white fat) is found around the waist and organs, is stubborn and hard to burn. The other main type of bodyfat is subcutaneous fat, which sits just under the skin (wobbly arms).

Belly fat is commonly thought to be related to high levels of the hormone cortisol. There are things we can do to reduce cortisol to eliminate (or reduce) this contributing factor. 

Excess belly fat is also a sign of energy toxicity. We’re simply consuming more energy than our bodies need. The conundrum is that your belly fat is stored energy. The trick is getting ready access to this stored energy.

Let’s focus on cortisol and look at some good strategies:

*Movement within 2 hours of waking up 

Cortisol is at its highest in the first two hours of awakening. 

The best way to reduce cortisol levels is to front load your day with activity and/or meditation. Find 10+ minutes to do what you enjoy. Schedule these into your day with no excuses.

By starting your day this way will help you make better eating decisions throughout the day.

*Manage emotional eating

When you are stressed your body releases cortisol, a hormone that helps the body protect itself. For many people this leads to “emotional eating” with an increased food and drink consumption of mostly highly processed sugary and starchy foods that are high in calories.

Then there’s emotional drinking. Too many people habitually self-medicate against stress with a glass or two of wine.

Next time you feel stressed the quickest way to help reduce your cortisol levels is some form of activity. This could be a 10-minute walk, climbing stairs, running or bike riding, or even a breathing or stretching routine.

*Reduce time spent on social media or Netflix daily

There is evidence to suggest that social media may be altering our relationship with food. Food ads can influence you to eat up to 26% more calories. Many influencers promote fast food brands or a “diet” culture that results in negative relationships with food.

Plan on reducing your social media exposure by 30 minutes a day and use this time to exercise or learn to cook healthy meals.

*Avoid a sweet tooth or addiction to sugar

The highly processed food industry has perfected how to make food addictive. Initially they took out fat and replaced it with sugar. Now sugar is considered the enemy. Many people do not understand that all carbohydrates (healthy or unhealthy) are released as glucose into the bloodstream. 

Each 4g of carbohydrate equals one teaspoon of sugar in your blood stream. When consuming more than 8g of carbohydrate your pancreas will release insulin to normalise your blood glucose. Over time your cells may become insulin resistant and can’t respond to blood sugar rises. Energy regulation goes haywire.

*Reduce insulin and stabilise blood sugar

Have a mantra that with all meals and snacks to prioritise proteins, have a small amount of healthy fat and reduce carbohydrate intake from foods and drinks.

Protein in meals and snacks will keep you fuller for longer and reduce or eliminate cravings between meals.

*Learning to eat and snack mindfully

For many people eating is not a mindful experience. This means eating more calories with little or no nutrition because you are not focused on what you are eating and drinking.

Having set mealtimes will give you a sense of control. A regular eating routine provides momentum to keep going and requires less thinking. Having structure will provide predictability and develop discipline. 

*Good quality sleep helps reduce belly fat

Inadequate sleep can be a trigger for excess cortisol, visceral (belly) fat accumulation, obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. It may also disrupt circadian rhythm.

Good quality sleep is a vitamin pill. Managing 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night should be your goal.

*Decreasing the hours from first to last meal each day

Having a shorter eating window means a longer non-eating window.  A non-eating window (overnight fast) of 12+ hours allows your body to get better control of blood sugar and use your body fat stores for energy.

There are other health benefits such as memory and learning functionality as well as slow disease processes in the brain.

With Spring fast approaching it’s a great time to do something if you are concerned about your belly fat.

Our coaches will be happy to work with you. Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.