You can do yourself a lot of favors when it comes to melting away fight belly fat by getting yourself into healthy habits on a day-to-day basis. There are lots of things that many of us do, often without even realizing how they impact on our health or weight, which are easy to avoid. As soon as you address these issues, and get into better habits, your waistline will start to take care of itself. Eating and exercising properly on top will then super-charge your weight loss!
Here are some top tips for the little changes you can make to your lifestyle that will show great results when paired with diet and exercise.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep – Every Night
If you get five or fewer hours of shut-eye a night, that can cause real issues for your waistline. It raises the risk of weight gain by 32 percent, according to researchers (2). Another study found that when you don’t get eight hours of sleep, you consume more than 300 extra calories a day, mostly from fatty foods (3). A lack of sleep causes a hormone response that stimulates hunger, specifically for sugar and carbs (3)!
Create a sleeping schedule, and stick to it! Meditate before bed, avoid caffeine in the afternoon or evening, and switch off all screens at least an hour before bed to help you relax into a deep, undisturbed sleep, getting the most out of your bedtime!
You might not think posture has much to do with fight belly fat, but you’d be completely wrong. A study found that good posture could actually make you look five pounds slimmer (4). Why? When you’re hunched over, muscles in the stomach and lower back slacken and become weak. Simply sitting and standing straight engages the core and keeps you looking slim.
Do All of Your Own Cooking
By cooking your own meals, rather than getting frozen dinners or eating out, you can be sure of what’s going into them. Getting adequate vitamins and minerals from unprocessed and natural foods, helps you burn calories more efficiently, regulates appetite, lowers inflammation, boosts detoxification, aids digestion, regulates stress hormones, and helps your cells become more insulin sensitive.
Along with lots of green vegetables, include protein in every meal since studies show it keeps you fuller longer, so you lose more weight as you’re less tempted by snacks, etc. throughout your day (5).
Manage stress levels
Chronic stress causes your brain to shrink and your belly to grow. Chronically elevated levels of your stress hormone cortisol cause increased blood sugar and cholesterol, depression, dementia, and promote the accumulation of fight belly fat commonly seen in patients with insulin resistance or diabetes (6).
Address food sensitivities
Low-grade allergies and intolerances are pretty common in adults and could be at the root of a range of issues including bloating, weight gain, constipation, and even IBS from an overworked immune system. Inflammation is one of the biggest causes of weight gain and disease in America (1) and as many as 30 percents of Americans may have a non-celiac gluten intolerance (1).
We often crave the very foods we are allergic to and getting off them is not always that easy! However, if you make an effort to identify and stay away from foods you may have a sensitivity to, you’ll come away with renewed energy, relief from cravings and symptoms, and may begin to shed belly fat.
Gluten and dairy are two common food intolerances so are always a good place to start, however, many others can create roadblocks that make losing belly fat nearly impossible.
A nice glass of red wine with a meal or a cold beer on a hot day are some of the sweet pleasures of life. However, as a daily habit, alcohol can do more harm than you may realize, especially if you have diabetes or if you struggle with weight loss.
Consider this: If you drink two glasses of wine a day, over a year you will consume enough calories to add an extra 20 pounds! Stop for six weeks and see how you feel. If you want to, you can then enjoy one to three glasses of wine a week. (A “glass” is 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, or 12 ounces of beer.)
- How Hidden Food Sensitivities Make You Fat – Dr. Mark Hyman. Dr. Mark Hyman. 2012. Available at: http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/02/22/how-hidden-food-sensitivi– ties-make-you-fat/. Accessed August 29, 2016.
- Patel SR e. Association between reduced sleep and weight gain in women. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnih.gov. 2016. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/16914506. Accessed August 31, 2016.
- Why Lack of Sleep Could Be Making You Fatter | Reader’s Digest. Reader’s Digest. 2011. Available at: http://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/why-lack-of-sleep– could-be-making-you-fatter/. Accessed August 31, 2016.
- The Secret To A Flatter Belly Has Nothing To Do With Sit-Ups. Prevention. 2016. Available at: http://www.prevention.com/fitness/how-posture-can-give-your-a-flat-ter-belly. Accessed August 31, 2016.
- Blom WA e. Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin re- sponse. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnih.gov. 2016. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16469977. Accessed August 31, 2016.
- Stress Tips: Calm Your Mind, Heal Your Body – Dr. Mark Hyman. Dr Mark Hyman. 2010. Available at: http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/19/stress-tips-calm-your- mind-heal-your-body/. Accessed August 31, 2016.