Always wanted wash-board abs? Leave the fads behind with our guide to getting rid of stomach fat the healthy way
Words Joy Montgomery
Research has revealed that fat built-up around your midriff is more unhealthy than being overweight. Fat around the waist can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and even cancer. Most frustrating of all, it is the hardest to shift. However, with time and some positive lifestyle changes, it is possible to banish the bulge.
Scroll down for our guide to six practical and easy ways to get rid of stomach fat…
Stress is at the centre of the stomach fat problem. When your brain thinks your life is in danger it stimulates the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. The brain, however, doesn’t distinguish between real threats (i.e. a grizzly bear) and modern life (i.e. money worries). This way our brains can end up in a perpetual state of stress. This forces our bodies into survival mode, which in turn forces it to store fat.
DON’T EAT ON THE GO
Eating on the go gives your body the message that it is under pressure and stressed. By sitting down and eating your food slowly, you’re allowing your body to focus on the task at hand. When you eat in a rush, or in a pressured situation, your digestive system is less efficient. More pressure = more stress = more fat storage.
Like with stress, when you experiment with fad diets – cutting calories and eliminating whole food groups etc – your body goes into famine mode. This process puts your body under pressure, which will in turn slow down your metabolism and hold onto fat stores. Furthermore, the blood sugar fluctuations caused by dieting can trigger adrenaline. This is the same hormone released when you are under stress.
Adding protein to each meal is an easy way to combat stomach fat. When you add protein to a carbohydrate you change it into a slower releasing carb, which keeps sugar levels in check. Protein helps control insulin because it slows the rate of digestion. This means that you’ll feel fuller for longer, and won’t be so tempted to reach for the biscuits during that 3pm slump.
BAN THE BOOZE
Alcohol is liquid carbohydrate, so hits your bloodstream straight away – especially on an empty stomach. If you can, try cutting out alcohol completely for a month and you’ll instantly notice the difference on your midriff. If this is too difficult then simply try cutting down. Focus on drinks such as beer, which is high in carbohydrates, and high sugar cocktails.
DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST
It might sound absurdly simple, yet this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce stomach fat. Like fad diets, skipping breakfast will send your body into famine and, again, will make it hold onto fat stores. It might sound counterintuitive, but eating little and often throughout the day is the best way to regulate your blood sugar. Try starting your day with porridge mixed with a little nut butter – perfect slow releasing power food.