Updated: Jul 31, 2020
It can be so frustrating! Belly fat is one of the biggest issues I hear my clients complain about and guess what, I'm a menopausal woman and I get it! But, when I'm having a bad-body-image-kind-of-day, I try to remember what miraculous machines our bodies are. Think of how many times your heart beats for you as it pumps the blood where it needs to go, the miraculous way in which our brains help move our bodies and process information, the countless times our bodies have healed from accidents and sickness.
With that said, it's important to be aware that too much belly fat is more than just an how-it-looks frustration. Excess belly fat can truly play major havoc with your immune system. There is the subcutaneous fat that lies just under our skin and then there is the deeper visceral fat that surrounds our organs.
Visceral fat releases hormones that can cause all kinds of health havoc—type 2 diabetes, heart conditions and other health issues if we get too much of it! The medical community recommends that women keep their waistlines to less than 35 inches and less than 45 inches for men, however, it's important to note that even thin people can have too much visceral belly fat. Research is finding that exercise is the number one, most effective way to combat visceral belly fat. Studies are also showing bouts of high intensity exercise are especially effective. Great news, right? We can all find a way to move a little more and move a little faster.
Cardiovascular exercise If you are a walker, you might try increasing your duration and/or the number of times a week you walk. Or you might add 1-3 minutes of higher intensity walking or jogging throughout your 30-45 minute walk.
Try adding some other forms of exercise that raise your heart rate to another level. For some, the stationary bike or elliptical is great because it's easier on the feet and knees. Dancing can be a great way to get that heart rate up if you don't have a love for traditional exercise. I love to give my joints a break some days and get in a pool or a lake with my water jogger—a belt that keeps you afloat while you actually perform a running motion, moving your arms and legs. Get a friend, burn some calories and solve all the worlds problems. The options are endless, the key is to be mindful to rev it up a little! Strength training If you don't do any strength training, definitely add some! It doesn't have to be intimidating and it doesn't have to be super time consuming. Resistance/strength training will make positive body composition changes that will help you burn more calories (even at rest) and tone up those muscles! I have some effective, timesaving, downloadable workouts in my new No Gym, No Problem 28 Day Transformation that include great direction and tips to effective resistance training.
Diet I always tell me clients that exercise, alone, will not get you where you want to be! Diet is always important for fat loss. Try to get fiber rich, fruits, veggies and whole grains. Studies show that fiber rich foods can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, which is linked to visceral fat. I have a complete recipe manual and meal plan available in my 28 day program if you like grocery lists and recipes laid out for you, but here are the basics that will definitely make a difference!
Stay away from sugary drinks, desserts, and refined carbs that are low in nutritional value and high in calories. excess sugar (simple and refined carbs) can promote insulin resistance and spur inflammation throughout the body.
Stick to lean protein like nuts, legumes, fish and lean meats which helps to make you feel satiated and less likely to crave sugary treats.
Don't be afraid of healthy fats like avocados, chia seeds, eggs, fatty fish, nuts, nut butters and olives. They help you feel satiated and can reduce overall body fat.
Stress and Sleep Lack of sleep and stress can also play havoc with your hormones and cause cortisol levels to spike—again causing body fat storage. I know it's hard to push yourself to relax, meditate, stay on a sleep schedule, and develop a calming bedtime routine, but it can be a game changer for your health! I'm really proud of my free Beat the Stress Guide I developed as a result of Covid19. I hope you will check it out. I guarantee you will get some new info to put to use! Most importantly, be good to yourself. Don't expect perfection, and know that very few of us will ever have flat abs and that is OK! We can have healthy bodies that still look great!
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P.S. The recipes are simple and AMAZING!
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In good health,