Do you wish you had a smaller belly? I do. I take Zumba classes, but I still have a hard time trying to get rid of the "baby belly". My daughters are 12 and 8, so I really wish I could have a flatter belly again.
In her article, Alyssa Shaffer suggests three ways to "whittle your waistline--no crunches required."
- Banish Bloat. Use these fast-acting solutions to start shrinking your middle.
- Skip the soda. Carbonated drinks release carbon dioxide gas into your digestive tract, causing your stomach to expand. Choose plain water which spurs the digestive system.
- Give up gum. Chewing gum can cause you to swallow air that becomes trapped in your gastrointestinal tract, leading to bloating..
- Slow down. When you eat, you take in gulps of air that--yep, you guessed it--get trapped and lead to bloating.
- Avoid sodium. Salt promotes water retention. Fill up on unprocessed foods; skip high-sodium fare such as lunch meats and frozen dinnters.
- Go easy on artificial sweeteners. Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol, found in sugar-free and low-carb sweets, are digested slowly or not at all, so eating large amounts of such foods can cause gas and bloating. Artificial sweeteners that lack those alcohols don't cause the problem.
- Take a breather. Stress hormones speed digestion, leading to gas and diarrhea. Tense? Go for a stroll to ease anxiety and aid in improving digestive function.
- Get tested. Chronic bloating and gas can be symptoms of lactose intolerance (sensitivity to the sugar found in milk) or fructose malabsorption (sensitiviy to a sugar found in fruit juice, table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup). Your doctor can diagnose either with a simple breath test.
- Fuel Up with Flat-Belly Foods. Getting rid of bloat feels great but it's only the beginning. To keep slimming down over a longer term, fill your plate with fat-busting eats.
- Dairy - Opt for 2% Greek Yogurt (20 grams of protein; 150 calories)
- "Good" fats - Opt for olive or canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed and avocado
- Tea - Opt for unsweetened green tea, either hot or iced
- Fiber - Opt for whole fruits (with the peel), vegetables, beans, nuts, oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, whole-wheat bread and pasts
- Keep track of portions. The American Heart Association recommends getting no more than 35% of your daily calories from mostly healthy fats. If you consume 1800 calories per day (the recommendation for a moderately active 40-year-old woman hoping to lose weight), 35% translates to 630 calories.
- Move to Lose. Yes, you do have to exercise--but it doesn't have to be a chore. Burn off those love handles with these easy strategies.
- Walk It Off. The real key to burning belly fat is to pick up your pace.
- Get Stronger. People who lift weights three times a week lose about an inch more off their waist.
- Keep It Up. People who stay active instead of sitting a lot can burn up to 350 extra calories per day.
- Did You Know? What you eat is important, but exercise might be the real key to gut-busting success. In a study at St. Louis University, subjects who followed a yearlong weight-loss plan including exercise lost an amount similar to those who shrunk their portions--but the exercise group lost nearly twice as much belly fat. Researchers noted that when you exercise, your body draws energy from the body's deep fat stores first.
There are two main kinds of abdominal fat. Neither is desirable, but one is more dangerous than the other.
- Subcutaneous Fat. This type is just under the skin, where you can see and feel it. Most of us carry some in our bellies as well as our thighs, hips, arms and backs. It's unwelcome but poses only moderate health risks.
- Visceral Fat. Found deeper in the body, around the abdominal organs, visceral fat is more worrisome, as it can lead to heart disease and diabetes--the latter because, among other things, it interferes with the body's ability to use insulin. The upside: Deep belly fat is often the first to go when you ramp up your weight loss efforts. So how do you know which type you have? In general, women with waistlines bigger than 35" are carrying some visceral fat along with any subcutaneous fat.
If you are trying to lose belly fat, I hope the information in this post will give you something to think about. Please feel free to share this information with others. Have a great day!