Are you fighting the belly fat battle?  Welcome to the club.  Many of us are dealing with excess weight in our belly for one reason or another. Women start this battle right around the time we begin dealing with menopause.  Men aren’t immune to the belly fat problem either and also tend to begin dealing with it around the same time women do – a direct result of the slowing down of our metabolisms. On top of all that, what used to work for us, no longer works.    So what can we do?

The good news is that we can do something about it.  It won’t be easy but consistency will help us win this battle AND the war!  The following bullet points will help you get back on track to a flatter tummy:

  • Exercise is crucial in winning the battle of the bulge BUT not just any exercise.  Running 5 miles every morning is not enough to whittle your waist.  Cardio is a must have part of any exercise routine and it’s especially important for a strong, healthy heart.  However muscle burns calories consistently throughout the day so we must include strength training into our exercise program if we want to lose weight.
  • Make sure you are eating enough.  Many of us think we have to starve ourselves to lose weight when the opposite is true.  You need to eat to lose weight. You might lose weight initially but that will quickly stop as your body goes into defense mode to protect itself and you will actually gain weight.  Strive to eat 5 – 6 small meals each day.
  • Be careful you’re eating the right foods.  Many times we eat too many processed foods which are not only high in calories but also causes inflammation in your body which leads to increased belly fat.  Eat whole foods as close to their natural source as possible and just say no to processed and junk foods.
  • Choose heart healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts.  Saturated fats often found in dairy and meats will contribute to belly fat.
  • Kick it up a notch.  If you are on autopilot during your workouts or fitness classes, it’s time to challenge yourself.  Our bodies quickly adapt to what we ask them to do. It’s up to us to increase the intensity so that we burn more calories.
  • Planks, planks, planks.  You can do 1000 crunches but that won’t get you very far in reducing belly fat because we can’t spot reduce one part of our bodies.  Planks work your whole core – front and back.  Your core is from your shoulders to your hips and a strong core equals a strong body.
  • S L E E P.  Studies have shown that people who repeatedly skip a good night’s rest will have increased belly fat.  Unplug earlier and hit the bed for at least 7 hours of rest if possible.
  • Another S word to get under control beside sleep is STRESS.  Again studies have shown that men and women with high stress levels have a tougher time losing weight.  Yes we have to pay the bills but our health is just as important.   When you feel that anxious feeling coming on, try to take a moment to yourself and breathe deeply into your belly.  Inhale for a count of 5, hold for a count of 5 and exhale for a count of 5 until you feel your body relax.

Making healthy changes won’t be easy but being consistent will get you to the finish line and ultimately to a flatter belly 🙂

To your health,