As you get older, it is harder t maintain the enviable flat stomach that most of us enjoyed in our teens or early 20s. And it’s not just about the aesthetic of losing the jelly belly. Being overweight around the midriff can have serious health implications including type two diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer. However there are a few things that you can do to cut the wobble and lessen the bloat.
Here are Belle’s top five tips to a flat belly, just in time for Spring!
1. Get rid of bloating. Lots of women suffer from bloating that can occur from numerous things including water retention, eating too fast and too much, candida and food intolerance including common ones such as gluten and lactose intolerance. To stop the bloats, avoid soft drinks and chewing gum, slow down your eating, stop when you are satisfied but not full and keep a diary of what triggers the bloating and try cutting things out that cause problems. If you can’t identify what it is, try cutting out the common triggers such as wheat, dairy and yeast.
2. Do regular exercise. Sit-ups and abdominal exercises may help tone the muscles but no one will see them if there is a layer of fat over the top of them. It is important to do at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise four times a week to truly burn the fat.
3. Cut out refined carbohydrates. Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham revealed that when 69 overweight people were given a diet with a modest reduction in carbohydrates for eight weeks, they had 11 percent less deep abdominal fat than those given a lower-fat diet. You don’t have to cut out carbs altogether, just make sure the ones you are having are fiber-rich, unprocessed carbs such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, and unrefined bread.
4. Reduce The Stress. Stress hormone cortisol can play havoc with your goal of a flat tummy. Not only does it tell the body to lay down fat deposits in the stomach area, but it also “drives your appetite, especially for things that are sweet, fatty and comforting,” according to Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., associate clinical professor of nutrition at the University of Utah and author of The Cortisol Connection. In this day and age it is pretty hard to avoid stress but there are ways of managing it so that it has less impact on your life and your health. Vigorous exercise, meditation, yoga and pilates are all great ways to make sure you get rid of the stresses of the day.
5. Get a good night’s sleep. “We have very substantial research that shows if you shorten or disturb sleep, you increase your appetite for high-calorie dense foods,” says Charles Samuels, MD, medical director of the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary, Alberta. “On a simplistic level, your appetite changes.” This is enough for us to switch off technology on a week night and get an early night and the perfect excuse a weekend lie-in!
[picture credit: memoflores]