We all know it takes exercise and a healthy diet to lose weight, but there is more to the story, especially when it comes to belly fat.
If you have been exercising and eating a healthy diet based on nutrient-dense whole foods and still struggling to lose that last bit of fat that seems to accumulate around the midsection, here are some tips that may just help you reach your goal:
1) Balance Cortisol
Cortisol is the stress hormone and chronic high levels are linked to belly fat. If you seem to be only holding onto weight on your stomach, and have a lot of stress in your life, addressing cortisol could be the key to achieving a flatter stomach.
For more details about cortisol this article is very informative.
2) Balance Insulin
Drastic spikes in blood sugar result in insulin imbalances, which can also cause cortisol imbalances.
We are often told cardio is the best way to decrease fat, however, if you have chronic high levels of cortisol then cardio is the last thing you should be doing. Instead it is better to focus on weight-training, strengthening the core, and yoga or pilates. If there is excess weight on other parts of the body as well as the midsection, and cortisol is not as issue, then cardio can be a part of your regular exercise routine.
4) Obesogens and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
These are chemicals found in personal care products, household cleaning products, pesticides, plastics, and canned food. They disrupt the balance of hormones and make the body hold onto fat cells. They can also increase the size and number of fat cells since they are toxins, the more toxins in our environments the more fat cells we need to store them in.
Alcohol is not only a source of empty calories, it also disrupts hormone levels.
Is it fat or just bloating?
Decrease the chances of bloating by following proper food combining and increasing digestive function. My recent post on Hypochlorhydria has some tips for improving digestion.
Shawna Barker BSc., RHN is a nutritionist, college instructor, and raw food educator.