One of the biggest struggles I hear from people is getting rid of that stubborn belly fat that just won't go away. I know I have, and still have a little bit to go. Especially after age 40, it's like some evil fairy came in and zaps us right?
You may have heard lots on this topic before, but I will share what I’ve learned about belly fat from both personal experience and from many medical courses and articles and how you can start to get rid of at least most of it for good!
You may not want to hear this, but the truth of the matter is most women don’t achieve that “flat belly” because they just aren’t healthy enough.
You need to help burn off the visceral fat (deep fat that surrounds your internal organs).
It is the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many chronic
diseases (heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases).
The fat didn't just appear out of nowhere. It’s taken some time to get there! Bottom line, it's related to our lifestyle and what we put in and on our body! Only a very small percentage of this is due to hormonal imbalances. Guess what? Most of the current hormone imbalances and chronic diseases are related to diet! Unfortunately, our food supply is loaded with hormones and antibiotics and GMO’s. But there are healthy options.
Healthy living is a choice and one that is very much in your control. The body has a great way of healing itself. You must first commit to change your lifestyle and eating habits for good! Or none of this will work for long.
It will help give you glowing skin, radiant hair, and a clear brain. Plus the added benefit of getting rid of that belly!
Here are 5 steps to help you get rid of some of that belly fat.
#1—Stop doing sit-ups and crunches-those alone are not going to get you anywhere. Yes, it will help tone those belly muscles, but this alone is not the answer, and it won't work--yet. Save these for later, once you get the other steps in order.
#2—Increase your aerobics (walking, running, swimming, etc). Yes, targeting your heart rate during aerobic exercise, will help burn fat, and therefore, that belly fat. Figure out your max heart rate (Max Heart Rate = 220 – your age). And then determine your fat-burning range, which is 60% to 70% of your max heart rate. Get a heart rate monitor app and figure out your best “burn rate” heart rate and try to stay in that zone even for short intervals. here's a good blog post on this.
#3— Don't Diet—Make it a lifetime commitment to eating clean instead-
Diets DON’T work. Believe me, I have tried all kinds of diets (I was a fat kid) and all it did is make me gain more weight afterward. So get OFF the fad diet trends that are out there. I have not ever seen any of these work for a sustained period of time for anyone. Restricting what you eat all the time only causes a rebound effect. Some diets may be actually harmful in the long run, and cause you to have health problems later. I almost died of an electrolyte imbalance a few years ago because of one of these “fad” diets. That's when I changed my ways and swore I would never diet again!
First of step to a good eating plan is to get rid of inflammation in your gut by removing all the foods and drink that cause this. This is the #1 way to stop the accumulation of fat period! What do I mean by this?
Start by eliminating the 3 A’s: highly allergenic, acidic, or addictive foods
- processed foods and drinks- addictive & allergenic
- sugars and sweets- addictive
- soda, and energy drinks- addictive
- dairy—very allergenic
- gluten-very allergenic
- alcohol- addictive
- caffeine- addictive
The #1 addictive and toxic substance in your diet is sugar. Currently, sugar is added to all processed foods. It's in large amounts in sodas and energy drinks and in foods that state they are “low fat”. They are replacing the fat with sugar. Even low-fat milk. Don't be fooled. We eat way too much sugar, and it's leading to craziness with our Insulin metabolism causing spikes and lows that are wreaking havoc on our health and causing us to gain enormous amounts of weight quickly. Avoid all forms of refined and processed sugars in your diet. Have that birthday cake and coke—on your birthday! (once a year folks). I’m not kidding. If you must absolutely have that dessert, do so very sparingly, for a taste, then leave it alone!
Second step-Think differently about protein- studies show protein to be effective when protein is at 25-30% of your calories. Too much protein can actually add more fat as the body cannot store extra protein, so it gets stored as fat. Unless you are a high-performance athlete or burning lots of calories. A fist size portion of animal protein on your plate is more than enough (4-6 oz).
Keep in mind that veggies, beans, nuts, legumes and some starchy veggies (like the potato) have lots of protein. Animal protein can be inflammatory as well, as it contains enzymes not found in plant-based foods that can cause inflammation. I limit my animal protein to once a day and chose poultry or seafood vs. beef or pork.
Third Step - Carbs are ok- Carbs have always gotten a bad rap as the culprit for fat, but that is a misconception. Not all carbs are going to make you gain fat. As long as they are complex carbs (veggies, fruits) even potato and brown rice, whole grains are very good for you and help to increase your fiber which is a great natural detox. Just avoiding the refined carbs (white bread, pasta, etc) should be sufficient.
#4--Minimize your body’s exposure to toxins. We can't control what's in the air, or most of the water supply, but we can certainly take steps to remove the toxins we put on and in our bodies. This includes everything we eat and absorb into the body- lotions, makeup, shampoo, cleaning supplies, etc. Do you know that the body’s natural way to help remove toxins is to make more fat cells? Yes-and most of it gets stored in that belly! It's the body’s natural defense when toxins invade it.
Stop buying cheap products that don't work! Buy quality products without most of these toxins, and check your labels (parabens, phthalates,BPA) .
Believe me, you get what you pay for, and sometimes it's better investing a bit of money on a quality product that will last you longer (they are more concentrated), and not harm your body. Don't be cheap with your health! Do you want to put boiled down animal fat full of toxins & hormones known as Tallow on your skin, hair, and face??? Yuk! Well, that's what you are doing when you buy cheap.
Unfortunately, the mass production of foods has made our common food supply very toxic, and full of hormones, antibiotics, and GMO’s. However, there are options. They now carry organic foods at Costco or BJ’s. So there are economical means to provide this for your family.
Buy organic grass-fed beef, go to farmers markets for produce or local stores. Or freshly frozen veggies.
Check out the dirty dozen and clean 15 (Top Dirty Dozen And Clean 15 Foods) here to help decide what you can get organic vs conventional.
#5--Detox—you gotta clear that drain. Let your body’s natural toxin removing organs do their job (liver, kidneys, lungs, gut and skin). But if these organs are blocked up and full of toxins, they won't work well, and those toxins will end up as fat! So help them out. Read my blog post on Detoxing for help with this. Adding more fiber to your diet is one of the best ways to help your body naturally detox. We need 25 gms of fiber a day and we barely get half of that! Eat your fruits, veggies and whole grains.
If you can start with this and keep up the clean eating habits, watch your portion sizes and stay away from the inflammatory foods, you will be on your way to getting rid of that belly fat once and for all.
Not only will you look better, and trimmer, but you will start to feel better too. You will notice it on your skin, the way you can think more clearly, will experience less brain fog, you won't feel the afternoon tiredness and drain, and you will have more energy, sleep better and even be on your way to avoiding some serious chronic diseases.
If you would like some information on the products I recommend to help you on your journey, check out this link to 30 days to healthy living and beyond.