When it comes to excess weight, “how to lose belly fat” is up there as one of the most common questions. The unfortunate thing is that belly fat is one of the most stubborn areas to target. But that excess belly fat or muffin top might be detrimental to your health. According to doctors, one of the worst places your body can store fat is your midsection; that stubborn section of belly fat carries a strong risk factor for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and more—all things serious enough to make us take pause before our next Ocado order.
And what’s more frustrating is that women hang onto more belly fat than men and find it harder to lose it: “Women have up to nine times more alpha adrenergic receptors in their fat cells compared to men and oestrogen increases their activity,” says Rhian Stephenson, nutritionist and CEO of Psycle. These alpha-adrenergic receptors slow down fat release, which is essentially what makes some patches of fat more stubborn than others. “While elevated cortisol [the stress hormone] is one the main culprits for fat storage around the midsection,” he adds.
Alexandra Samit,Nicole Granato. Keep scrolling to find out how to lose belly fat for good.
According to el Hadj, incorporating thermogenic foods into your diet can “contribute to approximately 10% of your daily calorie burning capability by simply speeding up the metabolism.” Thermogenic foods raise the body’s temperature, and for the body to get warmer it needs to use energy (or calories). And what’s even better is that these foods are probably already in your kitchen: cayenne pepper, black pepper, green tea, turmeric, ginger and lean proteins like turkey. Stephenson does warn that you need to make sure the rest of your lifestyle isn’t out of kilter: “Adding in turkey won’t have nearly as significant an impact if you’re someone who sleeps for four hours a night or drinks excessively.”
I know, I know; we’re like a broken record. But drinking water is a cheap and effective way to stave off hunger, and since abs are made in the kitchen, reducing your calorie intake will get you results. “Drink copious amounts of filtered water throughout the day to encourage elimination and to induce a feeling of fullness,” says el Hadj. Bored of water? Try adding in citrus fruits, berries or mint leaves into this Urban Outfitters Pink Fruit Infuser Water Bottle (£12) to add some flavour without the calories.avocados, sweet potatoes, beans, legumes, nuts and oily fish A few well-chosen supplements can really help to blitz that stubborn belly fat caused by elevated cortisol. “Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal C Formula (£34) is a good all-around support, and then single herbal tinctures can be highly effective. I like Siberian ginseng, tulsi, rhodiola and liquorice root. A good-quality fish oil combined with CLA has also been shown to favourably affect the storage of body fat,” says Stephenson.brown rice, quinoa, black rice and barley
Finally, watch your stress levels. You can make all these dietary changes, but if you’re highly strung with work, no matter how much sauerkraut you chow down on, it won’t make a difference to your belly fat. A little stress, however, is totally normal. A rise in cortisol (the stress hormone) is what helps us get out of bed in the mornings! “It’s when cortisol is perpetually elevated (or completely exhausted) that it becomes a problem,” says Stephenson. “A mixture of strength training and cardio will help reduce body fat; and if you’re extremely stressed, yoga will be incredibly beneficial as well. If you’re someone who is running on cortisol, it’s important to look at your day as a whole to see what you can do to dampen the spikes. Coffee first thing in the morning on an empty stomach will definitely contribute to the overload, as will only doing extremely intense forms of exercise, not eating after a workout and being chronically sleep deprived,” she adds. Were you surprised by any of these tips? Click here for seven foods to avoid if you want to beat belly bloat! Opening Image: Zara