Spring is on its way, and you might have this stubborn layer of fat around your waistline, butt and arms that a lot of us know far too well. We try and eat healthy, we run for hours, we count calories, we cut out carbs, the list is long. And it just does not want to go away. And weren’t we supposed to fit into this cute bikini by this summer? The reason why all of this is not really doing the trick, might be because the belly fat is regulated by
- Blood sugar levels
- Hormonal disbalance
- An overburdened liver
- Wrong, too much, or too little exercise
If we get those 6 steps right, you should be able to fit into your favourite new swimsuit in no time.
Toxins in certain food and our environment lead to a low grade inflammation of our body. When we are in that state, the body raises blood sugar, which makes us store fat, even if we eat less.
Foods that create inflammation:
- Grains (all sorts, but especially all gluten containing grains)
- Pasteurized, non- organic dairy
- Processed foods
- Foods high in omega 6, such as vegetable oils and non-organic meat
Foods that lower inflammation:
- Especially the cruciferous ones (broccoli, cabbage, etc)
- Colourful vegetables (paprika, carrots, radish)
- Omega 3: wild caught small fish such as salmon, chia seeds
- Coconut oil
- Superfoods such as spirulina, maca, raw cacao
- Organic poultry and eggs
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut
Try eliminate as many chemicals from your live as possible. This includes opting for the bio- degradable washing liquid, shampoo, organic food. Try coconut oil instead of toothpaste, bodylotion and facelotion. Not only anti- inflammatory and soothing, but also tastes super yum.
Despite what a lot of blogs out there tell you, you do need carbohydrates for a healthy metabolism (unless you have an autoimmune disorder or another serious chronic condition such as cancer, where all sugars are contraindicated). To get your body into fat burning mode, it needs to be fed a low sugar, high fat diet for most of the week. But adding 2 days (i.e. Wednesday and Sunday), where you stack up on healthy carbohydrates such as bananas, fruit, or the occasional treat. This will make sure to keep your leptin levels, the hormone that gives you satiety, and keeps your metabolism up, at high speed, making it easier for you body to burn those stubborn fats during the rest of the week, when you reduce sugar, so the body can tap into its fat storage.
Often times, the culprit for the belly fat that does not want to go away, is a relative estrogen dominance over it’s sex hormone partner in crime, progesterone, in conjunction with a sluggish thyroid gland. Having relatively more estrogen than progesterone, and a malfunctioning thyroid, is also responsible for those nasty mood swings, PMS, and heavy periods.
Try this to balance it out:
- Adopt the diet described in the anti- inflammatory section above.
- Avoid phytoestrogens, plants that mimic estrogen in the body, such as nuts and soy
- Detox your liver (see step 5)
- Add iodine through seaweed
- Add maca
Stress, in all its forms, is one of the major roadblocks in our battle for more energy and a lean shape. Stress comes in many different forms, such as too much exercise, too much work, emotional stress, toxins. But lets focus on lifestyle stresses for now. If the body is under chronic stress, it thinks it has to store every calorie it gets a hold of for times when there might be less food. Stress also wreaks havoc on your hormones, your thyroid, your inflammatory state.
When you are stressed, your body will store fat around your waist. If you are relaxed, your body knows it is safe to let go of it. Simple as that J
Try this to reduce your stress:
- Practice deep abdominal breathing
- Practice gratitude for things you already have in life
- Be proud of yourself , of who you are and what you have achieved thus far
- Take time in nature- go for a walk, bike, or just sit and meditate somewhere quiet
- Change your exercise regime (see below, step 6)
The liver is the second largest organ in the human body after our skin. One of its primary roles is that of detoxification. The liver has to process all things we consume, such as alcohol, caffeine, but also things we absorb through our skin such as chemical moisturizers. It also has to detoxify substances the body makes, such as cholesterol, sex hormones and end products of inflammation. It is when this gets backed up like a traffic jam, that we cannot burn properly anymore.
Try this to flush your liver:
- Adopt the diet described in section 1
- Balance your hormones as described in section 2
- Avoid toxins in household products and cosmetics
As mentioned in section 3, stress ruins your efforts to loose weight, or if you are already thin, trim up around your waistline. Exercise too, when done excessively, can signal to the body that you are “under stress”- making it keep its fat to store for times in need. While it is important to move regularly, this does not mean you have to run a marathon. Gentle movements, like brisk walking, biking or tai chi are ideal to get your body moving. Combining this with a strength workout such as pilates, power yoga or even more aggressive forms such as crosstraining, all give the body and its muscles the stimulus it needs to produce healthy hormones and keep the tissues strong. Make sure to always engage your core though, to prevent pains, and get your whole body moving more fluid and balanced.
This would mean going for a brisk walk most days of the week, ideally upon waking, before food, and adding in a body weight workout 3-4 times a week. 20 minutes would be totally enough, if you get a good routine going that incorporates all muscle groups (including your deep core muscles!).
Loosing that last bit of belly flab can seem like an impossible venture for a lot of people. And it sure is tricky and has a lot of factors involved, that make it appear that way. However, if you follow the 6 steps outlined above, you will see your waist reduce in no time. Always keeping in mind step 4- focusing on gratitude, self- love and acceptance. You are perfect just the way you are – right now. Not only once the fat has disappeared.
If you still find yourself struggling, there might be underlying disbalances, that need to be addressed in a more personalized manner. Please don’t hesitate to book a counseling session with me, I would love to help you on your journey to an energetic, self- loving and healthy you.
Until then, warm regards, Mirthe
What is your preferred way to get fit for summer?