Stubborn fat around the tummy is probably the most common “want to lose” goal for both men and women. Shifting it becomes even more of a priority when you consider that fat collecting around your middle poses more health risks than fat that sits elsewhere.

Per many studies the spare fat stored under the skin and also around the vital organs in our abdomen can cause more health problems than, say, fat carried around the bottom or on the thighs. Having a large amount of tummy fat (when compared to having fat around the bottom or thighs) makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and heart problems.”

Hardly joyful news if you have a few pounds to lose, but don’t panic if you’re developing a paunch – the following could explain why you’re accumulating belly fat, and tips from nutritionist and yoga teacher Libby Limon and fitness specialist Lucy Miller could help you to whittle down your waist once and for all.

Number one rule for conquering abdominal fat? Don’t stress (in fact, make that a rule for life).  High stress and  anxiety can thwart your weight loss efforts:

“Cortisol, the stress hormone, plays a part in laying down central adipose tissue (belly fat), so if you are in a stressed state then it will be very hard to shift. “Stress can come from many sources- emotional strain, conflict at work or relationship trouble. Destress by building in yoga practice and mindfulness to your daily routine.”

If you suspect that stress is sabotaging your slimming goals, learn how to master meditation, swot up on calming yoga poses and halt negative thought patterns in their tracks.

It’s public enemy number one, and the link between muffin tops and actual muffins is, unfortunately, stronger than ever. “Estrogen tummy” is a fact.

“Cortisol is also implemented, alongside insulin, in blood sugar control, so a high sugar diet can cause belly fat to stick fast even if you’re restricting calories and trying to lose weight (excessive calorie restriction isn’t something I would recommend anyway.”

Personal trainer and obesity campaigners all offer some advice for addressing the issue, without going hungry:

Try to cut down on sugar, saturated fats and white refined foods such as white bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, as they metabolise quickly, resulting in soaring blood sugar levels, which promotes fat storage. Base your diet around lean meats, vegetables and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as those found in nuts and avocados”

Sleep deprivation brings out the c-word again meaning it causes the type of cortisol that can have a negative effect on cortisol balance.

If you’re struggling to get some shut eye, get to the root of what’s causing your insomnia and learn how to help yourself nod off using expert wellbeing techniques. If you’re in the following situation, however, you’ll be in no doubt as to what’s causing your sleeplessness…

First things first, never put pressure on yourself to spring back into shape, and definitely don’t rush things (that goes for weight loss full stop). Your belly has just housed new life and brought a wonder into the world; cut it, and more importantly, yourself, some slack. Up your activity levels slowly- Lucy advocates patience and TLC:

“If you’re a new mom then losing weight from around the tummy can be very hard – hormones take time to settle down and stretched muscles won’t knit back together instantly after pregnancy. It will take time, so give yourself as long as it takes.”

There’s no doubt that not enough  excercise won’t do anything to diminish belly fat, but going overboard isn’t the answer either.

Physical stresses such as overexercising and endurance exercise can upset cortisol balance. Switch gruelling cardio workouts for 20-30 minute HIT sessions instead.

If a protruding tum comes with cramps, wind and bowel trouble, an unhappy digestive system is likely to blame and could be making a less than trim tum situation look and feel a lot worse than it is. Your first step is to beating bloat is to identify the cause of your tummy trouble.  Many trainers suggest trying a meal tweak to see if it makes a difference.

An easy thing to start with  is to avoid eating fruit after a meal, as fruit can cause food to ferment in your stomach, leading to bloating and lots of gas.

The classic sit-up has been sold to us as the best ab honer, but incorrect alignment can make them less effective, not to mention damage your back. A sit-up alone also won’t burn fat that sits on the stomach. Get sweaty with a cardio blast and then mix up your core toning exercises.

Planks are a great substitution for situps.   Three sets of minute long planks, stretching excercises and then 3 sets of lunges are a great substitution for situps.

Traditionally many women skirt round the weightlifting section in the gym, and while body weight resistance training is highly effective, pumping a little iron pays dividends. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn, even when resting.

It seems logical to assume that fat contributes to fat, but nutritionists are keen to point out that since the “low fat” revolution of the 70s, our waistlines have widened dramatically. As many personal trainer and nutritionists will tell you – NOT ALL FAT IS BAD FAT.

“Have you ever wondered what takes the place of the removed fat? Answer: heaps of synthetic, non-food chemicals that wreak havoc on our metabolism and digestion. What’s more, most low-fat and fat-free products contain loads of sugar or artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of taste.”

For a flatter tummy and lower body weight in general, healthy fats such as coconut oil and avocados could well be your weight loss weapon.

“Fat can play a vital role in weight loss[…] the single most important aim of your nutrition should be to balance your blood sugar levels. Dietary fat helps you accomplish that by slowing down the release of nutrients into the bloodstream, so by all means, add a little olive oil or butter to your meals. This will help regulate your appetite and keep your energy levels consistent.”

Fewer sugar spikes, reduced cake cravings and a drip feed of health-giving nutrients into the body will seriously reduce the incidence of belly swelling binges.

The Advantages of Being Slim

This list is not all encompassing AND the ones we do list can be viewed, or interpreted, in different ways.  That being said here are the many benefits that may come with being slimmer. Lets stress this point –  – a healthy slim and not unhealthy skinny!

1. Breathing is easy
Most thin people don’t worry about breathing. If they exercise regularly, they don’t even breathe hard when engaging in physical activity. A low-fat-content body allows for free expansion of the rib cage and leaves space for the diaphragm to move downward as it should. In addition, the lungs are clear of fat, and that allows a free exchange of oxygen. Trim folks breathe easier metaphorically as well, because they are less likely to be concerned about health issues.

2. Walking is effortless
Many slim people are avid runners and walkers. Being light permits fluid movement, and joints don’t take much pounding. Maintaining a low-fat diet helps avoid chronic ailments like osteoarthritis, which can dramatically affect walking. Walking is a freeing and healthful activity, and being able to do it well enhances quality of life.

3. You are more agile
Slender individuals are able to perform many tasks easily, like file their toenails, tie their shoes, or put on their socks while standing up. Maintaining a small midsection makes stooping and bending much easier and permits involvement in activities that make the appearance of a pot gut is less likely.

4. Heart disease is less common
Leanness relieves pressure on the heart, lungs, and other internal organs. Trim folks have fewer incidences of heart disease and strokes than their overweight contemporaries. Shedding pounds results in a healthier body and a happier life.

5. Premature death is less likely
That lighter people live longer is well documented. Arguments to the contrary do exist, though, so I’ll leave it to you to decide whom to believe. Anyone who has visited an assisted-living facility knows that thin folks predominate there. At that point, the rotund individuals have passed on.

6. Back pain is uncommon
Few slender people suffer from chronic back pain. Losing weight relieves stress on the back muscles, and the result is pain-free movement. And when thin people do injure their backs, their recovery times are markedly less.

7. Organs remain stone-free
Being thin helps you avoid many painful experiences, including kidney and gall stones. With a proper diet, such dolorous moments are avoidable. A balanced regime of raw vegetables, fibrous fruits, lean poultry, omega-3-rich fish, low-fat dairy, low-or-no-sugar choices, caffeine-free coffee and chocolate, and pure water will keep you stone free. (Adding turmeric and dandelion root to your shopping list also won’t hurt!)

8. Helps relieve depression
For the most part, thin people feel physically good, and that helps them resist depression. Sure, depression and anxiety attack people indiscriminately, but slim folks aren’t forced to deal so directly with social rejection, job discrimination, feeling unattractive, and the other burdens of being overweight. Having a stable body chemistry contributes to warding off depression, and being as attractive as you can be supports depression resistance as well.

9. Diabetes is the exception rather than the rule
Wholesome food, consistent exercise, and moderate thinness all lower the chances of getting diabetes. An epidemic of type-2 diabetes is underway in the United States, and experts expect it to worsen. I know a couple of dozen diabetics, and only one of them is thin. Being thin dramatically reduces the risk of contracting diabetes and makes living with the disease less complicated.

10. Clothing fits
Thin people find clothing that fits them right on the rack, and they look great in it. Some retailers have added clothing lines for large men and women, but most of them produce apparel for folks with mainstream bodies. Being thin also pays off financially, because you are better able to take advantage of sales and avoid special tailoring.

11. The opposite sex seeks your company
Many people prefer pairing up with someone thin. A few men and women prefer heavyset partners, but most seek potential mates with physical characteristics that fit more standard notions of attractiveness, namely, the slenderer versions.

12. You command respect
Maintaining self-respect and enjoying the respect of others go hand in hand. When your physical appearance places you firmly in the norm of mainstream society, finding and keeping friends is easier. Having strong self-esteem is attractive, and others want to share in it.

13. You gain acceptance in the workplace
Many employers tend to hire attractive people to work for them. Right or wrong, physical appearance weighs heavily in their hiring decisions. Most people look better thin, and enterprising bosses want the sharpest-looking, fastest-moving crew they can find.

14. Meeting and keeping friends is easy
People tend to befriend folks that they are pleased to introduce to others. Eventually, this may change, but until it does, the reality is that making friends is easier when you’re thin.

15. You fit into seats of airplanes, theaters, and cars
Most of us take for granted that we will be able to use public transportation, ride in automobiles, and sit in theaters without much fuss. Thin folks don’t have to think about whether they can do these things or worry about inconveniencing those around them in the process.

16. Your feet remain healthy
Feet break down for many reasons, but being overweight is the principal one. Thin people suffer far less from such problems than heavier ones, and the bones and cartilage in their feet last longer. Relieving the feet of extra weight renders pain-free movement and helps prevent the breakdown of arches.

17. You have no double chin
For the most part, thinner folks’ jowls are less fleshy. When you lose weight, usually the double chin is the last thing to go. To make it disappear, you have to lose all of the excess pounds. Your chin is the first place to receive extra weight and last one to lose it.

18. Knee and hip replacements are less likely
Every year, thousands of individuals seek hip and knee replacements, and only a few of them are thin. Being trim relieves the joints that support the body, obviating such operations.

19. Body odor decreases
Thin people don’t necessarily have less body odor than anyone else, but they perspire less and lack the folds of skin that decrease air flow around the body. Thus, they tend to have less body odor. In addition, thin people are energetic and may be more inclined to bathe and change clothes as often as is necessary to eliminate odors.

20. Life quality is better
When you are thin, people respond to you more positively, illnesses are infrequent, getting around is effortless, you look better, and you have more energy. Life quality is a compilation of all of the other points on this list, and along with happiness, is what we all seek.

Many other advantages exist to being thin. If you allow your imagination to run, you can easily come up with scads of activities that are difficult for overweight folks and easy for thin ones. Overweight people are traumatized in multiple physical and emotional ways, and their slender counterparts remain relatively free of such problems.
Losing weight and being thin are keys to maintaining a healthy body and a healthful existence. When your body is in balance, everything improves, including relationships, participation in sports, wellness, and self-esteem. Nothing changes a life so much as embarking on a path of sound diet and consistent exercise. Get thin, and enjoy yourself like never before!

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