HOW TO LOSE BELLY FAT FAT … FOR GOOD!
Kick off the New Year in good health with our practical tips to trim your tum and shift belly fat.
Find yourself an ‘accountability buddy’
People who tell others what they’re aiming to achieve are more likely to reach their goal. Saying it aloud means being accountable. Do you know anyone on a similar journey, so you can support each other? Ask a friend to be your exercise buddy, or a family member to help with meal prep. And join our HFG Kick-start Weight-loss Challenge Facebook group!
Find your why
New Year, new you? Research shows that 80 per cent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February, so work out why weight loss is important to you. This will give you the incentive to keep going. Remember, doing the small things consistently leads to bigger successes, because making a change requires us to do something repeatedly until it becomes a new habit.
Cut down on refined carbs
Highly processed foods like white bread, biscuits, chips and sweets cause rapid increases in your blood glucose levels, which trigger a big insulin response. The result is your body stores that excess glucose as body fat if you aren’t doing enough exercise to burn it off. Whole grains and slow-release carbs, such as sweet potatoes and brown rice, are healthier alternatives.
Being active not only helps you lose centimetres from your waist, it also keeps your heart and bones strong and improves your insulin sensitivity (reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes). Physical activity kicks in feel-good endorphins, and it can even make you smarter!
If time poor, try a 15–20 minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) session, or put your trainers on and start walking — everywhere.If you’re desk bound, then get up and move around the room every half an hour.
Keep calm and carry on
Under stress, your body releases cortisol, which stimulates your appetite, slows metabolism and encourages fat to linger inside your abdomen. Yoga meditation breathing has been shown to help people manage stress. Or try an exercise such as swimming laps to release those feel-good hormones.
Eat protein at every meal
Protein keeps you full for longer, your body expends energy to burn it, and it keeps muscles healthy.The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism and the more kilojoules you’ll burn each day. We lose 10 per cent of our muscle mass each decade after the age of 30, which means our metabolism slows down unless we balance our food with exercise.
Restrict starchy carbs to lunch
You’ll have more time to digest and use them as energy rather than storing them as fat, which happens when you eat close to bedtime. Starchy carbs include wholegrain bread, couscous, pasta, rice and potatoes. At dinnertime, get creative with veg, and keep carbs to one-quarter of your plate.
Drop meal sizes during the day
You know the saying: breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper, yet most of us do it the other way round. Getting a good breakfast with enough protein will kick-start your metabolism and keep you going until lunchtime — so you’re less likely to snack on high-sugar, high-fat foods mid-morning.
Celebrate quiet victories
When you cut back on kilojoules, your body usually burns visceral fat first. Add exercise to the mix, and you’ll move further along the path of losing more of that fat. So, even if the number on the scales doesn’t shift, you’ll be losing centimetres from your waist, which is a huge win for your health!
Stress encourages fat to linger in your abdomen, so try yoga as a way to manage your mood