Belly fat – or those extra inches you can pinch around your middle – has been linked to some serious health issues. If you’re like many of my fitness clients, getting rid of belly fat is on their workout wish list. In a previous post, I shared ideas on what to add to your diet or exercise regimen to target belly fat.
Today, let’s turn that around a bit and zero in on those items to avoid.
Belly Fat Culprits
I often tell my clients not to expect perfection. Even so, if you can minimize these four culprits, you’ll be on your way to a flatter tummy.
1. Overdoing It With Alcohol
In moderation alcohol isn’t bad for you. There are numerous studies citing where a glass of wine can actually contribute to a healthy lifestyle. It’s when you have three plus drinks in a day — even infrequently — you may be adding to your belly fat. Overdoing it with alcohol not only dehydrates you, it is sabotaging your efforts to lose unwanted pounds. My recommendation is to space out your drinking. I’ve found that limiting consumption to a specific day (like a weekend evening) so you have no more than a glass or two is helpful in maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.
2. Trans Fat Consumption
Even if you’re watching your calorie consumption, food with trans fat can cause belly fat weight gain. Trans fats are found in processed food like salty snacks. Get into the habit of checking labels. Trans fat is known to hide in unusual places like bran cereals, and reduced or low fat ice creams.
3. Minor Stress
I can hear you now… living in Silicon Valley comes with stress! Even so, figuring out how to reduce your stress can help release that stubborn belly fat. A University of California San Francisco study found that those eaters who didn’t relax five minutes before they ate actually gained more weight. Whatever you choose to eat, take a few minutes to relax first. Then, practice mindful eating — where you pay attention to your food rather than on electronic gadgets. Most likely you’ll find that you’ll get fuller faster and feel more satisfied.
Another way to reduce your stress is regular exercise. If the idea of walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes sounds boring, it’s probably an indication you need variety in your work outs. Try a boot camp or zumba class. People who exercise regularly have less belly fat and are better able to cope with life’s normal stress levels.
4) Added Sugar
Added sugar is in SO many things like salad dressings, jarred pasta sauce, fruit flavored yogurt, and juices. Read your labels! If you eat packaged foods, you may be eating quite a bit of added sugar. Studies have shown that added sugar in the American diet is making people fatter. There’s a reason some researchers now call big waistlines “sugar bellies”.
This week as you eat your meals, look at the 4 things to avoid above and see what you can do to minimize some of the “Belly Fat Builders” in your normal eating routine.
Remember, every little thing you do to eat just a little better makes a difference. Occasional indulgences are fine. Pig out once in awhile! It’s the things you do (or don’t do!) on a daily basis that create the body you’re living in today.
Man on Bench: http://www.flickr.com/photos/52890443@N02/4887846284/
Chips and Salsa: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffk/31573766/