Can You Really Lose Just Belly Fat?
The quick ‘n dirty answer is yes…and no.
The no part is that “spot reduction” or losing fat from just one area on your body has officially been labeled as a myth. Fat can’t just choose to come off from only one area!
So, it truly doesn’t matter how many crunches you do or the number of ways you exercise your abdominal muscles - you’re not going to suddenly be equipped with a 6-pack unless you focus on the bigger body composition picture - and that’s a combination of exercise AND nutrition.
But, the real question should be this: why are you seeing excess fat on your belly in the first place? Perhaps it’s your genetic predisposition to have a belly pouch or it’s due to advancing age, but it could also be due to two other key players: stress and hormones.
Too much of the body’s stress hormone, Cortisol, is one of the reasons you could be storing excess fat in your abdominal area, so addressing it can do more for your pouchy belly than all of the crunches in the world!
Not only does Cortisol tend to drive fat deposition into the stomach area (and it’s more the deep visceral fat surrounding your organs), but when you’re chronically stressed, you also tend to overeat! That’s a double whammy to our health thanks to stress.
More about tackling that in a bit. But, here’s the yes part…
The 4 ways to make your tummy appear slimmer (without relying on mythical spot reduction!)
Eat a balanced diet, rich in whole foods because abs are built in the kitchen! I’m sure you’re sick of hearing that one, but there’s plenty of truth in it. Incorporating the following into your daily diet are the nutritional keys to a slimmer midsection:
High quality sources of protein
Slow-low complex carbs
Whole fruits and vegetables
A healthy daily dose of good fats, like avocados and olive oil
Did you know that excess sugar consumption may be the primary nutritional driver of excess fat in the belly and liver? This is particularly true of sugary beverages like soft drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup (or glucose-fructose). So, ditch the sugar! Sugary foods (and drinks) are renowned for creating excess belly bloat as well as contributing to an increasingly common condition known as insulin resistance which is a classic contributor to love handles.
Pay attention to your digestive system. Be sure to help your body’s complex digestive process, and keep bloating and gas to a minimum by doing some or all of the following:
Eating a balanced, whole foods diet
Eating probiotic-rich foods
Eating slowly, and mindfully - chew your food!
Watch portion sizes
Overall body fat loss with full-body training, including strength training. High intensity interval or HIIT training is thought to be most effective for body fat loss.
However, it is thought that certain areas have more metabolically active fat cells than others - as in they respond better to exercise and healthy eating measures. Those that are considered “active” are: chest, arms, and stomach. But those that are not especially active, and do not respond as well to diet and exercise are: butt, hips, and thighs.
Ways to tackle your stress - and prevent excess belly fat accumulation by regulating Cortisol
GET MORE GOOD QUALITY SLEEP - Short sleep or poor-quality sleep may lead to weight gain, including belly fat accumulation.
EXERCISE AND MOVE YOUR BODY DAILY - Not only does exercising regularly do a body good, but it’s a totally underrated stress reliever!
CARVE OUT MORE TIME FOR SELF-CARE - meditation, yoga, hot bath, breathing, reading, listening to music, go for a walk, spend time with trusted and supportive friends… and the list could go on!
Understanding Food Cravings Guide
Cravings are something we all deal with, and it's fascinating how deep the meaning goes for why we crave certain things. I used to drive myself nuts trying to ignore my food cravings – especially when I was stressed out. Now, I find that there is a rhyme and reason to what I crave and that listening a little more closely to my body helps me avoid them.
Let’s figure out where your cravings are coming from, how to satisfy them in a healthy way, and how to ditch them in the future. Download my free guide!