Is it possible to target fat loss in the belly area? Many of you have probably wondered about this. Well, it is, in a way. Although it is difficult to target fat loss in other areas of the body, typically excess fat in the abdominal area can be a sign of insulin resistance. Anything we can do to help our insulin sensitivity can help! When looking for weight loss help, remember create habits over time, give yourself room to “not be perfect” and celebrate the changes you are making for your health!
Here are 5 ways to target fat loss in that mid-section!
Spend time on weight training
Many people focus their efforts on aerobic exercise (which is important for so many other reasons!) but spending time on building muscle helps you not only burn more calories at rest by increasing your basal metabolic rate, but also helps your body respond to the hormone insulin. This allows your body to respond more efficiently to insulin, leading to less of a spike in that weight gain hormone.
Reduced the processed foods
When it comes to nutrition, no matter what plan you follow, we need to work to reduce our addiction and dependence on processed food. Agree? Packaged foods like cookies, chips & cakes are loaded with refined sugar that results in a spike in your blood sugar & subsequently insulin, driving storage in the form of body fat. The fat in these foods can pack a lot of calories too! The saturated fat in such foods also can lead to more deposition of fat in the liver, which has negative effects on insulin sensitivityà aka fat gain in the belly. According to the WHO, women should limit added sugar to 25g a day and men should limit to 35 g a day.
Eat more fiber
What else can you do to optimize your nutrition? If you add more fiber-rich foods like plant-based option such as beans, lentils, and loads of vegetables and fruit, you can feel full for longer, leading you to have less cravings for high calorie foods. You will also spike your blood sugar less and feed prebiotics to those healthy gut bacteria that help to keep your metabolism healthy. Aim for 30-40 g/day and go slow as you add these foods to avoid abdominal discomfort!
Spend less time sitting
If you can increase the time you spend moving, you can increase NEAT (the calories we burn during any movement not related to formal exercise). This results in an increase in the total calories you burn in a day. An added bonus is a decreased death rate for people who sit less! Some ideas to get more movement: Get a standing desk, take calls while pacing, dance while you cook, set an alert to get up every hour or take the stairs. You get the idea- move more!
Consider tracking your calories
Most of us underestimate how many calories we are consuming daily. The little snacking here and there can add up! The idea long term is of course to eat intuitively. Short term, using an app that helps you calculate what you are eating can not only give you an idea about calories but also about whether you are getting enough protein and fiber and if you are overdoing the sugar! Helpful apps are Myfitnesspal or Carb Manager
I love working with my patients on helping them make sustainable nutrition and lifestyle changes ! Whether for weight loss help, diabetes prevention, improved heart health or just to feel better overall, there are so many benefits to being mindful about our food, movement and our choices day to day.
Which of these habits can you start working on today?