As we age, we become more susceptible to the dreaded “spare tire.”
Many people search for information on how to lose belly fat with exercise ideas, tools tips, and more. We often chalk this belly bulge up to metabolism, but its roots often go deeper than its layer of fat. To win the battle of the bulge by reducing belly fat, we have to take a look at the bigger picture. Here are some key tips on how to lose belly fat naturally.
Easier said than done, right? It’s important to understand that when we’re constantly stressed, we send our cortisol levels into a tizzy. Cortisol, the stress hormone, runs the show. It puts the body into a fight-or-flight response that releases energy and shuts down certain systems of the body to prioritize functions. Although hunger may be paused during peak moments of stress, the amount of energy we use during a stressful event may kick our appetite into high gear in order to replenish the body. In addition, when we stress-eat, it’s harder for our bodies to monitor our food consumption (therefore leading to overeating).
The next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take a few moments to step back and recalibrate. It’s helpful to make a mental list of the major concerns in your life, at that moment, and break them down into manageable pieces. Too often, one stress leads to another, and another…and another. Acknowledging the situation, rather than falling into victim or martyrdom territory, allows you to take control and work through it mindfully. When we don’t own our stress, our stress starts to own us!
Eat a High Fiber, Whole Food Diet
When focused on a flat stomach, we’re likely to get caught up in all the things we shouldn’t eat rather than what we should have on hand. It’s a good idea to get to know your fiber intake and determine if it’s working for you. Although insoluble fiber can help curb appetite by taking up “room” in the stomach; soluble fiber offers the same benefit with added bonuses. When we consume soluble fiber, found in legumes, fruits, and veggies; we feel more full due to the gel-like substance that forms within the stomach. In addition, cholesterol is blocked and insulin spikes are prevented.
Soluble fiber that comes in a whole-food package is even better. Whole foods are unprocessed foods that are naturally filling and chock full of nutrition. Eating or blending fruits and veggies with their skins still intact helps boost fiber and increase antioxidant intake.
Resolve Emotional Pain or Trauma
Did you know that your body can turn emotional trauma into fat? Cortisol levels do play some part in this phenomenon (remember the fight-or-flight domino effect?). On a metaphysical level, our thoughts become things, and our physical bodies are no exception. The areas where fat tends to store in the belly are related, energetically, to our emotions. People with pronounced mid-sections may find that they’re holding on to abusive memories, addictions, control issues, and feelings of anger. It’s also theorized that fat cells gather due to an emotional need to protect the self.
In this case, no amount of exercise or dieting will abolish the issue. Solely focusing on the physical narrows the scope and prevents us from seeing trauma or emotion-based causes. It’s important to address the root, get to the bottom of it, and see what comes up for you on an emotional level. Always remember to be gentle with yourself, and to seek out a qualified holistic practitioner or psychologist who can help you safely manage your hidden or unexplored reasons and start reducing your belly fat.
Check for Hormonal Imbalances
When your body feels out of whack, it’s a good idea to start looking at your hormone levels. Imbalanced hormones are often at the root of stress, insomnia, and (you guessed it) weight gain. A combination of low testosterone, high estrogen, low DHEA, and the aforementioned high cortisol, in particular, can add to that pesky belly fat. Thankfully, there are a plethora of natural ways to balance your hormones once you’ve determined that your endocrine system is vying for your attention and care.
The biggest gift you can give your fluctuating hormones is consistent sleep, sleep, and more sleep. Sleep is essential for repair and rejuvenation. Catching plenty of winks ensures healthy melatonin production. When melatonin is in lack, other hormones are affected, and the whole endocrine system can become compromised. Digestive health is another piece of the hormone puzzle, as well, since gut issues can quickly cause problems in other areas of the body. Make sure to up your water intake and pay attention to the quality of your food (fresh and organic whenever possible).
Core strengthening exercises
These are more fun than they sound, promise! Rather than aiming to reach 1,000 crunches a day, there are more pleasant alternatives to building up the abdominal wall.
Yoga is a great practice for those who are looking to tone and tighten while nurturing their inner “ohm.” There are many simple poses that focus on the core and bring vitality, strength, and rejuvenation to the tummy through breathwork and mindful intention.
Pilates strengthens the muscle wall underneath the layer of fat in the abdomen. It gives you a rock-hard foundation to work with. Blast away the fat completely, by truly engaging your core. No burn, no budging the bulge!
Vibration machines may bring to mind mid-century housewives and outdated fitness fads, but the modern versions are nothing to sneeze at. Combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet, vibration machines can help you get rid of the lingering problem areas.
Rebounding is arguably the most fun way to get rid of fat. Who doesn’t look for an excuse to do some trampolining? Bouncing helps get your blood pumping and core engaged while going easy on the bones and joints. Add strength training and a mindful diet into the equation to bounce your belly issues away.
Once we’re armed with the knowledge of how and why our bodies store fat, we’re better able to initiate long-lasting changes. Those changes benefit our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves. Let’s start learning how to work with the body from the inside out and reducing belly fat.