Belly Fat is a 21st Century killer that shows no signs of slowing down. In fact new research has revealed more dangers of belly fat than we previously knew about.
We’ve known for a long time that increased levels of belly fat can contribute to a host of deadly diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
But, if that weren’t bad enough, a recent study seemed to indicate that belly fat actually doubles the chances of premature death – by any cause!
Belly fat DOUBLES your chances of premature death!
Rather than tackle the problem, people seem more concerned by finding cute names for it.
You know the ones – ‘love handles’, ‘holiday weight’ or ‘a spare tyre’.
The Solution to Belly Fat is Not a New Gadget or Miracle Pill
Clever marketers have successfully persuaded us for a number of years that the answer to belly fat lies in a new exercise gadget (the kind of thing you see on late night shopping channels!)
Other marketers would have us believe that the answer doesn’t lie with fancy gadgets but in a ‘miracle-pill’. These marketers are so good at writing convincing headlines, blending a modicum of ‘science‘ with marketing hype that a lot of people are entirely hoodwinked.
Well if you recognise the dangers of belly fat and want to do something about it, we’ve got good news and bad news.
First the bad news!
Losing belly fat, takes effort. There’s no miracle cure or fancy gadget that can do the work for you.
If you recognise the serious dangers of carrying too much belly fat and want to do something about it you have to put in some good old fashioned hard work.
It takes time, effort and willpower.
But now for the good news…
The solution to the problem of our growing waistlines and rapidly growing obesity epidemic is fairly straightforward.
Tackling belly fat involves focusing on 4 key areas of health – they are; Sleep, Nutrition, Activity (Exercise) and Stress Reduction.
We’ve put together this simple plan to help you get started beating your belly fat today.
N.B. Although we don’t believe in ‘magic’ weight-loss shortcuts there are a few simple things you can do to accelerate your progress, or make some of the steps a bit easier. For each of the 4 key areas we’ve listed a handy suggestion for you.
Skimping on sleep is a disaster if you’re trying to lose belly fat.
Sleep deprivation seriously diminishes your willpower, making it almost impossible to resist the unhealthy, calorie-laden foods that are causing us so much damage.
As well as weakening your resolve, the simple act of staying awake longer and later actually encourages the consumption of more unnecessary calories.
2. How to Improve Your Sleep
Scientists recently discovered that drinking two glasses of cherry juice every day, dramatically improves the quality of sleep and its duration.
So, if you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, instead of reaching for sleeping pills, drink a small glass of cherry juice in the morning and a small glass again in the evening.
You should see a significant improvement in your sleep within 2 weeks. Making it easier to reduce your calorie consumption and resist those tempting treats.
Natural foods such as fruits and vegetables are not calorie dense. Which means you can eat a fair amount of them without piling on the calories.
Processed foods on the other hand are laden with calories, but they don’t make you feel full.
In fact, a recent study has shown that eating processed foods can lead to a dramatic increase in unhealthy food cravings.
Another study (admittedly involving mice) found that eating certain processed foods resulted in additional weight gain, even when the subject ate the same amount of calories as another subject being fed a more natural diet!
A recent study revealed that mice who were fed a diet of processed food gained more weight than other mice consuming the same amount of calories from natural foods!
4. How to Resist Cravings for Processed Food
If you’re addicted to cookies, fries and chips this can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be!
Rather than fighting your food craving, you could indulge in a spot of ‘mindfulness’.
The next time an insatiable desire for a custard-filled doughtnut overtakes you (or whatever your specific weakness is) rather than fighting the urge. Simply acknowledge it.
You and the urge for a doughnut exist in the same universe.
You don’t have to fight the urge, resist it or berate yourself for being so weak. You simply acknowledge that the urge exists.
After a while you should start to feel the urge subside!
It’s not an exact science and don’t feel deflated if sometimes your urges get the better of you.
But the more you practice co-existing with your food urges rather than fighting them, the less frequent and the less intense the cravings will be.
Coupled with the fact that your body will grow to love the nutritious foods you’re feeding it, you should find that the challenge of eating more healthful foods isn’t as overwhelming as you first feared.
5. Activity (Exercise)
Once you’ve made progress with your sleep patterns and healthful nutrition it’s times to start introducing some gentle activity, or exercise, into the mix!
Any activity is better than nothing.
So, you don’t have to don those neon jog pants and head out for a 5km run. Instead you can pick an activity that you enjoy, maybe playing tennis or soccer with friends, or inviting your friends over to do a workout at home.
To get the most benefit from your workout, it should elevate your pulse for a few minutes. A good indicator that you’re working out at the right intensity is that you should feel slightly breathless during your exercise. You shouldn’t be so breathless that you can’t speak, but you should struggle to complete a sentence.
6. How to Start an Exercise Program
The best advice is to pick something you enjoy. There’s a whole host of fitness dvds and books featuring programs that you can do from the comfort of your own home.
We’ve spoken at length about the benefits of working out at home, as opposed to visiting the local gym. But sometimes, for beginners, it can seem hard to know where to start.
So pick a fun fitness DVD, or app, that suits your personality and requirements. Make a commitment to do your program 4-5 times each week, for about 15-20 minutes.
If you don’t want to exercise on your own, invite your family, friends or workmates over and make an evening of it. You can rotate whose home you visit each week, and turn it into more of a social occasion.
As well as performing your fitness program together, you can swap stories, help each other with challenges and even share healthful recipes that you’re enjoying.
There’s no doubt that a weekly workout at home session adds to the ‘fun’ factor.
But you’ll also find that the accountability and camaraderie of having a group of friends or ‘exercise buddies’ makes it a lot easier to stick to your program!
7. Stress Reduction
As well as being a huge health problem in its own right, stress is a key contributor to the obesity problem we’re experiencing in the Western world.
It seems we are so overrun that oftentimes we have the sensation of hunger but what we’re actually experiencing is our bodies reaction to stress.
This becomes a vicious cycle – we reach for unhealthy foods that seem to comfort us and calm down our feelings of anxiety. Sure, they work in the short-term.
But, pretty soon, those feelings of anxiety return. So we eat even more. Our increasing consumption of processed foods weakens our body even further which in turn makes us even more stressed!
8. How to Reduce Your Stress Levels
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress.
So you should find that if you take the advice offered in Step 3, your stress will start to diminish.
But, there are other ways to reduce your stress.
A simple measure is to cut down on the amount of commitments you make to other people, and make more time for yourself.
The art of saying ‘No’ to friends and family is a difficult one to master. But it can be done.
So, have a good look at your social schedule and see what commitments you can do without.
Politely explain to people that you’re schedule is changing and going forward you can no longer honor the commitment.
With the added time that you gain, do something relaxing that’s entirely for yourself. Maybe you want to read a book, or go for a walk, or listen to a jazz LP or even have a long indulgent bath. They’re all fine options as long as they relax you.
To get the most from your new ‘Relaxation Time’ avoid gadgets and simulating electronic games. Instead aim for pursuits that are entirely relaxing and disconnected from the digital world!
Beating belly fat isn’t easy. But it is simple and it can be done!
Focus on making small changes in 4 key areas of your life – Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise and Stress Reduction – one at a time.
Don’t get stressed if occasionally you falter, or revert to a bad habit. Keep following these simple steps and you can avoid all the dangers and discomfort that belly fat brings with it!