Just a quick note before I get into the topic of this post. The most common question I get emailed is, how do you get rid of belly fat/lower belly fat? While many people are concerned about their belly pouches truth be told women have a naturally pudgy lower belly section for a reason! For when you give birth. Our bellies were designed to be able to stretch to hold a baby, so that lower belly pouch that you are constantly starring it.. its natural, we all have it - don't worry about it!
I believe there are certain foods and many contributors that can cause belly fat. From how you eat to the daily stressors we are exposed to. Excess belly fat is not healthy nor sexy! It has been linked to diabetes, disease and cancer. In this post you can fund the truth about excess belly fat and the relationship with HORMONES & NUTRITION, including 5 of the worst food that contribute to belly fat.
Hormones are chemical messengers that give signals when and where they are needed in the body. When you have high stress your body releases certain hormones (cortisol, epinephrine & norepinephrine) that are produced in our adrenal glands. It can be normal for these hormones to fluctuate throughout the day but when you are stressed all the time, your cortisol level goes up and likes to stay there. What is the importance of cortisol and belly fat? Our bodies resists fat and weight loss when to much cortisol is being released. This is why we hold onto fat as a safety mechanism - our body is working in overtime and holds onto the fat. In the process of being stressed.. coritsol can turn our "healthy fat" into "unhealthy fat" which surrounds our organs and digestive system. On top of this cortisol and belly fat relationship, we actually have more cortisol receptors in our gut then we do anywhere else in the body. Which may be why you see so many people with a large belly now a days, we live in a extremely stressful and demanding society!
The more belly fat you have leads to more cortisol being released due to a higher concentration of cortisol enzymes (coritsone) located in the gut receptors and fat itself. The worst part about stress is that when we are unhappy with our bodies we tend to get even more stressed, releasing more of these hormones that can have potential harmful effects to our body. So, if you are living a stressful life my advice to you would be to CUT THE STRESS to CUT THE FAT. Find ways to de-stress yourself! Pick up a hobby, meet with friends and family, take a yoga class, take a spa day.. do whatever you have to do to reduce your cortisol levels. You are more important then anyone else, this is your only body! Ladies! Want to know how to balance your hormones naturally? Check out my post about natural hormone balance! Use the search engine.
Certain foods like to challenge the digestive system, cause inflammation and pack on the pounds - which is why it is important to learn what foods work best for your body and avoid the foods that don't. Excess belly fat is not sexy or healthy! What you eat is going to be one of the main contributors to belly fat. If you are eating whole foods packed with nutrients, antioxidants and LIFE your body will functioning to its best ability! On the other hand if you are eating processed foods that come out of a box on a daily basis, you are not giving your body what it needs to be functioning efficiently. Most of the processed foods that are available are packed with carbohydrates, sugar and fat. I could go on and on about the preservatives and fillers but that is a totally different topic of discussion! When we eat carbohydrates our bodies digests them as sugar. When you eat a large amount of carbohydrates your blood sugar levels rise, which triggers the release of a hormone (insulin) to lower the blood sugar level. This hormone insulin ends up converting sugar to FAT. Refined carbohydrates like processed grains, candy, pop & sugar lack nutritional value and will be digested much faster then complex carbohydrates like vegetables, fruit and lentils. This means refined carbohydrates like will spike blood sugar levels faster leading to more fat! Diets high in refined carbohydrates are shown to have high risk of obesity, diabetes and cancer. Choosing complex carbohydrates and whole foods will lower your blood sugar levels and reduce the amount of sugar being turned into fat! Not to mention reduce food cravings & inflammation and enhances mood.
5 Of The Worst Foods For Your Belly
1. CARBOHYDRATE DENSE FOODS Personally, I believe there are good carbs and bad carbs! In my eyes refined carbohydrates like pop, sugar and candy fall under the bad category. While complex carbohydrates like vegetables, lentils and fruit are under he good category. I recommend to avoid refined carbohydrates to reduce belly fat and choosing complex carbohydrates to help build lean toned muscle! Like I said above carbohydrates are digested as sugar, our blood sugar levels then rise, insulin is released and the digested sugar is stored as fat. Carbohydrate dense foods also tend to trigger inflammation and decrease the balance of beneficial gut bacteria. 2. UNHEALTHY - PROCESSED FATS I don't think I need to describe this one to much haha. It's common sense, eating to much processed fat overtime can cause fat gain! There is a huge difference between healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Unhealthy fats like trans fats and saturated fats are linked to obesity, inflammation and excess belly fat. But studies have shown that healthy fats found in olive oil, avocados and certain foods can actually help you burn fat when consumed in moderation. Obviously you don't want to be eating to much fat if your goal is to burn fat! So consume healthy fats daily, but in moderation. 3. EXCESS SUGAR Excess sugar goes hand and hand with #1 of this list. Unfortunately, our bodies loves to convert sugar to fat! A lot of the time, the sugar we eat cannot be digested or absorbed properly. It ends up sitting in our gut and ferments with bacteria. Fermented food in your stomach will cause bloating, gas, cramps etc. making you feel very uncomfortable! If you encourage a healthy gut with healing protocols and good bacteria, you can help with the digestion and absorption of sugar and all foods. . Excess sugar not only leads to belly fat and overall fat gain but it increases the acidity in our body. Toxicity starts in a acidic environment which can lead to health issues like disease and cancer. Choose foods that keep the body alkaline like vegetables and fruit, while limiting the amount of sugar you eat! 4. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS Stay away from artificial sweeteners! Sweeteners are added to about 6,000 + different products on the shelves. They are all man made sweeteners to trigger your taste buds so you are craving to buy more. Did you know there are over 10,000 cases of reactions to artificial sweeteners? It has been linked to migraines, seizures, depression and brain damage in mice. Artificial sweeteners are not only harmful to the body but they can trick your body into storing fat. Your body gets fooled by a extremely sweet taste, missing the calories. When we eat something sweet our brain releases the happy hormone called dopamine - which activates the reward center in our brain. But since sweeteners don't have any calories, our brain's pleasure pathway still gets activated by the sweetness on our taste buds so we look for something else to eat to satisfy the missing calories. These sweeteners basically trick your body into thinking that it's going to receive calories, but when they don't come your body continues to crave something more. This can result in binge eating leading to fat gain! Alternative Natural Sweeteners: Stevia, Xylitol, Brown Rice Syrup, Maple Syrup, Honey, Agave 5. MILK - DAIRY PRODUCTS Dairy products causing sensitivities is extremely popular right now. I couldn't tell you how many people including myself, have chosen to go dairy-free or limit the dairy intake! Many people have experienced side effects drinking milk or consuming dairy products and have chosen to make the switch to organic based dairy, limiting or have completely cut it out of there diet. Lactose is a type of sugar found in all animal milk. Lactose is broken down in our small intestine by an enzyme we produce called lactase. As we get older, our bodies produce less lactase (since its main purpose is to help babies digest breast milk) which means dairy foods that contain lactose can aggravate our digestive tract over time, even if never did before. The dairy farming has grown fast and is extremely demanding, meaning not all those poor cow's are going to be healthy. They feed them processed grains to be cheap and fill the food with anti-biotics so the cow's won't get sick and die from eating the processed grains - which is actually foreign to a cow's body. Pretty sad isn't it? Our society is building up a resistance to these anti-biotics that are going in animal food and are building up sensitivities to the processed foreignness that are in the animals. Goat milk is also a great alternative to maybe try or what I recommend is to use nut milk! They have plenty of non-dairy based milk's available at grocery stores. TIP: you can get calcium from plenty of other sources like dark leafy greens and broccoli.
If losing belly fat is your MAIN goal, I would highly recommend using:
- 8 week Full Body Bundle
- 4 week HIIT Program
These programs are specifically designed to burn fat, increase lean muscle and sculpt the body!