Muffin top or jelly belly are just some of the ways we talk about our mid-sections or our stomach areas. This region of our bodies causes the most stress to us when we look in the mirror or are getting dressed. Aside from the health risk that having a large belly poses to us we also have to deal with the self-confidence issues that go with it. Either one is not good for our physical well-being and is something that we can all do something about.
If you are ready to battle that jelly belly and start with a healthier new you then go through this article and its various scientifically proven points. Remember just reading the article is not going to flatten your belly. You actually have to do the work.
Starting the new year with a flatter belly will not only benefit your health-wise but will certainly boost your confidence. No more having to hide under loose fitting tops. A flatter belly will allow you to wear that body hugging fashion items that you have hidden in the back of your closet. Like everything in life, you need to exercise and proceed with moderation.
This is not an overnight fix for your muffin top. This is a guideline to help you proceed forward with a structured plan to slowly turn the fat on your midsection into a flatter and learner area. As you shed the weight so your confidence in yourself will grow as well. When we feel good we look good.
1. Reduce your calorie intake
It’s a proven fact that if you reduce your calorie intake daily you will lose weight. But you can’t just drastically reduce it as this will lead to other issues. You need to ensure that your body is getting the fuel it needs to keep up its functions.
Let’s start with the simplest way to reduce calories almost instantly – cut out all sugar from your diet. Say goodbye to those things we nibble on at night; carbonated drinks, chocolates, and crisps. They are all loaded with sugar. When we consume these at night they are literally just going to sit on our belly’s like a lump of lard.
Sugar is a useless calorie waster. It has no national value what so ever to your body. In today’s world, we consume way to much sugar. It’s also found in just about any product that is preserved i.e. if it’s in a can or has a shelf life of longer than a few days you know that it has sugar added to it to keep it preserved. Just cut in out of your daily “food” intake.
If you have a sweet tooth doesn’t panic as there are other natural sugars that you can use. Just do a bit of research. But seriously though if you can go cold turkey this is the best for you in the long run. It won’t take more than a few days for you to get used to not having sugar. Yes, you are going to get cravings, but just ignore these or have a glass of water when you feel you want something sweet. Just cutting out sugar from your diet is going to make such a difference within a few weeks.
2. Increase your fiber intake
Fiber is a vital part of a healthy and balanced diet. It helps prevent health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some forms of cancers. It also improves our digestive health. Most people today do not get enough fiber into their bodies and this we need to change. It’s a really simple and highly effective way of changing our daily diets.
There are foods that are high in fiber and these include peas, apples, oats, beans, citrus fruits, carrots just to mention a few. These fibers help our bodies move the contents of what we have consumed out of the colon and help produce bulky stools. It’s like an agent to help the waste removal truck move the garbage from one place to the next. In that way, they prevent you from constipation.
Because fiber is derived from plants our bodies cannot digest it and only uses it to aid our bodies by moving waste out of our systems. As we cannot digest fiber it does not provide any calories to our system like other foods. Soluble fibers dissolve in water in our digestive system and this helps reduce the amount of cholesterol in our bloodstream.
If you are constipated (this will make you bloated and heavier) and you increase your fiber intake and water these will soften your stools and allow them to pass easier. Our bodies need a healthy balanced diet to keep it functioning well and too often we load up on the bad things and forget about the good things. Simple one here to follow cut out sugars and add fiber to your daily diet.
3. It’s in the probiotics
Probiotics are live micro-organisms that help our bodies fight off and treat a variety of illnesses. It helps promote a healthy digestive system and boosts our immune system. They are friendly and do a lot of good in keeping us healthy. Simply put they are healthy bacteria that our bodies need. Like other beneficial bacteria, these help your body to function properly.
Many may not know this, but there are more probiotics in the human body than cells and these probiotics will boost your immune system, help prevent; urinary tract infections, inflammatory bowel conditions, helping to prevent eczema in kids, and fight foodborne illnesses. This ensures that the gut is healthy.
Why do I then need to add probiotics to my diet you may ask? If you don’t have enough probiotics in your system, it simply does not work so well and if your digestive tract is not working well you will be carrying around a lot of stool in your system and best to get rid of it. You will weigh less and you won’t be bloated.
The best source of probiotics is yogurt. However, If you follow a dairy-free diet or are lactose intolerant do not panic or stress. You can buy excellent supplements over the counter that will give you the probiotics that your body needs. Note that probiotics are considered a supplement and not a drug so many of them may not have been tested and approved. Just be mindful of what you take. If you are not sure then speak to your doctor or your pharmacist what can recommend a probiotic supplement for you.
You have heard this a million times. You have to exercise your body. You can’t expect it to perform and look good if you just sit on the couch and vegetate. When we move we burn calories. When we burn calories we lose weight. When we exercise we are moving our muscles and joints. When muscles are exercised they look better
Even the simplest form of exercise will help you lose that weight. One of the best forms of exercise is either walking (we cover that in depth a bit further down) or swimming. Resistance training is always best as it creates long and strong muscles.
You don’t need to rush out now and join a gym or get a personal trainer. It’s such a simple thing – just start moving. If you are sitting down you can exercise. Move your arms and legs. Create a simple pattern of movement for yourself and do it every day. In fact, as you get out of bed in the morning you can have a simple yet effective 20-minute movement session.
If the thought of exercise and sweating just does not do it for you then put out on your favorite radio station or cd or mp3 and just move to the music. Twenty minutes a day will go a long way to get you moving. Once you start you will feel better and keeping the routine going daily will become fun. Once you lose the weight don’t stop moving. By continuing with your exercise daily and reducing your calories you are already on the road to having a healthier body and mind.
5. Protein is power
Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies. They keep our system strong and help the body create enzymes, hormones and other chemicals needed in our bodies. They also assist in building the cells. Did you know that our hair and nails are mostly protein? Proteins are used to build and repair our body tissue. It’s also vital for our bones, muscles, cartilages, skin, and blood.
As you start losing weight your body will also lose both muscle and fat. During any weight loss regime, it is vitally important to continue to eat enough proteins in your daily diet. Having enough protein coming into your body in the form of food will help to provide the fuel your body needs to burn fat whilst maintaining a calorie-burning lean muscle.
Proteins have a very important role in our bodies; proteins are needed to build and repair our body tissues, they provide hormones and enzymes that our bodies need to function; they provide energy and help boost our immune system. Good protein sources are seafood, poultry, dairy, eggs, beans, lean beef, and soy. Again everything in moderation is key.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, then you can have these high protein foods; tofu, lentils, chickpeas, green peas. If you are a gymmer, you can also opt for protein shakes. You can always go online and find a healthy and balanced diet outline best suited for you. So to do a quick recap; no sugar what so ever, high fiber, high protein, and exercise daily. We are getting there to help you start your weight loss and getting rid of that jelly belly. But wait there’s more (as they say in those infomercials).
6. It’s in the FAT
I have often thought that having fat whilst trying to lose fat was a massive contradiction. But a healthy body needs good fat so you are able to burn off the bad fat. Don’t get me wrong there are bad fats, but what we are looking for are the good fats. The ones we need to have in our diets are Monounsaturated fatty acids are liquid at room temperature and usually categorized among the “good fats.”
Studies have shown that diets high in monounsaturated fats are beneficial to you. These fatty acids help to prevent the accumulation of stomach fat – the collection of fat around the stomach is dangerous for you and you need to keep it under control and avoid obesity which is one of the most prevalent killers in our word today. Avoid using oils in your food and things like deep friend “anything” is an absolute no-no. This can harm your body.
There are plenty of foods around that are good for you and will provide the healthy fats your body needs. Things like; avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, whole eggs, nuts, chia seed and virgin olive oil. Some simple guidelines to follow are; avoid proteins at night, eat your healthy fats at breakfast time and avoid them at night. Full cream milk and yogurts are great.
Not only are you getting in good fats, but you are keeping your system fueled with probiotics. If you are vegetarian or vegan then coconut milk is great. Butter or margarine? Margarine is made from vegetable oils and it contains the good fats. Butter comes from an animal so it contains cholesterol and saturated fat. You decide. Alternatively, you can use nut butter (unless of course, you have a nut allergy).
7. Carbing it down!
When we are looking to reduce our body mass through weight loss then we want to follow a diet that has no sugar, is high in protein and LOW in carbohydrates. Why? Sugar is a complete wasted carbohydrate as it has absolutely no value what so ever. It only helps you have the necessary energy faster than the other foods.
High starch foods (carbohydrates) such as bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes are not good. Whilst they are tasty they fill our bodies with carbs that are not good for us if we are trying to lose weight. So just cut them out. After a while, you won’t even miss them.
When we remove carbs from our diet we are then reducing the amount of insulin that your body produces. Our bodies also start losing all the excess water in our system. Whilst this reduces weight quickly it is not healthy for you. You have to have carbohydrates in your diet. But which ones can you have?
You can have barley, whole wheat pasta, acorn squash, legumes, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, black beans, oatmeal, and quinoa. You can have between 100 to 150 grams of carbohydrates in a day. Remember you should be having a daily intake of about 2500 (if you are male) and about 2000 calories per day (if you are female). You have to work out what percentage of your daily intake can be allocated to your carbs. But if you stay in the 100 to 150 grams per day you will be fine. Also, remember to have them either in the morning or afternoon and try to avoid them at night.
Resistance can be looked at in two ways here. One is to resist the temptation to load up on sugars and carbs or two is resistance physical exercise. Here I am going to follow on the resistance training path as we have already covered the cutting out of sugar completely and reducing our carbohydrate intake.
By doing resistance exercise we are increasing our muscle strength as we are making them work against either a force or weight. Here you can look at things like swimming, using free weights or even resistance bands. Remember we want to use our body weight as the resistance against which we work. If you are just starting to exercise then adding this resistance work into our schedule twice a week will benefit your body.
In order to add resistance exercise into your routine, it does not mean you have to go out and buy weights or join a gym. There are things all over our homes that we can easily use and cost nothing. So put on your music and walk on the spot and hold your arms out in front of you whilst holding a can in each hand. You are now doing resistance training.
You can also add simple weights to your ankles when you walk. Again you are adding some resistance to your routine. Tie a band around your waist and secure it to the side of the pool and swim. Yes, you will stay in the same place, but you will be doing resistance training and its fun. Resistance training builds long and strong muscles and helps to keep your weight down.
9. Stand up
We spend a lot of time sitting down. Whether its whilst we are commuting to and from work, watching TV or sitting at our desks either at work or at home. When we sit down our bodies are not working all the areas and this lack of movement is not good for us.
It’s not just that it’s bad for our back, but it’s terrible for our body functions in general. When we sit we are not able to digest properly. Everything we eat will turn to fat as we are not exercising. This could cause serious problems to your body.
It’s a simple way to help the weight loss programme. Instead of sitting down, rather stand. You can stand on the bus or train. Try standing at work and working instead of sitting down. In fact, if you can’t really stand at work whilst working. Then make a concerted effort to get up and move around every 30 minutes. This will keep your muscles active and just make you feel better in general.
If you are sitting down then you can exercise as well. Pull in your stomach muscles and hold for the count of 10 and release. If you did 50 of those every day you will be going a long way in strengthening both your stomach and back muscles. Stand or sit up straight. This way you are using your core muscles to keep you upright. It’s a great way to exercise and it will do wonders for your posture. If you stand up straight you already look taller and thinner.
10. A spoon full of Apple cider for anyone?
I can actually hear you cringing as you read the words apple cider. Your nose wrinkled up and your stomach pulled in. Well firstly this is great and you dust exercised both your face and stomach muscles.
But let’s get back to reducing that belly fat. Apple cider has more health benefits than you can even imagine. Apple cider is primarily made up of acetic acid and this compound helps our body reduce the fat accumulation in our bodies. It’s so simple. Take a tablespoon a day and see how things improve for you in as little as two weeks.
So what does apple cider do you for you? It regulates your blood sugar, helps with weight loss, lowers cholesterol, improves your skin, reduces blood pressure, relieves acid reflux, helps boost your gut health and even soothes sunburn. If the thought of putting this “sour” liquid in your mouth makes you squirm, then just add it to a bit of water and swallow it. An average of 3 tablespoons a day in a bit of water will seriously improve many aspects of your health and will assist you in burning off that unwanted fat.
Apple cider is made from crushing apples and getting all the liquid. Then they add in healthy bacteria and east and allow it to ferment. But you don’t have to make your own. Just pop into the store and buy a bottle. Remember the old saying of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, well 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day will not only keep the doctor away but will assist your body in burning off that unwanted and unhealthy fat.
11. Walk and talk
We have looked at exercise in the above paragraphs. If you not into going to the gym, swimming or doing some resistance training. Well, you can simply just walk every day. Our bodies are perfectly designed for walking. In fact, it was the original and only form of transport thousands of years ago.
When we walk our heart rate increases, which increases our blood flow. When our heart rates are up and blood is flowing, we are moving and exercising all our muscles and feel better. You can even add in resistance into your walking routine. You can carry a water bottle filled with water in each hand and as you move your arms you are doing resistance training.
Now I’m not saying go out and walk a marathon on day one. Start by just walking to the top of your street and back. Then gradually increase the distance daily. Try avoiding using your car to go to the store. Rather walk and when you carry home the parcels you are also now adding resistance training into your routine.
If you have to use your car then park as far away from the mall entrance as possible and walk there and back. Great exercise and again you are adding resistance to your exercise. Walk with a friend and just chat or even listen to some music. Your mind will be focussed on what you are listening too or what you are about to say. This way you get to share with a friend or listen to great music which is not only good for your body but your soul as well.
12. Water it down
We as people love carbonated drinks, sugary drinks, and alcohol. But none of them are going to help you lose weight. They are all high in sugar and remember we are cutting out sugars completely. Not only will they help you gain weight, but they have no caloric value what so ever. There is the marvelous miracle drink you can have – it’s called water. Water keeps us all alive, and the earth and all people would die without it.
Water is used in our bodies in all our cells, organs and tissues and regulates our body temperature and assists in all our other bodily functions (urinating and excrement). Because our bodies lose water during the day through breathing, sweating and our digestion – not to mention when we go to the loo it is so important to replenish this liquid and NO a carbonated sugary drink is not going to do the trick.
Lack of water will cause your body to be hydrated. This can cause serious problems such as constipation. You will need water because it doesn’t contain any calories, therefore, it will enable you to lose weight. In that way, you will avoid other diseases such as high blood pressure and obesity.
When we drink water we increase our energy levels, help to promote weight loss, allow our bodies to flush out the toxins in it, improve our skin condition, helps our bowels to be regular, boosts our immune system and prevents cramps. There are many more health benefits of drinking water, these are just some. So if you reducing your calories and feel a bit peckish rather have a glass of water than a carbonated drink.
13. Whole food
Today we are all about fast food, get it quickly and eat it quickly. Open a can or defrost a pre-made meal in the microwave. We are known as the PING generation as we microwave or defrost our meals. If we go back a few generations you will note that people ate what they grew or picked off trees or hunted or fished for. There we not preservatives, colorants, of added flavorings in our foods.
Today we want it all quickly and don’t really think about the impact it will have on our bodies. Foods today are packed with sugar as it’s the best preserve there is. But remember we have not cut sugar out of our diets, reduced our carbs, increased our protein intake, are exercising and drinking lots of water. So let’s go back to whole foods to help us lose that weight.
What exactly are whole foods? Simply put they are foods that are free of preservatives of any kind and have not gone through any processing procedures. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables that are organically grown.
Meat that is free range and has no additives in the feeds of the animals – they free roam and graze. Fresh fish – not farmed fish as they are feed food that has additives in them. The main reason why whole foods are so important to our bodies is that it’s just good for you. When it’s a whole food it is free of sugar that is used in processed foods to preserve it and is also free of additives, colorants, MSG, and artificial ingredients.
14. Eat slowly
We spend all our time rushing around and chasing the clock. We are on deadlines and have to get so much done in a single day. Often we rush out and just grab something to quickly eat as we don’t have time to prepare a good healthy meal. This can cause serious problems to your body.
Well, this has got to stop. You need your body and if you don’t look after it properly you are going to cause it to seize up and then you are in trouble. Make time for your meals. Get organized so that you can sit and have breakfast. Take time out in the day to sit and have lunch and dinner.
You can even prep your lunch and dinner meals beforehand. Do not just grab something and eat it. It’s probably loaded with sugar and we know this is not going to help you lose weight.
If you eat regular balanced meals within your daily calorie limit you will soon see that you start losing weight. If you add some exercise to this you are doing well. If you just slow down your eating process you will not only enjoy the food more.
It can lead to weight loss as you are taking time to eat slowly, reducing the intake of air into your system that causes gas and bloating, but it will help you reduce your weight as the slower you eat the fuller you feel. It will give you time to sit with family and friends and just enjoy your meal and their company. This all promotes a healthy and improved life.
15. Gearing down on stress
Stress is one of the unhealthiest things in modern life. When we stress we don’t eat properly or we tend to comfort eat as our bodies crave something sweet or fatty to give us the momentary feeling of wellbeing and fullness.
Stress can cause some serious health conditions to your body. These include developing insomnia and high blood pressure. When stressed you fail to sleep properly. This will lead you to have less time to relax your muscles. Sleeping is the best way to help your body heal. This is the time when the muscles are relaxed and the body has enough time to work on healing any health problems you might be facing. Don’t be fooled stress is unhealthy and can add weight to your body. We need to take time out on a regular basis to balance out our lives.
We can’t work 24/7 at a high pace as its going to be so detrimental to our bodies and minds in time. Try reducing your stress. When we are not stressed we laugh more and spend more time with friends and family. We have time to prepare great healthy meals and we want to spend time outdoors just playing with friends or taking a walk with a loved one.
When we are not stressed we eat better as we think more about what we are putting into our mouths. We will take more breaks – all of these are good for our health. Create a space in your day to just BE STILL, whether it meditation or just emptying your mind as you stare at the sky.