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The sad truth: You can crunch yourself into a coma and still have a belly pouch. If you really want a sleek, sexy midriff, you’ve got to tweak your diet. Lose weight by following the best nutrition and lifestyle strategies that support you in times of stress.

Drink More Water

This is something that I can’t stress enough! Drink up! Not drinking enough water daily causes your body to retain water causing bloating all over your body, not just your abdomen. Drinking enough water will cause your body to release all of the excess stored water within your body and flush out excess sodium from salty foods. Also drinking enough water assists elimination. Thereby reducing how much your belly pushes out from within. Drink at least 2 litres of water per day. Avoid carbonated, fizzy drinks. Filtered water is best, if you’re not a fan of plain water, add a slice of fresh lemon! You can also drink herbal teas or eat soup. Watch out for soup made with lots of added salt, cream, milk or butter. Broth style soups with lots of vegetables are best for hydration.

Reduce Stress

When your stress and cortisol levels are high, the body actually resists weight loss. Your body thinks times are hard and you might starve, so it hoards the fat you eat or have present on your body. Cortisol tends to take fat from healthier areas, like your hips, and move it to your abdomen which has more cortisol receptors. Hello ab flab! In the process, it turns once–healthy peripheral fat into unhealthy visceral fat (the fat in your abdomen that surrounds your organs) that increases inflammation and insulin resistance in the body. This belly fat then leads to more cortisol because it has higher concentrations of an enzyme that converts inactive cortisone to active cortisol. The more belly fat you have, the more active cortisol will be converted by these enzymes.

So how do I destress?
Reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet. Get enough sleep each night, or as much as your lifestyle allows. Tulsi is a powerful adaptogen.  In other words it helps the body to resist stress. It is also a natural sleep aid. I drink Tulsi tea every day. Schedule time for yourself to do something fun, allow yourself this time to let your mind let go of all the thoughts which cause stress. Better yet, take a meditation class or learn on your own. Meditation is one of the most powerful skills you can learn to deal with everyday stress. If you feel you are under stress, then this is one of the most important things you could do for your physical and mental health.

Food and Fibre

Eat more fiber. Fibre, which is the indigestible part of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods, helps your digestion and empties out your colon. Many times the lack of digestive elimination makes your lower colon pooch out which pushes that area out even farther than normal. You need to eat at least 25 grammes of fibre every day. For best results, increase your fibre intake slowly over the course of one month and drink plenty of water to keep food moving through your system as quickly as possible. Don’t overwhelm your digestive system by adding tonnes of fibre all at once. So where do I get all this fibre? Go for the good carbs. From Atkins to the Paleo movement, carbohydrates have been criticized more than all of the ladies on TOWIE combined. Here’s the real reason why carbs get such a bad reputation: Up to 50 percent of the carbohydrate intake is in the form of highly processed carbs and sugar. So when people say carbs are bad, they’re usually just talking about eating lots of sugar. But that’s not really fair to every other food that also is labelled a carbohydrate such as vegetables, fruits and nuts. Your body needs these carbohydrates. If you completely remove this essential nutrient from your diet, you could experience a down-regulation of the hormones that control fat loss, making it harder to have the lean, tight body you want. A good general rule: Eat more carbs on the days you’re active and fewer carbs on the days you’re sedentary. And make sure most of your carbs come from whole foods such as vegetables, fruits and wholegrain foods. Examples of carbohydrates to include are: sweet potatoes, wholegrain rice, minimally processed oats and tonnes of vegetables and fruit. They will help keep things moving in your digestive tract while reducing digestive trouble and inflammation.

When you limit your caffeine, avoid simple carbs, processed foods, and refined grains, and get plenty of high-quality protein, in addition to de-stressing yourself, you’ll automatically help your body keep your stress hormones, especially cortisol, lower. Sit down and map out your game plan on your calendar and add eating and training to your to do list. You have to make this a priority and put yourself first. No one is going to do it for you and don’t put it off. It’s a day by day choice you’ll have to make, but the results will be worth it. Think how good it will be when you are as healthy on the inside as you look on the outside.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Check out my Pinterest Board with all of my other recipes here.

Emma x

 

PS: Be sure to subscribe to my fortnightly newsletter. I send out a mix of recipes like this to try, and video workouts for you to do at home. As a bonus, you will receive the highlights of my Nutrition Guide.

 

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