If you don’t love your love handles and would prefer to travel lighter—without a spare tire, say goodbye to your muffin top forever and get ready to have the body you want. Whether you call it a Buddha belly, muffin tops or other colloquialism, it’s still just the accumulation of fat around your middle. It’s one of the worst places to carry fat and caused by hormones, which includes cortisol, a hormone created by stress. Even if you do spot exercises, you may not see the difference if excess pounds are hiding the improved muscle tone. Luckily, there’s a way to get rid of these and improve the rest of your body at the same time.
You need to start with a healthy diet.
There are all types of philosophies of when to eat, how many meals to eat and the number of calories you should eat to be healthy, but it all boils down to eating healthy in the first place and letting that take care of the problem. Eating healthy means pitching those Twinkies and processed foods out the window and instead making your meal more whole foods that are both lower in calorie and high in nutrition. There are some foods that tend to be better in helping to reduce these, such as high fiber foods, black rice and tea, just to name three, but they’re not magic and won’t work if the rest of your diet is junk. Learn to make smarter choices when it comes to food and you’re on your way to eliminating that belly fat.
Get an overall workout, not just spot exercises.
Of course you want to tone your abdominal muscles, but to get rid of muffin tops, you need to workout the whole body. Doing cardio isn’t enough. Cardio doesn’t take off fat rapidly, strength training does. Weight lifting will help you shed those pounds, while also strengthening your core muscles. What it won’t do is build bulky muscles in women. Because of hormonal differences, women would have to do special exercises and spend most of their time at the gym to get those results. Instead, you’ll build lean muscles and start to see those love handles disappear.
Burn off stress hormones.
Stress contributes to belly fat by sending a message to the brain to increase cortisol. Cortisol is used to raise blood sugar levels to get the muscles ready for fighting or running. It raises blood pressure and provides a burst of glucose into the system. While that’s good if there’s a tiger chasing you, it’s not so helpful if it comes from a traffic jam or a discussion with the boss. It accumulates and creates fat cells on the belly, which by the way, contain four times more cortisol than other cells. It also leads to insulin resistance and diabetes. The good news!!!! Exercise burns off the hormones from stress..
- One scientific study showed that a diet that’s high in both sugar and fat increases abdominal fat.
- Don’t give up all fats. Yes, I know I just said that a high fat diet contributed to muffin tops, but healthy fat, Omega3 fatty acids found in salmon and avocado, actually helps regulate hormones and eliminates belly fat.
- Get plenty of sleep. Too little sleep contributes to the accumulation of belly fat.
- Drink plenty of water. Water not only keeps you hydrated and feeling good, it helps cleanse the system and even helps eliminate water retention and bloating.