Shulman Health and Wellness


Published on August 21, 2011


Ah, that darn belly fat!Hours on the treadmill, calorie cutting, and perhaps even a pair or two of Spanx can't seem to banish it permanently. What's the secret to losing the belly fat first? I'll tell you. It's no secret. It's all about hormonal balance (aka blood sugar control), quality calories (i.e. cutting out the junk) and good digestion (that's well, you know, making sure you go as often as you need to go). To achieve these basic weight loss principles and say good-bye to the ol' muffin top, I encourage people to do the following:

  1. Start your day with protein – This triggers glucagon, our fat-burning hormone, first thing in the morning instead of letting insulin, the belly fat-storing hormone, get the first word.
  2. Keep grains unrefined – Going for whole grains is good for flat abs because 1) it causes less of an insulin rush, thereby decreasing cravings and increasing satiety, and 2) it encourages regular bowel movements, thereby eliminating bloating that may be inflating the belly area.
  3. Cut out sugar – White sugar is an obvious culprit that lurks not only in conventional sweets but condiments, sauces and beverages too. Any time your body gets a hit of any type of sugar, even fruit sugar, insulin levels rise and fat storage is turned on. So try to limit your sugar intake as much as possible.
  4. Include “good” monounsaturated and polyunsaturated omega-3 fats - Research has consistently linked high saturated fat intake from foods of animal origin to increased abdominal obesity, while swapping the sat fats for natural, plant-based fats from seeds, nuts, olives, and avocado leads to smaller waist circumferences and less visceral fat. Don't forget your fish and fish oil! They're also good for you.
  5. Rule out food allergies – Sensitivities to gluten, dairy, corn, or soy can cause you to hold on to weight around the middle. Visit a naturopath or nutritionist to get assessed for food allergies.

Another tip – Stress is also linked to storage of more belly fat. Aim to keep cortisol levels in check by getting enough sleep and exercise.

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