When you’re sticking to a healthy diet and a strict workout routine, it can be frustrating when you don’t see your muffin top going away like it should.
Lower belly fat can be pretty darn stubborn. Like most people, you feel like your problem areas are somewhere around your stomach and hip section.
Despite what you may have heard in the past this problem, affects both men and women. Within the last few years, the term ‘dad bod’ has somehow come about. Basically, this is when a guy is in “pretty decent” shape but still has a beer belly.
As for women, the extra fat seems to hug the lower stomach area and even wrap around to the hips, creating the much-hated love handles or muffin top look.
Even though these both have cute names, they are anything but. They aren’t the best looking and they certainly aren’t very healthy. They can also have some serious health issues even if they aren’t addressed.
Keri Glassman, MS R.D., states that having extra weight around the stomach area greatly increases the person’s risk of both diabetes and heart diseases. Yikes. Both pretty serious diseases that can have some pretty serious outcomes.
We know that it can seem close to impossible to get rid of this extra baggage so to speak. But you can do it with some guidance and some help.
We’re going to dive into the most successful ways you can get rid of lower belly fat with all of the right kinds of foods. But first, it’s important to understand the kinds of fat that can be found in your body.
Different Types Of Body Fat
When it comes to dealing with belly fat, there are actually 2 different kinds of fat The first is Subcutaneous, which is right under the skin or visceral (also called active fat) which is around your liver, intestines and pancreases.
The easiest way to keep the two straight is by thinking that subcutaneous fat is the fat that is found on your skin’s surface. When people get liposuction, this is generally the fat that gets removed during that process.
When it comes to looks alone, subcutaneous fat is the one you want to get rid of so you have a flat, trim-looking stomach. When we’re looking to get rid of fat in the stomach area, that’s the fat we’re fighting against: subcutaneous.
On the other hand, visceral fat isn’t a type of fat you want to put on the back burner. Like we said above, it’s an active kind of fat, so it isn’t just waiting around hanging out. There are tons of tons that prove this kind of fat can create different types of hormones and even inflammatory molecules.
In fact, according to Diabetes UK, there are a bunch of bad health conditions that come go along with visceral fat, including diseases like colorectal cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
We believe that if you want to get rid of that fat around your stomach area (and in turn get rid of love handles and the muffin top), you have to tackle both of these fats, not just one.
We’re going to get to the various methods on how to get rid of this soon enough. But next we think you should learn the reasoning behind why fat seems to like to hang around in the problematic area.
Why Does Fat Hang Out In The Lower Belly?
There are a lot of different things that factor into the war raging with belly fat. Some things are within our own power to change, like hormones, stress, and a crappy diet. On the other hand, there are a few factors we aren’t able to change, such as our gender, our age, and our genetics.
You may still be looking over that last paragraph trying to understand how stress is a causing factor here – but it is.
A study done at Yale showed that women who aren’t overweight but are stressed have a lot higher chance of getting extra fat around the stomach area, as well as higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
The study didn’t stop there, though. It also showed that cortisol can be the main culprit behind why the fat likes to store up around our major organs.
Basically, the more stressed you get, the more cortisol is going to be built, and ultimately, more fat.
So if you can get your stress under control, it might just be enough to cut back on these high cortisol levels. And even if it’s just a baby step, it’s a step toward getting a flatter stomach.
But stress isn’t the only factor here. Obviously, having a poor diet can have some pretty big cards here.
So if you’re eating a lot of sugar or foods that are higher in fat, this could be completely canceling out anything you’re doing to cut back on belly fat.
Prof of Medicine and Nutritional Science at the Washington University School Of Medicine Dr. Klein says that when people are able to drop the pounds through both diet and exercise, the visceral fat is going to disappear twice as fast as subcutaneous fat.
So here’s what we’ve got for you so far to cut back on fat around your stomach – get your stress level down. Like, way down. Pay a visit to your doctor to try and get your hormones back to normal. And when you can, eat healthy and exercise.
All solid advice so far, but there are also a few choices that can help you fight the fat. You may want to add these key items to your next grocery list.
How To Lose Belly Fat With Special Foods
We know it may seem pretty unbelievable, but there are certain kinds of foods that you can add into your diet in order to really target your stomach area. And, when you add these foods onto a healthy diet and exercising, you’re going to get some seriously great results.
You may think of “cholesterol” when you hear eggs, but you may also be pretty surprised at what it can do for your belly fat.
Because of their extremely high protein content, and a big variety of things like minerals, vitamins, and various kinds of healthy fats, eggs are going to give you a lot of things. First of all, energy! You’re going to be pleasantly surprised by how much energy you have. You’re also going to stay a lot fuller for longer and your metabolism is going to speed up.
Plus, it’ll help you beat any cravings for coffee that’s been doused in sugar and delicious pastries.
Another belly-busting food?
Spinach. Obviously, Popeye was onto something! This is yet another powerful food that’ll help you get through those cravings.
There’s a certain ingredient in spinach, called thylakoid, that actually makes our bodies digest spinach a lot slower, so we aren’t going to get as hungry as fast.
In fact, a professor of appetite regulation for Sweden’s Lund University decided to do some investigating. Looking at 15 volunteers, the extract itself was supplied each morning to each participant. The results? Every single one stated it was a lot easier to get through those hunger pains that come in between meals. And, as the study continued, it got easier and easier.
So spinach is the perfect food to eat in order to jump over those hunger pains and keep yourself nice and full.
Avocados are another one. While a lot of people don’t like to eat them because they think they’re way too high in fat, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s actually a good type of fat – it’s the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated kind.
Plus, avocados come with a few extra health benefits. They’re full of fiber and boast an impressive 20-some minerals and vitamins. And, as an added bonus, the fiber is going to help keep your digestive system nice and healthy.
Did we mention that they can help prevent your blood sugar from spiking? So your body is going to stop any extra fat from storing in unwanted places – such as your stomach.
Now, you want to eat these in moderation. At the very most, limit yourself to two full avocados on a weekly basis.
#4 Whole Grains
You may have guessed this already, but whole grains are another choice. Plain old grains are pretty much one of the biggest reasons why people gain weight. We’ve become used to eating tons of processed grains, such as foods like bread, pasta, and pastries. Why? Because these are the foods we’ve grown up with.
And now that we know more about it, and what it can do, it’s time we do something about it.
Experience Life says that these kinds of harmful grains are going to have some negative effects, because when they get into our body, they act like sugar, so they are going to jumpstart weight gain, inflammation and even imbalances that come with blood-sugar unevenness.
So if you haven’t already, switch over to whole grains.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health ran an article that really highlighted whole grains being full of fiber and various other kinds of critical minerals. Plus, they can help you fight various kinds of cancers, keep your cholesterol in check and also make sure you stay fuller for longer.
The benefits just keep coming, as whole grains can also have the power to help with your digestion, lower high cholesterol, keep an eye on blood sugar, get your blood pressure levels down and help redistribute fat.
Redistribute fat? Yep. That means all your fat isn’t going to be stuck right at your stomach area. It’s going to be replaced so it’s more of an even spread.
But why would we want to do that?
In order to cut back on the amount of fat we have around our vital organs.
Now keep in mind that just because a package reads ‘whole grains’ doesn’t automatically mean it’s good for you. Instead, you want to look for things labeled as 100% whole grain. If it isn’t, it could mean there are hardly any grains in it at all.
The best types of whole grains are things like rye, brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, buckwheat, whole oats, and bulgur.
One of the best breakfasts you can have is some eggs (with some egg whites thrown in for extra filling power), a slice of avocado, some spinach and rye toast on the side.
Blueberries are next on our list, because they’re bursting full of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. And, because they’re pretty low in calories due to being made mostly of water, they’re the perfect addition for your oatmeal or your yogurt. Blueberries are also one of the top 10 superfoods to eat.
We had mentioned oatmeal in the whole grain section. This is another food that’s going to be slow to digest and is full of fiber. Plus it keeps an eye on your blood sugar so you aren’t going to crash.
Just be careful to pick the right kind of oatmeal, as there are tons of oatmeal that are going to be full of sugar, such as the instant oatmeal.
One of the best snacks you can keep with you at all times is going to be almonds. When you’ve got almonds in your stomach, you’re going to cut your risk of heart disease close to in half. And, with the amount of fiber, protein and vitamins and antioxidants, it’s going to help you stay full and slim.
#5 GreenTea & Lemon Water
Finally, we’re going to end with two drinks – lemon water and green tea. Lemon water is going to boost your metabolism while green tea is going to do that plus help with fat oxidation and your energy expenditure. Not to mention Green tea has tons of health benefits. So skip over the soda and reach for one of these healthy drink choices instead.
Like most things, it will take some time before you start seeing some serious results, but know that they’re within reach and you’re doing all the right things to get there by following these guidelines.
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