7 Ways to beat stress induced belly fat

-Nov 28, Hannah Hargrave , Health -

Stubborn belly fat can be the bane of some men and women’s existence and when you simple can’t shift it, it can send your stress levels into overdrive. But stress may just be the reason behind your mid section is expanding but fortunately there are ways you can beat it!

Sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter what you do, that spare tire around your middle will not go away. 

The problem is, worrying about it, won’t make it any better, in fact it could be making it worse. 

Stress induced belly fat is a real thing and although if you lead an unhealthy lifestyle overall, stress is not likely to be the only factor contributing to your weight woes, it’s not helping either.

Related: 6 ways to reduce the stress in your life this week

Why does stress cause belly fat?

The stress hormone cortisol is the reason you may have a wobbly mid section which seems to have set up shop permanently on your body. 

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee explained to Lumity what happens to the body when it’s stressed and why cortisol plays a huge part. 

He said: “When the stress response was evolving millions of years ago it was designed to protect us and help keep us safe.”

So say for example we were being chased by a wild animal and had to run away. 

Cortisol levels would rise and boost our body’s need for sugar.

“Sugar would pour into the blood stream to help feed muscles and makes you run faster. Blood pressure would rise and you would become hyper vigilant to threat.”

Nowadays though it’s emails, workload or family life causing the stress, not lion attacks. But the sugar pouring into your blood stream on a daily basis becomes harmful and leads to among other things, weight gain. 

So how can we beat the belly bulge?

Get quality sleep

Cortisol levels have been shown to decrease when you regularly get a good night’s sleep. Plus if you’re well rested you are less likely to grab a quick fix, sugary snack for a energy pick me up. 

Aim for between 7-9 hours a night and establish a good nighttime routine so you don’t just get the right amount you get quality sleep as well. 

Related: How to feel energised when you’re exhausted

Don’t skip meals

In a bid to reduce your waistline you might think dieting or skipping meals is the answer. But by doing so you’ll trigger a stress response. Your body will release cortisol and you may end up eating way more than necessary at your next meal too.

This then causes blood sugar to surge and you guessed it, the extra sugar is stored as fat. 

Exercise

Exercise keeps your body healthy and it reduces stress too. Short bursts of cardio, such as HIIT workouts are especially effective at targeting belly fat. But being active in general releases the feel good endorphins too which makes you happier and less stressed. 

Even if you can’t fit in the recommended 150 minutes a week of exercise, try to add a little more activity to your daily life. 

Fit4mum’s Melissa Lorch told Lumity: “Simple things like taking the stairs, walking at lunchtime or doing your squats while brushing your teeth can make a big difference.”

Cut down on sugar

Sugar is belly fat’s good friend, which means it’s your weight loss enemy. It’s not unusual to find comfort in sugar when you’re feeling stressed but regularly reaching for the cookie jar or indulging in sugary processed foods will set you back in the weight loss game.

Be mindful that while you need carbohydrates too, you should stick to wholegrain carbs rather than refined, like white pasta and bread which can spike blood sugar levels. 

Add a supplement

Certain nutrients and vitamins can reduce cortisol levels and food cravings too. These include vitamin B, C, D, magnesium and calcium. 

By taking Lumity’s Morning and Night Supplements – which include some of these within their powerhouse of all-natural ingredients – you can ensure your body is being delivered the right nutrients at the right time for optimum sleep, energy and overall wellbeing.

Curb the alcohol

A glass of wine or a bottle of beer can help relieve stress at the end of a long day. But much as you may hate to hear it, alcohol raises cortisol levels. Tt can be heavy in calories and sugar as well. Drink too much of it and you may also find you feel more stressed than you did before. 

Be conscious about how many units you’re consuming and the sort of alcohol you choose too. 

Reduce your stress levels

When you’re overloaded with stress on a daily basis your body takes a pummeling. It’s not only bad for your waistlines but for your heart and mental health too.

You don’t have to just accept your stress levels, you can do something about them. While it might be impossible to eradicate stress from your life entirely there are ways to not only reduce it but learn to cope better with it too. 

Consider meditation and yoga – even if you think it’s not for you – and take some guidance from Dr. Chatterjee who has some solid advice when it comes to dealing with stress. 

If you are looking to improve your health you might also want to learn why the diet of the future focuses on when – not just what – you eat and for some healthy diet inspiration see what these top nutritionists eat on a daily basis too.

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