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Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Belly Fat

Who doesn’t wish they had a little less abdominal fat? Maybe sometimes your favourite pair of jeans suddenly refuse to button close. Maybe your beer gut is getting out of control. Vanity reasons aside, excess visceral fat that surrounds your organs is linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and some cancers.

If you’ve already tried every kind of diet and workout, yet still haven’t seen a change, there are plenty of reasons why you may be failing to lose your belly fat. Genetics, hormones and lifestyle changes are just some of the factors that influence your gain and loss of body fat.

Age

As we get older, it seemingly becomes easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. Over time, our metabolic rates decline due to a loss of muscle mass and oftentimes decreasing activity levels. Women, in particular, find difficulty losing weight since they have to deal with menopause. During menopause, weight gain is more likely to go to the abdominal area.

Wrong workout

If your workout simply consists of crunches, planks and long jogs, it’s time to switch things up. According to experts, if you want to strengthen your core, you want a more comprehensive routine that works on multiple muscle groups at once. The more muscles engaged, the more calories burned. Exercises that help melt belly fat include squats, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, thrusters and rows. High intensity interval training (HIIT) will also help in reducing body fat.

Wrong fats

Yes, you can combat your belly fat by eating more fats–just as long as you’re eating the right kind and in moderation. Certain sources of healthy fats can have anti-inflammatory effects on your body, which can reduce bloating. These sources are olive oil, avocados, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and fatty fish like salmon.

Processed foods

Processed foods are rich in salt and in added sugar, which do no good for your body. They increase the inflammation in the body and inflammation is related to an increase in belly fat. Avoid white bread, crackers, crisps, frozen meals, and soft drinks.

Too much alcoholmobile personal trainer bardon

Your “beer gut” is indeed related to beer or at least your preferred choice of alcoholic drink. Studies show that intake of beer is associated with abdominal obesity. You can still enjoy one glass of clear liquor or wine, but steer clear of sugary mixed drinks.

Lacking magnesium

One nutrient your body might be lacking is magnesium. Among the roles of magnesium in the body are regulating blood sugar levels, keeping the heart rhythm steady and aiding in weight and belly fat loss. One study observed that magnesium supplement intake can also help with fluid retention, which will make you feel less bloated. Leafy greens, beans and nuts are great natural sources of magnesium.

Stress

An increase of cortisol in the body occurs when you’re feeling stressed. This hormone enlarges the fat cells and increases visceral fat. Not getting enough sleep due to stress can also be a problem. Too little sleep increases the presence of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite.

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Natural Ways To Keep Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is not just beneficial for those coping with diabetes or pre-diabetes. When our blood glucose levels are regulated, this means all sorts of positive side effects. Blood sugar levels affect our energy, hormone production, moods, weight, cravings, memory, and the risk of related diseases, like diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. The hormone insulin should help the body process sugar. However, the cells in our body can become resistant to insulin when there’s too much of it and it gets stored in the fat.

Your diet certainly plays a huge factor when it comes to your blood sugar levels. If you’re fond of consuming soft drinks, pastries, chips, cakes and other highly processed foods, then you’re not doing your blood sugar levels any favours. You might argue that satisfying these cravings can alleviate your hunger, mood and energy, but have you noticed that satiated feeling doesn’t last very long? These foods very quickly release sugar into the body. So, what you’re getting is creating a sugar high and after that, you crash and the cravings, fatigue and mood swings return to demand more of the same foods.

Other lifestyle choices, like your sleeping habits and exposure to and ability to deal with stress, influence your blood glucose health. Once you start working on these improvements, you can see for yourself the effects.

Less (bad) carbs

Sugar doesn’t just mean the granulated sugar you add to your cup of coffee or to a recipe for cake. One way you’re putting sugar into your system is through carbohydrates. When the body breaks down carbohydrates, it turns it into sugars, like glucose. Consuming too many carbohydrates means putting a strain on your insulin function, and blood glucose levels can rise as a result. The worst sort of carbohydrates for us are the overly processed and refined kind, like sugary drinks, sweets and junk food. While some other foods are still considered sources of carbohydrates, they’re much healthier and more natural. These include whole grains, nuts, legumes, vegetables and fruits.

More foods with a low glycemic index

The glycemic index or GI indicates how carbohydrates in certain foods affect your blood sugar levels. Those high up on the index take a short time to be processed by the body and can cause spikes in blood sugar, while those foods low on the index release sugar at a much slower rate. Some great examples of such foods are seafood, meat, eggs, oats, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes and corn.

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Fibre has plenty of benefits that help with digestion and this includes how the body processes carbohydrates and absorbs sugar. Eating more soluble fibre can lower your blood sugar levels, studies have shown. A high-fibre diet can even help regulate type 1 diabetes. Fibre-rich foods include vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water also affects your blood glucose levels. Your kidneys should be able to flush out excess blog sugar through your urine. Stick to plain water and avoid sweetened drinks.

More physical activity

Your body should become more sensitive to insulin with regular exercise. Better insulin sensitivity means less excess sugar in your system. Excess blood sugar can also be utilised for energy and muscle contraction when you’re working out.

More (and better) sleep

Another factor that affects insulin sensitivity is getting enough quality sleep. A lack of sleep has also been found to sway appetite and mood swings in a negative way. Not enough sleep also aggravates your cortisol levels, which means more stress. More stress causes cravings, irritability and a whole lot of other risky problems.

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Does Sleep Help You Lose Weight?

In every guide for losing weight or maintaining a fit lifestyle, there’s always a note about getting more sleep or adhering to healthy sleeping patterns. But, what’s the science behind this? How does sleeping more or sleeping better help our bodies, especially when we want to lose weight?

Sleep can be just as important as your diet and exercise. In fact, a lack of sleep could just be what’s stopping you from reaching your fitness goals despite your hours at the gym and constant clean eating. When we think of weight loss, we usually think of cutting back on calories and being more physically active. The key, however, is balance, especially if you ascribe to a fast-paced and stressful lifestyle. Balance includes rest and regeneration, and there’s no better way to achieve that than through sleep.

Getting enough sleep is so crucial to one’s health that, according to one report, sleep deprivation kills 3,000 Australians each year. This number of deaths were all linked to sleep deprivation. The study also concluded that 9.8 percent of Australian adults experience some form of inadequate sleep. Aside from affecting our energy levels, sleep also influences our food cravings, calorie intake, fat cells, metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

fitness training toowongIn terms of research, weight loss and sleep have been proven to be linked. One study observed that when dieters are put on varied sleeping schedules, they also lose a varied amount of weight. Getting enough sleep made them lose fat, but less hours for sleep resulted in half that amount of fat loss. The participants also felt more hungry and lacked energy to exercise when they cut back on sleep.

An important factor in weight loss is our appetite and sleep or lack of can affect our calorie intake. One study with participants on four hours of sleep eat 559 more calories than those who got eight hours of sleep. Other studies have also observed that these extra calories are consumed as post-dinner or late-night snacks, which can make falling asleep more difficult and affect digestion.

If you have a hard time battling cravings, ask yourself if you’re getting enough sleep. Leptin is a hormone that is crucial in resisting tempting foods and making healthy choices. When the body produces less leptin, the more the stomach feels empty. Our cravings are also affected by the hormone ghrelin, the more of which increases appetite and the amount of fat the body stores. Sleeping less than six hours has been found to decrease leptin and increase ghrelin. Another vital hormone is cortisol or the stress hormone. The more stressed we are, the more cortisol is produced and this can persuade us to reach for sugary junk food as well as gain more fat.

Metabolism is also a significant factor as we still burn calories when we’re at rest. Our resting metabolic rate or RMR could be lowered due to sleep deprivation. According to one research, keeping awake for 24 hours decreased RMR by 5 percent compared to a regular amount of rest. Lack of sleep can also result in a reduction in muscle mass which leads to a reduction in metabolic rate which can lead to storing additional energy as fat.

Weight Training and Fat Loss

Imagine that your body is a motor vehicle. Your muscles: use energy to produce movement (like an engine); absorb impact forces that otherwise could destroy your bones, connective tissue and joint structures (like shock absorbers); and provide the framework that enables you to function physically (like the chassis). Just as mechanics know that proper maintenance keeps your car in good shape, researchers are finding that weight training plays a vital role in keeping your muscles well-tuned.

Weight training also plays a crucial part in your weight loss efforts and more importantly helping you to maintain your weight loss results. One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a weight loss or body transformation program is not including weight training with their cardio-vascular exercise and eating regimen. This is unfortunate, because when you cut calories without weight training for an extended period, you can lose muscle as well as fat. And when you lose muscle, your body becomes a lot less efficient at burning fat. However, when you gain muscle, your body will burn more fat, 24 hours a day!

The benefits of weight training for weight loss include…

Weight Training Increases Your Metabolism

Your resting metabolic rate represents the amount of energy you need on a daily basis to sustain the function of your body. Even at rest, muscle is very active tissue. Consequently, muscle loss results in a reduction in your metabolic rate. Because less muscle means lower energy requirements, calories that were previously used for muscle maintenance are now stored as fat. Sensible weight training is the best means of avoiding decreases in muscle mass and metabolic rate, and guarding against the obesity creep, i.e. weight training will maintain or increase your metabolic rate, which in turn helps you to maintain or decrease your body fat levels.

Weight Training Improves Glucose Metabolism

Researchers have reported a 23% increase in glucose uptake after four months of weight training. Because poor glucose metabolism is associated with increasing body fat and adult onset diabetes, improved glucose metabolism is an important benefit of regular weight training.

Weight Training Helps Neutralise Age-related Muscle Loss

Most adults that do not do weight training lose between 2.3 and 3.2 kg of muscle per decade. This equates to a decrease of 2-5% in metabolic rate every decade. At rest, 1 kg of muscle requires 13 calories per day for tissue maintenance, and during exercise, muscle energy utilisation increases dramatically. An InBody Scan (or other similar test) will help you monitor changes in your lean muscle mass.

Weight Training Improves Daily Function

Increased functional strength from weight training does wonders to help you with activities of daily living such as house work, working in the yard, moving furniture, and carrying bags of groceries, without gasping for air and tiring within minutes. If you have a medical condition such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis, lifting weights can also be a great help. The greater efficiency in performing general activities due to increased strength can also lead to an increase in the use of body fat as energy thereby helping with fat loss.

Weight Training Improves Posture

When your body is stronger (including your core), you are better able to hold yourself with good posture, your back aches less, there is less stress in your neck and your legs feel strong. You simply function better! Most people who increase their strength, also report an increase in self-confidence.

How Much Is Enough?

Although a personal trainer can help determine the best program for you, as a general rule benefits can be achieved from training 2 – 3 non-consecutive days per week for a minimum of one set per exercise for each major muscle group. You should use enough resistance to fatigue the muscle group by the end of each set.

Getting Stronger

Training your muscles does take some effort, but no matter what age you are, you’ll find that strength training will fuel a healthy lifestyle and help you function better in all aspects of your life.