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4 Steps to Burn Belly Fat

By Darlene Vazquetelles

One of the main issues we have when it comes to dieting and working out is  how do we get rid of our belly fat?  Contrary to what many believe, doing crunches is not the best and only answer to this question.  There are other important factors to consider when you want to start seeing that 6-pack.

1.  Sleep:  In one study people that got between six to seven hours of sleep per night gained less visceral (abdominal) fat over five years compared to those who slept five or fewer hours or eight or more hours per night.  When we are tired, we produce more ghrelin, which triggers cravings for sugar and other fat building foods. Losing sleep can alter your hormone production, affecting cortisol levels.  Cortisol is what breaks down lean muscle (a type of tissue that burns calories most efficiently). It also holds onto fat storage in the abdominal region.  Resting up and sleeping is very beneficial for our bodies, so do not feel guilty if your body is telling you to relax and go to sleep.  

2. Stress Management:  Stress causes high levels of cortisol secretion, and now we know what these do to our bodies.  Vitamin C is highly recommended as it helps balance the cortisol.  Bell peppers, kale, kiwi and orange juice are a great source.  Aside from the scientific explanation of how having altered anxiety levels affect your body, there is also what you do when you are feeling this way. Think about what you do when you are stressed.  While some people go out and exercise, others indulge in alcohol, pick up smoking or sit down in front of the T.V. and eat, eat, eat.  None of these are good for your body and this is why finding a way to manage your stress is a step towards being healthy.

3. Exercise: As stated before, it will take more than just crunches to lose that belly fat.  In terms of exercise, engaging in multiple muscle groups is better than just doing those sit-ups.  These are some exercises that you can add:

A. ½ hour of aerobic exercise four times a week.
B. Jogging.
C. Walking rapidly at an incline on a treadmill.
D. Rowing.
E. Stationary bikes.
F. Planking (hold yourself in push up position) 3-4 sets of 30 seconds each.  

Below are some examples:

4. Diet:  After all, what you consume is what ultimately is going to help you the most when it comes to weight loss and toning your body. There is no particular diet for belly fat but when you lose weight, the belly fat is what usually goes first. It takes fat to burn fat, so it is okay to eat fat, but know which types are the ones you should be consuming.  Foods rich in Omega 3s, e.g., salmon, avocados and walnuts are a good source of fat.  It is also recommended to eat natural fat burners such as cayenne pepper, green tea and flax seeds.

Stop the junk food! Reduce calorie intake as your body will end-up using stored belly fat and you will see a reduced waist line. Cut the sugar intake, as well as the alcohol, which is packed with calories.  Okay!  Okay!  If you will not give in with this last one, at least find out which alcoholic beverages have the least amount of calories.  Stay away from the drink mixes with juices, unless they are natural.   

Juicing: And talking about juices, natural juices can burn fat, cleanse your body and shrink your stomach. Many people have turned to juicing and classes are even offered for those who want to make it part of their daily diet.  Carrot, melon, pineapple, berries, and watermelon are great examples of juices that will be of great benefit to your overall health.

Clean your kitchen.  Get rid of all the junk and focus on what you want to put into your body. Chop-up meals.  I prefer having smaller meals throughout the day than three heavy ones. It keeps me satisfied, and I end-up picking healthier choices. Take some time after you eat before getting more food.  I used to finish eating and immediately go for a second serving. A friend of mine recommended to wait a couple of minutes before getting up to get that second one.  It was true what she meant when she said that the body is already full but you don’t realize it unless you take some minutes before getting up again.  Now, I stay there in front of an empty plate and realize that it was all mental.  You are full and you don’t need more food.  Last but not least, DRINK WATER!

I hope you found some of these tips helpful. Please let me know what exercises and dieting tips have worked for you to loose your belly fat by leaving comments below the article or emailing me at Until next time...signing-off from Miami.

Darlene  Vazquetelles

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