Stomach fat, we all hate it, especially when bathing suit season rolls around. However, without even knowing it, we often have bad habits that cause us to pack on more pounds around the waist then we should.
Check out these 8 causes that can add to your middle and the solutions that can help you kick that Santa belly to the curb.
1. Consuming too many low fat foods
Many dieters know that one of the best secrets to losing weight it to eat small meals very often. This stokes the fire of your metabolism. Eat more avocados, seeds, and olive oil, which are all rich in those monounsaturated fats. These are good fats that can help to slim your waist. Low fat foods often contain lots of extra sugar and salt in order to make up for what they lack in flavor.
The solution: Eat often and check the fat content of the food you are eating. Avoid those overly processed low fat foods.
2. Lack of sleep
Your body increases its stress hormone, cortisol, when you don’t get enough sleep. Cortisol will cause you to crave sugar, which means you will end up eating too many empty calories. Getting enough sleep helps to control belly fat and increase your leptin level, which helps to control your appetite.
The solution: Keep those cortisol levels in check by getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every single night.
3. Lack of protein
If you want to balance your blood sugar levels and reduce your insulin levels while increasing the body’s metabolism, then eat more protein. It’s protein that helps to control your appetite inducing hormones so you don’t overeat. Protein also makes you feel full for longer periods of time, so you shouldn’t reach for snacks as often. Protein is what will slim you down naturally.
The solution: Eat about 20 to 25 grams of protein every meal. Men, if you are working out intensely, then consume about 10 more grams of protein to keep those muscles in shape.
4. Drinking sodas
Tons of research shows that people who drink even just one can of soda per day gain weight five times faster than those who drink only one can per week. Even drinking diet soda won’t get you off the hook as these things contain tons of artificial sweeteners that trigger sugar and food cravings and you will end up eating more or eating more junk.
The solution: Try drink smoothie or a glass of fresh juice if water doesn’t satisfy your taste buds. This will help keep that jelly belly at bay.
5. Eating from big plates
It’s been shown in several studies that eating off smaller plates help people to eat less. Large plates allow you to pile on the food and no one likes to waste food, so chances are really good you are going to eat it all.
The solution: Either don’t go back for seconds and be aware of portion sizes, or use smaller plates.
6. Eating late
When we sleep, our bodies tend to shut down many of our biological systems for rest. Our digestive system is one of these. When you eat late, your body won’t burn all those calories you just consumed. Also, lying down with food in your stomach can lead to indigestion and acid reflux disease.
The solution: Stop eating at least 3 hours before bedtime. If you wake up in the night hungry, try eating a small piece of fruit instead of sugar or salty snacks like potato chips.
7. Emotional eating
Some people tend to vent their anger, sadness, or frustration through eating. Eating ice cream mindlessly in front of the TV when your love life goes awry is sure to bring you only one thing: Santa Belly. Although it might make you feel better for a short while, in time you will come to hate and regret all that food you ate out of frustration, anger, pain, or boredom.
The solution: Next time you find yourself wanting to plop down in front of the fridge with that Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, call a friend, go for a walk, or just do something, anything, instead of mindless eating.
8. Fried foods
Yes, they taste great, no they are not good for those looking to lessen belly fat. Fast food, especially, is just dripping in GMO grease and has almost no nutritional content or fiber. Fried foods are loaded with trans-fats which clog up your arteries, as well as pile on pounds in the belly area.
The solution: If you must hit up fast food joints, opt for salads and drink water with lemon twist. A better solution would be to pack your own lunch full of healthy goodness.