Are YOU struggling to blast that ab-flab?
If you’ve been working out regularly and watching what you eat, but you STILL can’t seem to get rid of that stubborn belly fat, there may be a ‘hidden’ cause that has nothing to do with diet OR exercise.
The reason stomach fat is so difficult to get rid of is because it’s heavily influenced by your HORMONES.
Your stomach fat isn’t the only area that’s controlled by your hormones, but it happens to be the most sensitive.
So what does this mean?
It means that exercising and eating right may NOT be enough to get rid of your stubborn belly fat.
One hormone in particular, that most people don’t even consider which could be causing you to retain belly fat is your CORTISOL hormone.
Cortisol is your STRESS hormone and essential for human survival.
Whenever your body experiences any type of stress (mental or physical) your body secretes cortisol, which then triggers a series of responses necessary for your body to keep functioning.
In a normal situation, cortisol production only lasts for a SHORT period of time and afterwards, all metabolic functions go back to NORMAL.
But THIS is where things can go wrong, because in many cases these stresses that cause your body to secrete cortisol occur way too OFTEN and stay ‘on’ for way too LONG!
When you’re body experiences CONSTANT stress, it continuously secretes cortisol and THAT is when cortisol can become a belly fat baddie.
Depending on how LONG and how MUCH cortisol you have circulating in your body, it can seriously compromise your health and alter your metabolic process causing you to GAIN stubborn belly fat!
So, if you tend to gain belly fat EASILY and have a DIFFICULT time getting rid of it, there’s a strong likelihood that you’re producing too much cortisol.
Here’s 3 questions to ask yourself to see if there’s something other than diet & exercise that may be hindering your progress:
1. Are you sleeping enough?
Getting enough QUALITY sleep is the most important thing you can do to minimize stress, optimize your health and help your body to burn more fat!
Turn off your TV, computer, phone, read a book, open a window to keep your room cool and sleep in a batcave.
2. Do you feel tired all of the time?
If you’re CONSTANTLY feeling tired, it means you’re NOT recovering enough.
Inadequate recovery means that your body STILL has cortisol coursing through your body.
Give yourself a break and and let your body REST to avoid making your belly fat even MORE difficult to burn off.
3. Do you need caffeine in the morning to get going?
Caffeine is a stimulant and it actually ENHANCES your cortisol production!
If you NEED a stimulant to wake up, you’re definitely not getting enough sleep and/or rest.
If you’re getting enough sleep but STILL have a hard time getting going in the morning without caffeine, try switching to green tea.
It has about 1/4 the amount of caffeine than your regular cup of coffee and it also catachins – natural stimulants that helps BOOST your energy levels and FIGHT fatigue.
If you answered YES to any of these questions, cortisol may be to blame.
And if so, the solution is pretty easy…sleep, rest and recover!
Top tips (apart from the above) to reduce your cortisol levels:
1. Get more spinach in your diet.
Spinach has magnesium which helps BALANCE your body’s production of cortisol.
2. Eat more citrus fruits.
Research has shown that citrus fruits like oranges and kiwis have HIGH content of vitamin C, which help SLOW the production of cortisol.
3. Getting enough healthy omega-3 oils in your diet.
These healthy fats not only inhibit inflammation, but also help LOWER cortisol levels and REDUCE stress.
4. Get some basil in your diet!
This tasty herb is an adaptogen herb, which is a unique class of healing plants that help REDUCE the production of stress related hormones.
5. Research has shown that zinc helps inhibit the production of cortisol.
Foods high in zinc are seafood (like oysters) and beef.
If you don’t eat meat, you can also get zinc from cashews, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, spinach and beans.
6. If you’re a fan of dark chocolate, you’re in luck!
Dark chocolate has HIGH levels of anti-oxidants that help DECREASE inflammation and SLOW the secretion of cortisol.
One study found that eating 40 grams of dark chocolate per day LOWERED cortisol levels.
Just make sure that it’s at least 70% dark chocolate.
Put all these tips into action and start blasting that belly fat TODAY!!
And if THAT’S not exciting enough for you then stay tuned to Monday’s blog because I have some SUPER exciting news to share with you!
Lee ‘you don’t want to miss it’ Donald x
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