Hi All! How are you doing?! How's your Monday going? I've had a very productive day so far!! I got up early, ate, took my little guy to school, had a sweaty workout, took a shower, did my skincare routine (when you're older, you realize how important this is...lol), worked with a client, and now I'm sitting at my computer blogging...which I absolutely love :D
Do you ever feel like you exercise like crazy, eat virtuously, and get good sleep, but still stay thick around the middle? Most of us know this as muffin top :D I actually love muffins but not this kind...lol! The following are some discovered triggers that undermine your slim-down efforts by making you pack on that tummy flab which is sooo unflattering!! Sit down with some water and take notes (or maybe you just need a gentle reminder) on how to trim down and FLATten your tummy!!!
The longer you travel to your job, the wider your waistline, according to a study of almost 4,300 workers conducted at Washington University. Why? A longer trip means less time to work out. You may not be able to change how you get to work, but you can build activity into your commute. Park a mile or two from your workplace or train stop and walk or run the rest of the way. I guess running is only an option if your workplace has a shower, right?! :D Or join a gym that's on your route and keep a gym bag in the car, so you can work out before or after work. I have a client who has a long commute everyday. She takes athletic shoes with her and before she begins teaching, she hits the stairs by her school for 20 minutes.
Scale back on poor sleep. Sleeping less then 6 hours too many nights can affect your waistline. Tons of studies have shown that sleep deprivation can increase cortisol levels. But a German study found that the quality of your sleep matters too and that people who don't sleep soundly have more fat. "Waking up in the middle of the night as a result of things like snoring, nightmares, restlessness, or a baby crying happens commonly; actually, we're wired to naturally wake up a few times," says Jose Colon, M.D., the author of The Sleep Diet. "But if you wake up and immediately start panicking about falling back asleep, that can raise cortisol levels." Dr. Colon suggests turning your alarm clock over, so you don't fixate on the time. Sometimes circumstances prevent you from getting 7 to 8 consecutive hours of sleep. Sleeping in blocks of 3 or 4 hours, however, is still restorative.
People who sip the no-cal liquid gold in an effort to cut calories are actually more likely to gain tummy fat. Yeap...even no-cal is NO GOOD :D Diet soda drinkers who averaged about a can and a half a day packed 3.2 inches onto their waistlines over the course of 9 1/2 years, while regular-soda drinkers gained less then an inch, a recent study at the University of Texas Health Science Center found. One reason is that artificial sweeteners prevent the brain from registering satiety, thus increasing cravings for sweets, so you end up eating more. I highly recommend giving up soda, but if you can't give up the bubbles, switch to naturally flavored calorie-free seltzers. Seltzers are made without any sweeteners and snapping open the can (or bottle) and sipping the slightly tangy carbonated drink can mimic the diet soda experience.
Some of us are falling short on the recommended daily allowance of calcium and it may be showing in your waist measurements. Dairy, which is rich in calcium, can help flatten your tummy, a study published in the journal Nutrients found. When subjects ate 3 daily servings of milk-based products for 12 weeks, they lost about 2.2 pounds more tummy fat then those who consumed less of the same stuff. That's because foods loaded with calcium better suppress a type of hormone that promotes fat storage, the researchers speculate. Surprised?! Aim to eat 3 servings a day of high-calcium foods like yogurt, milk, cheese, broccoli, kale, and tofu to help turn off fat-storing hormones.
It's no surprise that those who watch more then 3 hours of TV a day have significantly more tummy fat then those who watch an hour or less a day. If you don't already know this...lying on the couch with your hand in a bag of chips isn't exactly a recipe for weight loss...lol! Researchers found that tuning in to cooking programs also boosts your risk of gaining weight. People who watch food TV and cook the featured dishes weigh 10 pounds more then people who find recipes elsewhere! And...may I add food commercials too?! :D Every time I see a commercial for chocolate, I want to make a batch of brownies...lol! Cooking shows don't always portray healthy recipes. Recipes from cookbooks, family, and friends are less associated with weight gain.
Brown University researchers found that people who were able to focus their thoughts on the present carried about a pound less of tummy fat, on average, then those who weren't as mindful. The scientists speculate that because mindful people are able to view their feeling more objectively, they have greater power to overcome urges. Cultivate your focus by meditating, practicing yoga, or engaging in endurance exercise, such as going for a run or bike ride. This allows you to monitor your pace, the way your body is moving, and how you're feeling.
The following are some additional tips for shrinking that unwanted tummy flab! Bring it on :D
- Know your serving sizes!
- Reduce salt intake!
- Cut out fast food! You got this!!
- Eat 5 small meals a day!
- Eat slowly!
- Drink a glass of water OR eat an apple before eating a meal! This helps you to eat less!!
- Don't starve yourself!
- Cut out sweets! You can do it!!
- Cut down on alcohol consumption!
- Enrich diet with fiber!
- Eat 5 servings of fresh fruit or veggies!
- Never skip breakfast! For real!!
- Avoid stress! This can be hard, however, it's possible!!
- Practice good posture, it strengthens tummy muscles!
- And of course, EXERCISE!
On Thursday, I'll be posting a 30 DAY WAIST CHALLENGE. Join me as I begin the exercises on Friday, September 1st. No equipment needed, so there isn't a good reason not to jump in...lol! I'll provide you with the exercises and you just find the time to get it done :D The holidays are right around the corner, so lets trim down and FLATten your tummy!! You got this!!!
Have a FITastic week...don't forget to check back in on Thursday :)
Pamela Stewart, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Specialist