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7 Effective Ways To Kick Your Belly Fat Away

7 Effective Ways To Kick Your Belly Fat Away

Look, I know that the title almost sounds too good to be true, as you’ll find a huge number of similar tips online. However, I’m not here to give you unrealistic expectations and sell you my special brand of fat-destroying snake oil, nor am I here to hold your hand and tell you that you should ease into it slowly. I’m a guy that’s been very skinny, bulky, fairly fat and eventually nice and proportional for my height and skeletal structure, so I tend to be a realist.

I’ve also had a number of friends who struggled with weight, and some of them managed to shed anywhere between 45 and 65 pounds, and none of us did it using a dramatically different method than the rest. In fact, all our lifestyle changes were fairly similar, and there was one constant – we all ate healthier foods, consumed less calories overall and trained our butts off.

You have to commit to a radically different lifestyle and have some patience, as belly fat is the last to go for a vast majority of people, and you can’t “target” it. All you can do is follow a few effective guidelines and wait for your body fat percentage to drop low enough for your body to finally start to let go of those last reserves of belly fat.

1. Switch to diet soda and eat fruit when you crave something sweet

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    Cutting calories can be a tricky task, because it’s difficult for most people to gauge portion size and realize just how many calories they are actually consuming. However, one aspect that contributes to at least 1/4 or 1/3 of most people’s daily calories are sugary drinks and candy. By giving these up you can easily drop some 800-1600 calories or even more, depending on how much of it you consume on a daily basis.

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    A 2 litre bottle of Coke or similar drink is about 800 calories, while a 100g bar of chocolate has about 500 calories. As a comparison, diet sodas have zero or close to zero calories, a medium-sized banana has 100 calories, 100g of strawberries have about 33 calories and a medium-sized apple has just under 100 calories. When you feel a need for something sweet, go with some fruit and a handful of nuts, or a bowl of muesli and some milk.

    2. Opt for healthier foods and do your own cooking

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      Here are a couple of facts that you need to keep in mind when losing weight:

      • You will mostly eat foods that are readily available in your home
      • Most of the time, you’ll just eat what’s quick and convenient to prepare

      When we understand these important points we can come up with easy solutions:

      • Fill up your freezer, fridge and pantries with healthy foods
      • Cook for the next few days or the entire week and have your meals ready to go

      Not only will cooking your own food help you stick to a healthier diet, but it will also save you a lot of money. Restaurants and fast food joints are a problem, so instead of eating out you can have a nice dinner at your house from time to time, or go for a walk and have a picnic. You can bring your food to work in plastic containers. This way you won’t be tempted to go with high calorie foods.

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      3. Take the time to stretch and meditate when stressed or fatigued

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        Static stretches should be done after each workout, be it weightlifting or running, but they can also be used whenever you feel a bit agitated. Not only will some 10-15 minutes of stretching help alleviate joint pain and muscle soreness, but it will also help relax your mind. You essentially occupy your mind with the task at hand and forget about your worries for a while.

        End these short stretching bouts with another 10 minutes of slow breathing in a comfortable position, and try to clear your mind and focus on counting every breath – once you get to ten, start over from one, and visualize the numbers appearing on a big white screen as you count. Effective stress management is very important for keeping your body and mind in good health, and will prevent things like emotional eating.

        4. Walk at least 1-2 hours total each day

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          This is the easiest good habit to get into, and it is actually great for both your heart and weight loss. It doesn’t burn much calories compared to running, hitting the heavy bag or circuit training, but since it is much easier you’ll be less likely to skip a session, and won’t mind doing it for a couple of hours at a time.

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          A simple way to get more walking done is to park a little further away, use the stairs more often, take your dog out to the park, go shopping with some friends or just put on an audiobook or some music and make a few circles around the block. A good substitute can be household chores – some 30-60 minutes of vacuuming, dusting and washing dishes will burn enough calories to make a difference.

          5. Do cardio while watching TV

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            Walking is good for your cardiovascular system and shedding a few extra calories, but nothing beats an intense cardio workout where you keep your heart rate elevated for some 10-20 minutes. Running is great and can be fun, but it tends to be a little hard on the joints, and it’s easy to find an excuse not to do it. This is why I would recommend getting an exercise machine and placing it in your living room, so you can get in a quick session while you watch some TV or listen to an audio book.

            As far as home devices go, a rowing machine is an excellent choice, as it takes up little space, doesn’t waste electricity and gets your entire body involved in the movement, particularly the pulling muscles of the back and the abdominals, which most people neglect when training. Just be sure to make certain you’re using it properly, as you can hurt yourself with bad form!

            6. Build a solid strength base

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              Pumping up those muscles a little bit serves several important purposes:

              • It gives you something to show off when the fat comes off
              • The training helps you burn some extra calories
              • The added muscle tone increases the amount of calories you burn when resting

              Building strength will build a good amount of muscle as well, and the more muscle you have the more calories your body will need just to maintain the same weight, so you don’t have to cut your calories too low or go insane with the cardio exercises. It also makes you feel more agile and energetic, which will cause you to move around more throughout the day, burning yet more calories in the process.

              7. Go to bed earlier and get a solid 8 hours of sleep

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                Getting enough sleep will help you reduce stress, improve concentration and allow your body to regulate its complex biochemistry and keep your metabolism high. If you fail to get adequate rest, you will have trouble pushing hard at the gym or staying consistent with your rowing or treadmill sessions. As an additional benefit, the less you stay awake at night, the less cravings you’ll experience – you can’t eat if you’re asleep.

                These are proven methods that can help you cut your calories, improve digestion, burn a good amount of energy and increase your metabolism, all of which are needed to shed that persistent belly fat. It takes commitment and patience to get the results you want, but as long as you don’t make too many mistakes and stay consistent with these new habits, expect to see a sexy flat belly in a few months.

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                Nemanja Manojlovic

                Editor at MyCity Web

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                Last Updated on March 30, 2020

                Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                Feeling tired all the time?

                Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

                I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

                Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

                In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

                What Happens When You’re Too Tired

                If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

                Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

                • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
                • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
                • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
                • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
                • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
                • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

                Unfortunately, yes!

                Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

                Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

                Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

                Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

                Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

                Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

                1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
                2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
                3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

                The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

                It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

                Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

                Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

                If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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                Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

                Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

                But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

                Symptoms of fatigue include:

                • Difficulty concentrating
                • Low stamina
                • Difficulty sleeping
                • Anxiety
                • Low motivation

                These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

                Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

                How Much Sleep Is Enough?

                The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

                Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

                The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

                Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

                Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

                If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

                And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

                It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

                4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

                Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

                1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
                2. Exercising regularly
                3. Using stressbusters
                4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

                So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

                After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

                In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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                I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

                Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

                • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
                • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
                • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
                • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

                The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

                And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

                But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

                L — Living Healthy

                Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

                So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

                In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

                As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

                Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

                1. Unplug

                Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

                So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

                2. Unwind

                Do something to relax.

                Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

                3. Get Comfortable

                Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

                Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

                Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

                Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

                If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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                Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

                This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

                E — Exercise

                Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

                That’s what happened in my case.

                But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

                As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

                My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

                That made sense to me.

                So, I decided to swim.

                I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

                Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

                Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

                So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

                If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                A — Attitude

                Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

                When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

                Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

                Breathing.

                But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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                Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

                1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
                2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
                3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
                4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
                5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
                6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

                This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

                When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

                Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

                N — Nutrition

                Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

                If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

                Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

                For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

                Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

                Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

                1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
                2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
                3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
                4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
                5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
                6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
                7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
                8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
                9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

                Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

                That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

                Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

                The Bottom Line

                If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

                If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

                If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

                • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
                • Regular Exercise You Love
                • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
                • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

                Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

                More Tips to Help You Rest Better

                Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
                [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
                [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
                [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
                [5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                [6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                [7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                [8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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