Advertising
Advertising

Lose Belly Fat Fast – Mind Your Hormones Too But Not Just Calories Intake

Lose Belly Fat Fast – Mind Your Hormones Too But Not Just Calories Intake

Gaining weight is always a frustrating thing — but it can be even more difficult when you find yourself putting on those extra pounds on your belly. Not only is it more unsightly, it is also worse for your health: the more weight you carry on your tummy, the more likely you are to also have fat deposits built up around organs like your liver that could eventually lead to disease.

When you are trying to lose abdominal fat, calories are not the only thing to think about: learning how to keep your hormones in balance is vital as well. These hormones communicate with the cells in your body to either make it easier — or harder — to lose that belly fat.

Let’s take a look at four of the most important hormones to think about when you are try to trim down your tummy.

Advertising

Hormone helps to regulate body fat

The hormone Adiponectin is produced by the fat cells but helps your body regulate body fat. Raised levels of this hormone make it easier to lose weight.

Hormone affects your eagerness for eating

The hormone Leptin is also made by your fat cells and is important because it sends signals to your brain that you are full and can stop eating. If you are not sensitive to this hormone, however, you are more likely to overeat.

The other hormone Cortisol is produced by the adrenal cortex, a gland that sits atop your kidneys, and is brought on by stress. Raised cortisol levels also signal to the body that it needs to pack on abdominal fat.

Advertising

Hormone helps to regulate the sugar level in your body

The hormone Insulin is made in your pancreas and it is the most important one to consider when it comes to losing belly fat!  This “master hormone” regulates how glucose (sugar) in used throughout the body. Fat cells are resistant to insulin and as you put on more weight, this insulin resistance grows. Increased insulin resistance will, in turn, increase the levels of insulin that your body needs to function. And these high insulin levels signal make it more likely that you will pack on more weight, especially in the area of your tummy.

Sound complicated? No worries! With simple lifestyle changes, you can help to balance these hormones in such a way that it becomes easier to lose belly fat!

1. Watch What You Drink

Watching your diet isn’t just about what you eat — what you drink is just as important.  Beverages with a lot of high fructose corn syrup in them (such as sodas) can raise levels of leptin and insulin in the body, while caffeinated beverages can raise levels of cortisol. Higher levels of these hormones signals to your body that it’s time to pack on weight.

Advertising

2. Add Greens, Seeds and Proteins to Your Diet!

There are certain foods you can add to your diet so that losing belly weight will be easier.  These foods include:

  • A green called purslane, which can be cut up fresh into salads and which is a rich source of both omega three fatty acids (which reduce inflammation naturally) and melatonin (which can help you sleep better and reduce cortisol levels naturally)
  • High-quality proteins — such as from fatty fish, pastured or wild meats and legumes — that can help decrease inflammation and increase your sensitivity to leptin.
  • Pistachios and pumpkin seeds. These healthy little snacks help to raise the levels of adiponectin, which makes it easier for you to burn fat. They are also fiber-rich and help stave off hunger pains when you are dieting.

3. Cut Fructose, Gluten and Dairy

There are also some foods which you should be avoiding in order to balance those hormones and lose that fat.  Some of the main culprits are:

  • Foods which contain high fructose corn syrup or are naturally high in fructose (like dried apricots). Fruictose increases insulin and leptin levels.
  • Gluten and dairy products can also be cut from the diet to reduce inflammation and insulin resistance.

4. Do High Intensity Exercise

While cardiovascular exercises such as running or bicycling have many definite benefits, they are not always so great when what you are aiming for is a tinier tummy. That is because these long workout can actually increase your cortisol levels. Brief, intense exercise lasting just a few minutes and broken up by periods of rest seem to work better for stimulating the body to burn fat.

Advertising

5. Sleep it Off!

Sleep deprivation, like cardiovascular exercise, can also raise levels of cortisol and, like the cardiovascular exercise, can actually make it harder to shed that tummy fat.  It is best to try to get between 7 and 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night if you are to avoid this stressor.

6. Manage Your Stress

It is not just the physical stress of exercise or sleep deprivation that’s that problem: emotional stress can also raise your cortisol levels. Learn to control this stress with a variety of “still” or “calming” activities that you can practice on your own or with friends and that will help you to tamp down on any feelings of worry or anxiety you might be feeling. Yoga, meditation, prayer, tai chi and breathing exercises are all great for this!

7. Consider Supplements

Some supplements appear to have a beneficial affect on balancing out your hormones — and fortunately, they are an easy thing to add to your everyday life. Zinc and magnesium, in particular, are supplements which can regulate your hormone levels. Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting this or any supplement, however.

8. Do a Fast

A fast doesn’t have to last all day long in order for you to gain benefits from it.  Even one that lasts as little as 18 hours can help women re-adjust to the body’s metabolic clocks and gives it a little boost, making it easier to burn fat as well.  When you are fasting, however, be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and also try to rest to avoid stressing your body.

This might seem like a lot to remember, but if you can manage to incorporate the tips above into your dieting strategy instead of just counting calories, you will probably find it easier to begin shedding weight from that all-important abdominal area, just because you took the time to balance out your hormones.

More by this author

Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

Amazing Benefits Of Cucumber Water (+5 Refreshing Recipes) How To Improve Your Health With Matcha Green Tea How To Enjoy Green Tea By Reducing Caffeine In It 8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds You Shouldn’t Miss 7 Superfoods To Restore Energy When You’re Burnt Out

Trending in Fitness

17 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day 2The Biggest Myth Debunked: The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles? 35 Exercises To Improve Intimacy and Create a Better Relationship 410 Benefits of Deadlifts You Probably Never Knew 510 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

Advertising

When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

    Advertising

      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

          Advertising

          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

              Advertising

                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

                  Read Next