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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on February 20, 2019

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

Why is this so critically important to you?

The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

  • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
  • The man facing the judge.
  • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
  • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
  • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
  • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

2. Accept Your Fear

Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

And here’s what can be done.

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3. Get Some Perspective

I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

  • Are you really at risk?
  • Will this kill you?
  • Which leads us on to..
  • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

4. Hold a Hand

As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

Ask yourself:

  • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
  • Could that really happen?
  • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
  • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

8. Assume the Worse

If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

  • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
  • Think about how they feel about champagne?
  • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

11. Go with Fear

When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

13. Own Your Fear

Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

More Resources About Fighting Fear

Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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