Friday, 19 August 2016


Ready for some sobering news? Your muffin top might be detrimental to your health. According to doctors, one of the worst places your body can store fat is your midsection; that stubborn section of belly fat carries a strong risk factor for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more—all things serious enough to make us take pause before our next Ocado order. And what's more frustrating is that women hang onto more belly fat than
men: "Women have up to nine times more alpha adrenergic receptors in their fat cells compared to men and oestrogen increases their activity," says Rhian Stephenson, nutritionist and CEO of Psycle. "While elevated cortisol [the stress hormone] is one the main culprits for fat storage around the mid-section."

In order to truly burn the fat, you’ll need to squeeze in some quality cardio time at the gym and lift some heavy weights to build muscle (muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have the more of a fat-burning furnace you'll become!). You also need to manage your stress levels (more on that later). There are some super quick and easy ways you can jumpstart the process—namely your diet. We asked various health professionals—Rhian StephensonElissa el Hadj, founder of FORM Studio, Alexandra Samit, Be Well health coach at Dr. Lipman’s Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, and Nicole Granato, a women’s health specialist—for the simple things we can be doing now to keep the annoying fat away from our midsections later (and forever). Keep scrolling to see what they said!


According to el Hadj incorporating thermogenic foods into your diet can "contribute to approximately 10% of your daily calorie burning capability by simply speeding up the metabolism." Thermogenic foods raise the body's temperature and for the body to get warmer it needs to use energy (or calories). And what's even better is that these foods are probably already in your kitchen: cayenne pepper, black pepper, green tea, turmeric, ginger and lean proteins like turkey.
Stephenson does warn that you need to make sure the rest of your lifestyle isn't out of kilter: "Adding in turkey won’t have nearly as significant an impact if you’re someone who sleeps for 4 hours a night or drinks excessively."


 I know, we're like a broken record. But drinking water is a cheap and effective way to stave off hunger and since abs are made in the kitchen, reducing your calorie intake will get you results. "Drink copious amounts of  filtered water throughout the day to encourage elimination and to induce a feeling of fullness," says el Hadj. Get bored of water? Try adding in citrus fruits, berries or mint leaves into the Urban Outfitters  to add some flavour without the calories.


We’re carb lovers through and through—but it’s time we swapped our white bread for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, black rice, and barley. According to Granato, removing refined grains from your diet and subbing in whole grains will help reduce belly fat, as well as fight inflammation and prevent heart disease. “Studies show that eating a whole grain diet can greatly reduce belly fat,” she promises. “Feeding your body with whole foods is essential to preventing snacking and bouts of hunger.”


Lastly, watch your stress levels. You can make all these dietary changes but if you're highly strung with work then no matter how much sauerkraut you chow down on it won't make a difference.
A little stress, however, is totally normal. A rise in cortisol (the stress hormone) is what helps us get out of bed in the mornings! "It’s when cortisol is perpetually elevated (or completely exhausted) that it becomes a problem," says Stephenson.
"A mixture of strength training and cardio will help reduce body fat; and if you’re extremely stressed, yoga will be incredibly beneficial as well. If you’re someone who is running on cortisol it’s important to look at your day as a whole to see what you can do to dampen the spikes. Coffee first thing in the morning on an empty stomach will definitely contribute to the overload, as will only doing extremely intense forms of exercise, not eating after a workout and being chronically sleep deprived," she adds.
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