Belly fat is a common concern that many people struggle with. For some, it can be as simple as choosing the right fit when it comes to nutrition and exercise, however for many it can be more complex. Weight gain around the mid-section can also be linked to one or a combination of physiological imbalances. Here’s a summary of these causes:
1) Optimal Nutrition
When it comes to nutrition, the most effective choices involves foods that enhance our physiology. This includes a good balance of:
a) Healthy Fats – Avocado, raw nuts & seeds, omega 3 essential fatty acids (e.g. fish oil, flax seed oil)
b) Vegetables – A good variety of non-salad veggies — VEGETABLES = 50- 75% of the plate.
c) Healthy Carbohydrates like Beans, Peas & Gluten Free Grains – Rice, Quinoa, Millet, Buckwheat & Amaranth, along with any products made from these grains are ideal. Gluten containing grains, like those from the wheat* family, can contribute to belly fat.
*My only recommended exception when it comes to grains is Sprouted Grain Bread, which may contain wheat. The sprouting process makes the grain easier to digest and assimilate.
d) Lean Protein – if consuming animal protein, choose lean meat like turkey, fish & chicken.
e) Regular Meals – Skipping meals can skew blood sugar balance and the way energy is made and used.
f) Limiting/Avoiding what I like to call “Non-Food” food… things that don’t have much nutritional density like processed food, refined foods, food with artificial ingredients, etc., etc.
Is your exercise the right fit for you? We are all biochemically different, and not all bodies respond to exercise the same way. This is one of the tougher topics when it comes to weight loss.
The truth is, regular movement is good, no matter what. Using exercise to help strengthen our bones, muscles and circulation is tremendously important and that’s the bottom-line. However, for those who question why they have belly fat despite their exercise, there must be a deeper conversation about finding the type exercise that is going to best suit their physiological needs.
3) Hormone Balance
As we age, our bodies will inevitably experience hormonal changes. When a hormonal change shifts into an imbalance, this can inhibit metabolism. Ongoing hormonal imbalances that are not addressed can have an accumulative effect on slowing metabolism.
Having a balanced sleep-wake rhythm also helps with optimal metabolism. Cortisol, a primary metabolic hormone, is kept in check when sleep is optimal.
Many people feel belly fat is accentuated when they experience digestive distention or bloating. Moreover, bloating can be a sign the the body is not detoxifying optimally. Sluggish detoxification can also inhibit metabolism.
Stress is a normal part of everyday life. However, when stress is prolonged or if we have a difficult time managing stress, this can also disrupt our metabolic activity and make it difficult to lose weight. Stress can also interfere with the balance of cortisol, thyroid function and/or pituitary function.
When it comes to addressing belly fat, it’s ideal to take a whole body approach. Building a good foundation of health will not only address this stubborn concern, but it will also promote our most optimal vitality.