It’s always bikini season somewhere…
and if you want to hit the beach with confidence, it’s time to look and feel your best.
Without a doubt, the belly is a top concern for anyone preparing to show some beach body skin. Fat on the belly area seems to accumulate easier than on other parts of the body, especially for some people, yet it’s the most stubborn and hardest to get rid of. Mid-section weight, including the dreaded “beer belly” and “muffin top”, can be a huge source of embarrassment and frustration for those self-conscious about their weight.
But while fighting belly weight can seem like a hopeless battle, it’s important to remember that while it’s not an overnight process, you can take control of your body – and your belly – with a smart and healthy lifestyle, exercise, and diet changes.
A regular exercise routine and sensible diet will put you well on your way to success in meeting your weight loss goals.
Here are 5 expert tips to melt belly fat as you go for your beachbody goals:
1. Get enough sleep.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases extra levels of the hormone cortisol (known as the stress hormone).
High levels of cortisol “signal” your body to store fat around your belly. In a recent interview with Marlo Thomas for The Huffington Post, celebrity personal trainer Jackie Warner says that hormonal imbalance is one of the leading causes of stubborn fat around the midsection.
2. Beat bloat.
Even a mild case of lactose or gluten intolerance can lead to bloating around the belly.
These possible allergens can cause digestive issues in your intestines and thus excess water weight around your belly and waist.
Taking a break from these possible culprits will allow you to ensure they’re not sabotaging your battle of the bulge. Take two weeks off of dairy, and then two weeks off of gluten. Notice how you feel and look without each. If your digestion feels smoother by the second week, and you notice any reduction in belly flab, you may want to consider a more permanent diet change, or talk with your doctor about possible options.
3. Skip the crunches: do squats and lunges instead.
Traditional crunches are considered by many in the health industry to be an inefficient exercise to target belly fat.
The usual crunches target only one area of the abdominals and don’t tone the rest of the body or provide the hormonal (the fat-blasting) body response that a core-targeting exercise routine does.
Squats and lunges, on the other hand, are two of the most effective exercise for fighting belly fat, as they both work the core as they tone (and provide a serious booty boost).
4. Hit the mat.
A regular yoga practice can help lower stress (again, reducing those pesky cortisol overloads that lead to increased belly fat), increase energy and focus – say goodbye to that 3pm sugar boost you thought you “needed” to get through the day – and improve your mood big time.
The bottom line: you’ll feel amazing. And the added bonus? It’s a true core workout that will work deep-down ab muscles you didn’t even know existed.
5. Set reasonable goals, and track your progress.
There’s no better motivation than setting a goal, and meeting it, except maybe fitting into your favorite jeans.
Setting attainable and measurable goals is a great way to make sure you’re staying on track and enjoying the journey to true health. Start small- maybe your first week’s goal is to make it to one yoga class; maybe it’s to quit soda once and for all.
For some, a weight loss journal can be really helpful, too- each morning, write about how you’re feeling and your goals for the day or week.
Check out top-rated fitness trackers in your smart phone app store for a convenient way to document your results.
Tracking what you’re eating and what exercises and activities you’ve done can also be really helpful, especially as you progress and can look back on how far you’ve come.
Eat right, exercise appropriately, sleep well and monitor your progress to carve a lean and toned beach body this season.