While we think tummies are awesome, because they house all the yummy food we eat and are perfect cushions for loved ones, they can be quite troublesome to some women. Maybe it is the shape we want to change or get rid of them for health reasons, or maybe they obstruct your view of your toes! Whatever your reason is, you need to first recognise your type of belly before you take measures to get rid of it.
Types of Belly Fat and How to Get Rid of It
It’s bad enough that stress brings you down and causes a ton of health problems. Now us stress-mongers have a round belly to sport as well. Your fat will be situated around the navel, where cortisol (the hormone that controls blood sugar and gets released during stressful times) causes fat storage in this area. The tummy will be saggy, not firm and may protrude from your pants loosely.
How to fix it:
If your belly is a stress belly here are some easy ways to get started on fixing it:
- Go to bed earlier than you do and fit in more relaxing activities before you turn in.
- Relaxing hobbies like practicing a sport you like, pursuing a hobby or just unwinding will cause you to breathe deeper. Deep breathing has a calming effect and can help combat stress. If you need help – use an app like Headspace which can guide you through deep breathing exercises to help you relax.
- Drink up to calm down – get yourself a soothing cup of herbal tea – there’s a host available. Choose a blend that can help combat stress – chamomile tea is a good bet, as is tulsi.
- Caffeine raises cortisol levels so cut down on caffeine, and restrict your intake to not more than 3 cups a day. Also, try to get your caffeine fix towards the first half of your day, and keep away from anything containing caffeine (yes that includes tea and colas) post 4 in the evening.
- Ensure that breakfast is healthy and wholesome to avoid cravings through the day. Here are some great breakfast ideas to kick-start your day.
Read: 32 Breakfast Recipies for a Protein-packed Morning
Do you feel back pain now and then? Crave sugary foods? It could be a case of a liquor belly. This does not imply in any way that you might be an alcoholic. The term liquor tummy, does, however, come from the fact that the belly resembles that of a person who enjoys a daily drink or two. Alcohol interferes with your body’s ability to break down sugars effectively, causing fat storage. This kind of tummy can also manifest in people with sedentary jobs with a weakness for sugary or carb-laden foods which could cause a spare “tyre” or a pot-belly. This tummy typically looks like a large round one, that starts below the ribs and extends to the pelvic area.
How to Fix it:
- If you do enjoy alcohol often, you might need to restrict the intake.
- Try and make healthier food choices and use the stairs wherever you can to target lower belly fat.
- Correct your posture. Incorrect posture can also cause your tummy bulge to grow. You’d be surprised at how your belly instantly appears slimmer if you adopt the correct posture.
When the hormones are produced in excess or not produced at all, there is an imbalance in the body. This could cause weight gain, specifically in the belly area. Hormones that affect sugar levels are usually the ones at play here. High levels of estrogen is linked to thyroid conditions that can cause weight gain in the tummy, neck, shoulders or legs. During menopause, low estrogen can cause fat on the sides, a.k.a muffin tops. If you are suffering from Poly-cystic ovary syndrome, your body produces more testosterone, which will make your tummy hang out from your waistband.
How to Fix it:
- Do a checkup to identify the problem. A doctor may then prescribe medication to regularise your hormones.
- A low Glycemic Index diet is best to maintain a healthy weight and keep hormone levels in check.
- Sweets, fried foods and high carbs need to be reserved for occasions only.
- Exercise or brisk walk for at least 30 minutes every day.
Post-Partum Mummy Tummy
During pregnancy, the body’s insulin levels rise, causing the abdomen to store fat. Post delivery, a mums tummy tends to store fat and it is very difficult to lose, especially after a c-section delivery as it takes a while for the scar to heal, before which exercise is not recommended. Your belly might still look like you are pregnant. Mums may also face diastasis recti in which the ab muscles get separated and give the appearance of a wider tummy area.
How to fix it:
- Eat a wholesome diet and also include nuts, oils, flax seeds and olives to it.
- Begin with light exercise daily but take care not to exert too much as your system could still be recuperating from labour and delivery. Specifically, avoid doing crunches and sit-ups ad they worsen diastasis recti.
- Above all, do not limit the nutrients you intake, especially if you are breastfeeding your baby as your baby’s immunity could get affected.
Read: 14 Simple Home Remedies To Really FLATTEN Your Belly After Pregnancy!
If your tummy feels puffy and large suddenly, it could be a case of bloating. Bloating occurs when there is excess gas production or even water retention in the body. Your tummy might feel tight and hard due to the trapped gas and may also be painful upon touch. Allergic reactions to gluten and lactose could cause bloating as well. Try and find out what is causing your tummy to bloat before you figure out a way to tackle it.
How to fix it:
- Increase your water intake.
- If you can, add a lemon wedge to your water and sip on it all day to beat the bloat.
- Eating high fibre foods like spinach, oats and banana’s can also help get rid of bloated bellies.
Now that you are equipped to tackle belly fat, know that apart from belly bloats, fat reduction will take some time. Do not attempt crash diets and other extreme measures as they could have long-term effects on your body.
Remember, you are doing this for your body because you love it, not because you hate it. Love your body and it will love you back with a longer life and more energy to do the things you love!