There's no doubt that excess weight is a health risk. Yet many people tell me that they try to lose weight, but somehow their belly fat does not budge! Are you one of them?
You’re watching what you eat and exercising regularly BUT you can’t seem to lose the belly fat – no matter how hard you try! If eating healthily and exercising is not enough to lose that extra bulge around your waist, then it could be that your hormones are to blame. Don't loose heart, however! Identifying the problem is key to finding a solution, so read on!
HOW CAN HORMONES CAUSE BELLY FAT?
Your hormones control and influence your ability to maintain a healthy weight. Hormones influence your metabolism and where fat is stored and they control your appetite too. Carrying extra weight around your belly is often a sure sign of a hormone imbalance - in men AND in women! Hormones that could be causing you to retain belly fat include estrogen imbalance, low testosterone, high insulin, high cortisol and low DHEA (adrenal gland hormone)
Let’s take a look at the common culprits:
- INSULIN RESISTANCE
If you are taking in excess sugar and carbs such as processed foods and sugary drinks, and not eating enough protein, fibre or fat, then your insulin levels are bound to increase. Insulin is an important substance whose primary function is to process sugar in the bloodstream and transport it to the cells so that it can be used as fuel. When there is a continuous dip and spike in blood sugar levels, it means that your cells are no longer responding to insulin and sugar is being converted into fat. And guess where that excess body fat develops? Right, there in your belly! The solution? Eat more lean protein and cut down on carbs and sugars. Natural remedies to balance insulin and blood sugar levels are also a good idea!
2. ADRENAL IMBALANCE
There is a strong link between an adrenal imbalance and stubborn belly fat. The adrenal glands produce hormones that influence our ability to cope with stress. When the adrenals are under constant stress and pressure, cortisol and adrenaline is continuously produced throughout the body – this is how your body prepares you to deal with the “flight or fight” response. During times of stress, the body retains extra calories which, when not used, end up being stored as fat. The solution? AdrenoBoost is an herbal remedy I formulated many years ago and is of great help for adrenal fatigue. Also try to manage and reduce stress and aim for at least 7 - 8 hours of sleep every night - adrenal glands recover from the day while you are sleeping! If adrenal imbalance is affecting your weightloss efforts, resulting in an accumulation of fat around your middle, you can also try Belly Flat - a natural remedy especially formulated to address weight loss around the middle.
3. HORMONAL IMBALANCE
Many women entering menopause will experience hormonal shifts due to the influence of estrogen and progesterone. In many cases, they don’t actually gain weight but their body proportions change. When these hormonal changes occur, there is a decline in estrogen and progesterone levels and cortisol and insulin levels increase, causing belly fat to be stored.
Men also go through hormonal changes as they age! Just like women, the ratio of hormones like oestrogen and testosterone will change. In addition, many men and women in their middle years are dealing with multiple stressors on the home and work fronts, often resulting in an imbalance of adrenal hormones. Small wonder that body weight then tends to get a little out of control! The solution? If you are going through 'that time of life', whether this is female or male menopause, natural remedies can be very helpful to maintain balanced hormonal levels. Try Don Quai for women or Ikawe for Men.
WHAT MORE CAN I DO TO PREVENT & REDUCE BELLY FAT?
- EAT A HORMONE DIET
While you may think that you are eating healthily, your diet may still be lacking in certain essential nutrients. Add more protein to your diet to keep your sugar levels balanced, control your appetite and help with fat loss. According to studies a diet high in protein helps to get rid of stubborn belly fat and stimulates the activity of fat-burning hormones when eaten in the right amounts. Choose protein options such as lean chicken, turkey, eggs, low fat cheese and fish. Also eat foods with a low GI that burn slower and keep you full for longer – preventing the spikes in blood sugar caused by low GI and over processed carbohydrates like sugary foods and drinks, white breads, pasta, etc. Rather have whole grain breads and root veggies like sweet potato and butternut.
- KEEP INSULIN RESISTANCE UNDER CONTROL
If you are insulin resistant, you should make a point of eating regular meals throughout the day to balance your sugar levels. Breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack and then dinner will help to create stable blood sugar levels. Following this diet will also help to reduce belly fat faster.
- REDUCE STRESS LEVELS
Did you know that prolonged stress can make you fat!? Stress affects your adrenal glands and the levels of adrenal hormones circulating in your body. Everyone experiences stress – some people more than others. The trick, however, is to manage your stress levels and practice self-care. Find something that relaxes and brings you joy. This could be different for everyone. For example, I love my 30 - 40 minute walk every morning. Apart from the valuable exercise I get, it is also my 'quiet time' and really helps with stress levels! Find what works for you! Also practice deep breathing exercises by inhaling and exhaling when you feel stressed or anxious. Breathing is clsoely linked to stress and sometimes just expelling air mindfully will help to bring down stress levels! You can also listen to soothing music, meditate, go for a massage, soak in a long, hot bath, juin a dance or yoga class or walk on the beach. Do what YOU love!
Did you know that simply learning to say NO can also help to reduce your stress levels? Whenever you need to choose whether to say No or Yes to something, think first! Will it be good for you?
Another good idea is to keep a bottle of PureCalm on hand – this natural remedy quickly relieves anxiety, stress and nervousness with a few drops!
- EXERCISE IS KEY!
Regular exercise is one of the best gifts you can give yourself for all-round physical, emotional and mental health, as well as helping you to lose that ‘Telly Tubby’ look! Regular exercise not only keeps you healthy and helps with weight management, it also helps to reduce stress, improve thyroid and adrenal health and maintain healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels! You don’t have to rush off and join the gym if that is not your scene. Even a short walk around the block will help. Not my choice of the word 'regular' exercise – it’s the consistency that counts most! Challenge yourself to just a 30 minute walk a day to reduce stress levels AND that stubborn belly fat!.
- GET ENOUGH SLEEP!
Did you know that getting enough sleep can help your body to burn more fat? At least 7 to 9 hours sleep helps to minimize stress and promotes overall health and well being. If you are going to bed late at night, waking up tired or struggling to fall asleep, then you are definitely not getting a good night’s rest and your belly fat is not going to disappear either. Try to make your bedroom a comfy haven for sleep and relaxation only. Get rid of all electrical equipment such as TV’s, tablets or cellphones and relax your body and mind before turning in at night. Struggling to sleep? As a Clinical Psychologist, I know that there could be many reasons for sleep problems, such as Restless Legs Syndrome, Stress or even an overactive mind. That is why I have formulated a variety of natural remedies to address each problem differently. CLICK HERE to find the right natural sleep remedy for yourself!
So you see, beating the belly-fat is not impossible - it just needs the right approach! Try these belly-fat busting solutions and you’ll discover the amazing results in no time!