Targeting Tummy Fat

21 September, 2012

We won't lie: You do have to eat better and exercise. But we're here to maximize your efforts.

Ever wonder why no matter what you do, that little extra roll around your tummy won't go away? There's a good chance it's not your diet that's at fault (though don't rule it out!). Cortisol, a stress hormone made by the adrenal glands, may be the culprit. This hormone stops the body from breaking down fat and makes it start breaking down muscle instead, reducing your metabolic rate. High cortisol levels also eventually increase levels of insulin, which in turn increases fat storage. And cortisol sends survival messages, one of which is to eat. One thing that reduces cortisol levels is meditation; another, of course, is exercise which produces Seretonin and acts as a Cortisol buffer (inhibiting its release). So if you have stubborn tummy fat, chances are you need to turn down those fat-producing stress hormones with LIFESTYLE changes that include more sleep and less stress, and keeping up those workouts.

FLAB TO FAB:

If left to its own devices, the body will slowly lose muscle at the rate of about 5-10 pounds per decade. Less muscle means less fat-and calorie-burning ability, meaning that you need fewer calories at 50 than you did at 40. The only way to protect against this muscle loss is to use it or lose it. So start pumping that iron now! If you want to sustain that existing muscle, protein is essential because it is made of amino acids, the building blocks of our muscles, organs, hair, toenails, neurotransmitters, enzymes and just about anything else you need to keep going. A rule of thumb is about .4 grams per pound of body weight (i.e., 60 grams for a 150 pound woman). Athletes need more, as do muscular people. We take protein primarily from animal products, we also consume it when we eat animal by-products, such as eggs, milk and cheese. Finally, there's vegetable protein, such as that found in soybeans. So be sure to harness the weight-loss boost of this essential nutrient!

When training your abdominal muscles, you'll need to target all areas at all different angles, from your sternum to your pelvis, as well as your "love handles" - and it's ok to diversify those ab workouts everyday........because once you've reduced your layer of body fat those "six-pack" or "washboard" abs can show through!

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