Weight gain may be caused by a number of factors. Some may be hormonal, others could psychological while others are habitual.
Stress is one of those factors that belong to almost all these categories. Your body gets stressed as a way of fleeing or fighting potentially threatening situations. In this process, it releases adrenaline which causes a surge in energy.
If you are stressed all the time, your body will presume that your survival is under threat. As a result, it will release a hormone called cortisol, which promotes the breakdown of lean muscle tissue.
Eventually, your body gets accustomed to the muscle breakdown thus slowing down your metabolism according to research.
The presence of cortisol also makes you accumulate fat around the stomach area. This subjects you to chronic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Given these negative effects of belly fat from stress, here are some ways to reduce it.
How to Lose Belly Fat from Stress
1. Do moderate cardio
The main advantage of cardio exercise is that it puts the cortisol in your system to good use. It allows your blood to keep flowing and thus transport this stress hormone to your kidneys. Eventually, the kidneys flush it out.
Some options you may consider include cycling, jogging, indoor rowing, and other indoor cardio exercises.
However, ensure you do not overdo the cardio as that may raise your stress levels. Limit your cardio to 30 minutes a day and look out for cardio overtraining symptoms.
2. Clean up your pantry
It is important for you to start eating high fiber foods. Not only are these foods low in calories but they also increase the feeling of fullness.
As a man trying to lose belly fat from stress, strive for a daily fiber intake of 38 grams and if you are a woman, aim for 25 grams a day.
These foods should account for the highest portion of your meal. Examples include whole grains, vegetables, seeds and beans. Apart from fiber rich foods, ensure you get your dose of omega 3 from lean meats like fish.
3. Do strength training
You need to combine moderate cardio with strength training if you want the best results.
Strength training helps increase muscle mass, which speeds up your metabolism. Even simple exercises like squats and push ups can boost your metabolism.
However, I’d recommend you focus on full body strength training. This program has effective full body strength training workouts.
4. Sleep is essential
When you do not get enough sleep, more often than not, your body continues to release more cortisol, which enhances belly fat.
As a rule of thumb, you should get about 7.5 hours of sleep every night.
Create bedtime rituals that ensure you go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day.
5. Cut back on highly processed, sugary or fatty foods
Stress increases the likelihood of eating high-calorie processed foods. You crave such foods is because they trigger the release of serotonin hormone, which is a pleasure-inducing substance, so you seemingly counter the negative effects of stress
The problem with serotonin is that it lasts for only a short time. You may get a surge in mood but after sometime your blood sugar will drop and you will feel hungry and tired.
When such feelings set in, you may result to eating those foods again and thus create a vicious cycle.
6. Don’t forget your vitamins
When eating, it is essential to take foods that are rich in vitamin B, C and D. These micronutrients have a reductive effect on cortisol.
Furthermore, they tend to tame food cravings, which increase when you experience chronic stress.
B Vitamins particularly help to restore brain functioning and thus alleviate irritability or depression. In fact, one sign of vitamin B deficiency is stress and irritability.
Foods rich in vitamin B include green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.
Those rich in vitamin C include fruits like oranges, mango, guavas, papaya, strawberries and cabbages. Sources of vitamin D include mushrooms, tofu and fish.
7. Magnesium and calcium are also critical
These two minerals have the same effect as vitamins; they help to negate the negative effects of cortisol.
Magnesium can be found in seeds, nuts, low fat dairy as well as beans. Ensure that you do not overdo it with the nuts because they contain plenty of calories. Usually, a handful will do.
Calcium is also essential in reducing belly fat from stress. You can get it from yogurt and milk. Tofu may also be a good alternative.
8. Resist the temptation to drink coffee or alcohol
As an alternative to ‘treat’ foods, some people take alcohol as a coping mechanism. The problem with alcohol (especially beer) is that it is packed with empty calories. Too much of this beverage could give you a beer gut, so avoid it.
Coffee is also problematic because it increases anxiety, jitteriness, and can cause a caffeine crash.
9. Try meditation
If you have belly fat from stress you want to try as many alternatives as possible to curb stress.
Meditation is an effective, natural, and simple way of minimizing stress as proven in this study.
Dedicate about 30 minutes of your day (usually in the morning) for this even if you are extremely busy. In those moments, free yourself from any concern and conduct breathing exercises.
10. Be organized
Sometimes stress emanates from a feeling of lack of control in your life. People often feel overwhelmed when they have too many commitments.
Restore balance and control in your life by first learning to say no and taking on only what you can handle.
Additionally, plan your day in advance and ward off any distractions that arose throughout the day. Even cleaning up or de-cluttering your house gives you a sense of control
11. Protein makes a difference
Protein is helpful in stabilizing your blood sugar levels, which as stated earlier reduces overeating.
If you have protein in your meals, your stomach needs more time to process them than carbohydrates, so you don’t get an immediate burst of sugar, which causes a dip, cravings, and overeating.
12. Practice mindful eating
Practice mindfulness before you put anything in your mouth.
Do not eat while moving or doing something else. Take time to chew your food so that you are conscious of how much you eat.
In order to reduce belly fat from stress, you have to adopt a lifestyle that supports stress reduction. Do this by practicing calming techniques like meditation, assertiveness, and tidiness.
Additionally, it is essential to eat a healthy diet and to engage in exercise. Use these 28 fat-blasting workouts to lose belly fat from stress.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]