Ask the expert: Kaman Ryan
Published 04/04/2016 | 02:30
Q: I can’t seem to shift weight around my tummy, what am I doing wrong?
A: There is no magic bullet for belly fat. Usually, there is neither a single cause nor a single solution, and to really beat belly fat you will need to look at your diet and lifestyle as a whole. Your priorities should be:
Nutrients – eating a nutrient-rich diet will reduce cravings for salty, fatty, or sugary foods. Eating lots of vegetables (especially leafy greens), fruits and drinking enough water will make sure your body is able to expel toxins and waste efficiently, which in turn supports a healthy metabolism and hormonal system. Make sure you include good fats (eg, walnuts, salmon, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil), which are essential for good health. At the risk of stating the obvious, avoid as much as possible sugars (including alcohol) and refined foods – these cause, amongst other things, insulin spikes that are believed to promote belly fat.
Stress and sleep – chronic stress, where your body is constantly in ‘fight or flight’ mode, causes hormonal changes that increase appetite and encourage the retention of fat specifically around the belly area. Being under-slept messes with your hormones, increasing appetite and affecting the way your body metabolises food and stores fat. It’s not easy, but try to stress less and sleep more.
Exercise intensively – try an intensive exercise style such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Intense exercise burns lots of calories, builds muscle and increases the body’s metabolic rate (so you keep burning calories longer after exercise).