Does it seem to you that no matter how many spin classes you take or diets you try, you just can’t get rid of the dreaded muffin top? That lovely layer of fat that seems to want to squish itself out of the top of your yoga pants no matter what you do.
There are so many variables as to why women have to deal with this. Whether it’s a collection of excess visceral fat protecting your organs, or it’s a hormonal change that seems to be getting completely out of control, there are a few weight loss tips that can help battle unexpected weight gain.
1. Recognize that stress plays a role in excess weight in your midsection
When our bodies experience stress, whether it’s at home, work or even the physical stress of a good workout, our bodies release cortisol. Our brain triggers this powerful stress hormone when it detects danger. The brain produces a boost of cortisol, which remains in our body and signals our brains to store energy for what it believes will be most useful after the “stressful activity”.
What happens next? We crave carbs and fats. If we don’t use that additional fat and glucose, then it quickly gets deposited as fat. That fat hangs around the middle of our bodies in an effort to make it accessible easily by the nearby liver.
Quick tip for combatting cortisol
Make sure you are consuming healthy fats and complex carbs during your day so that your body doesn’t detect a deficiency, and thereby produce powerful cravings , so that it can convert into fat to be stored in places we don’t want it to be stored.
2. Magnesium may be lacking in your diet
Magnesium is nature’s muscle relaxant. It helps with digestion, inflammation and helps to balance our adrenal system. That matters because that system regulates our stress hormones. Magnesium will also help when trying to get a good night’s sleep. Good sleep helps manage your stress, which will in turn slow down the accumulation of fat around the midsection.
Quick tip for adding magnesium to your diet
Eat a lot of magnesium rich foods, such as dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach. You can even treat yourself to a square of dark chocolate, which is very high in magnesium. Almonds, cashews and peanuts contain a lot of magnesium and healthy fats, but be careful to watch your portion size.
3. Keep moving — small changes make a big difference
This one may seem obvious but I am always surprised by how little movement people add to their days. Workouts matter, of course, but so do small changes. With 4 kids of my own, I understand the difficulty in making the time, so there are a few little things we can do that can make a huge difference.
Quick tip for adding movement to your day
When you park your car, rather than wasting time looking for the closest spot, take the time to walk from a farther one. On average you will add 1.6 miles of walking every week with this simple adjustment. We have heard about taking the stairs for years. How about giving it a try? The average person will add over 200 stairs per week if they forego elevators and escalators.
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Photo credit for all post photos: Colin Gaudet
Jason Spilberg, RHN and owner of MyOptimizedLife.ca, contributed this post as a guest writer.
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