hydration

7 Tips for A Flatter Tummy

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One of the first things my new clients say is that they want a flatter tummy. Belly fat can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. It also affects a woman’s confidence and how she feels in her clothes.

Even more important is the problem that this type of fat around the mid-section is a risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The good news—you can do something about it.

Here are 7 tips to help you lose belly fat so you can wear those form fitting clothes and feel beautiful in them:

1.    Eat a high protein diet: Protein should be a part of every meal. It keeps you full, decreases your appetite and helps build strong muscles. Studies have shown that eating quality protein (i.e., beef, salmon, eggs, turkey, pork, fish & chicken) throughout the day decreases abdominal fat—the type of fat that can be a precursor for obesity and disease. Not sure how much protein to eat? Strive for 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. 

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2.    Cut out sugar: For many of us, this is easier said than done. Sugar tastes good and many compare it to a drug that you can become addicted to over time. Quitting cold turkey usually doesn’t work. Instead, try to find healthier ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. Swap out candy for some fruit, and if you crave chocolate, eat a small piece of dark chocolate (at least 70% dark or higher), which is also heart healthy. And don’t forget those sugary drinks that are often overlooked. Ditch the sodas and juices, which are loaded with sugar. Flavored unsweetened seltzer or water is just as good and ten times better for your waistline. 

3.    Get active: It sounds obvious, but it’s always worth repeating. Cardiovascular exercise and resistance training will always work in reducing belly fat. You’ll burn calories whether you’re running, walking, biking, rowing or taking your favorite dance class. Studies show that aerobic exercise leads to weight loss, which ultimately results in reduced abdominal fat. What women sometimes forget though is the strength training part of the equation. Resistance training at least three times a week will not only get you stronger, but the muscles you build will take the place of fat. So don’t forget to lift those weights!

4.    Cut refined carbs and processed foods: Carbs often get a bad rap and there is some good reason for that. The problem occurs when you don’t eat the right carbs. A refined carb has basically been stripped of its nutritional value including fiber, vitamins and minerals. The lack of these important nutrients has been linked to obesity. Opt for complex carbs such as yams, sweet potatoes, whole oats, quinoa, and wild brown or black rice.

The same goes for processed foods. Just seeing the word “processed” on a food should be enough for you to stay away from it as it’s far from being natural and healthy. These foods are usually loaded with sugars and other ingredients that do nothing to keep your body healthy or your belly flat.

5.    Drink apple cider vinegar (ACV) every day: A tall tale or health hack? Whatever you may think about drinking apple cider vinegar, the truth lies in the science. One study showed that daily intake of apple cider vinegar significantly reduced belly fat. The acetic acid in the vinegar is what does the trick. And not only that, ACV has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels. Just be sure to dilute it with some water so it’s easier to drink.

6.    Drink plenty of water: Water is essential for all living things and that includes you. Water regulates your internal body temperature through sweating, it metabolizes and transports carbs and proteins, it helps flush waste out of your system and it keeps your joints lubricated. The list goes on and on. When it comes to belly fat, water is the perfect weapon to keep your body healthy while flushing out whatever may be causing belly bloat.

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 7.    Get more sleep: They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing. A good night’s sleep, which should be at least seven hours a night, is important for a variety of reasons. Not only is it beneficial for mental clarity, but it also reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). Lack of quality sleep has also been shown to increase the levels of ghrelin—the hormone that regulates your appetite. That means you’re more likely to eat more, which can lead to belly fat.

Some of these tips may be much easier than others and that’s okay. Rome wasn’t built in a day so no one expects you to change your habits over night. Pick the one that you know is the biggest contributor to your belly fat and work on changing that behavior. If you can break the most challenging habit, the rest should be easy!

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3284412/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17637702

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25477716

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661687

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/


 

Hydration And How Crucial It Is For Your Health

Water affects every organ and cell within your body. You may not have known this, but water even plays an enormous role in the health of your back and spine.

Most of us associate dehydration—when more water is moving out of our body than we are taking in—with muscle cramps, fatigue, and extreme thirst. Indeed, these are just some of the consequences of subpar hydration. But, did you know that dehydration affects your brain as well?

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Our brain is made up of around 73% water. If we don’t keep up with our water intake, especially in hot weather or while exercising, our thinking and cognition can suffer. In one study, adolescents who exercised for 90 minutes to a state of dehydration experienced significant shrinking of brain tissue, much like a sponge left out to dry.

Make sure you drink enough

Recommendations vary depending on weight, age, and activity level but an easy one to remember is 8x8, or 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water each day. You can also divide your weight in pounds by 2 and drink that number in ounces. For example, a 130-pound female would need 65 ounces (135/2) of water per day. Many experts recommend drinking to thirst—if you are thirsty, drink!

Mental benefits

Not only does staying hydrated help balance your mood by aiding in body regulation and brain function, but it also offers some big-time benefits for your memory. Yep, it’s true. Proper hydration can help improve the flow of both blood and oxygen to your brain, ultimately helping strengthen cognitive function and memory.

Fighting fatigue

 The equation here is a simple one—a well-hydrated body is a well-energized body. Combine that with the fact that hydration can also contribute to better sleep, and you may be able to kiss the need for that regular cup of joe each morning goodbye. (Sip mindfully as you enter the evening hours, though, since consuming liquids too close to bedtime could leave you running for the bathroom in the middle of the night).

Maximize Physical Performance

If we do not stay hydrated, physical performance can suffer. This is particularly important during intense exercise or high heat. Dehydration can have a noticeable effect if you lose as little as 2 percent of your body’s water content. However, it is not uncommon for athletes to lose up to 6-10 percent of their water weight via sweat.

This can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, increased fatigue and make exercise feel much more difficult, both physically and mentally.

Optimal hydration has been shown to prevent this from happening, and may even reduce the oxidative stress that occurs during high intensity exercise. This is not surprising when you consider that muscle is about 80 percent water.

How to Tell if You're Dehydrated

·       Your pee will be dark in color (resembling apple juice)

·       You may feel nauseous and experience fatigue

·       You might cramp up, lose focus, and feel groggy

·       You stop sweating

Hydration is also important for health reasons

Dehydration can cause a dangerous imbalance in blood-sodium and fluid levels, which can lead to serious illness and even death.

The risks are heightened in extremely warm weather. If you're training outside in the heat, make sure to take in extra fluids to keep your body temperature down and prevent cramping.

Water is truly the elixir of life. As you experience all the wonderful milestones of summer, remember to drink plenty of water and eat a diet rich in hydrating whole fruits and vegetables to keep you going strong all summer long. Your body (and mind) will thank you!