The New Year is approaching and declaring fitness goals are very popular. What is going to make 2015 different than 2014 or previous years when the declaration was made? As fitness professional one of the most popular requests from clients is their desire to get rid of belly fat.
The simple answer is the lack of proper nutrition and exercise over an extended period of time is how a gut develops. One component of your diet that can be a major contributor is beverages. From juices, sodas, and your favorite adult beverage. They are loaded with sugar, carbs, and calories which all contribute to belly fat.
Any kind of calories -- whether from alcohol, sugary beverages, or oversized portions of food -- can increase belly fat. However, alcohol does seem to have a particular association with fat in the midsection.
"In general, alcohol intake is associated with bigger waists, because when you drink alcohol, the liver burns alcohol instead of fat," says Michael Jensen, MD, an endocrine expert and obesity researcher with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that staying up late led to weight gain as well as unhealthy food cravings. Their findings, which were published in a 2013 edition of the journal of Sleep, suggest that night owls who slept four hours per night for five consecutive nights consumed up to 550 extra calories per night than subjects nabbing 10 hours per night.
A survey from the American Psychological Association found that 40 percent of high-stressed people deal with their issues through emotional eating. The increase in appetite also comes with a greater production of the hormone cortisol, which can slow metabolism.
Using food from time to time as a pick me up, a reward, or to celebrate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when eating is your primary emotional coping mechanism—when your first impulse is to open the refrigerator whenever you’re upset, angry, lonely, stressed, exhausted, or bored—you get stuck in an unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.
It is important going into the New Year to do a self-evaluation of habits and stresses that are contributors to weight gain. Look at your refrigerator and cabinets, survey your food choices and determine if they are contributing to a healthier lifestyle.
If you want to lose weight, get rid of a gut, build muscle, get leaner, or whatever your fitness goals are don’t enter 2015 with 2014 habits. Learn how to grocery shop and make better foods choices, find out what fitness programs are best suited for you, and most importantly make a decision to make a change and eliminate the excuses.
Health and Wellness Consultant/Personal Trainer