Some behaviors can actually help to shrink your waistline and help you keep weight off for good. Here are ten of the best behaviors to start incorporating today to lose weight and banish belly fat for good.
• Deep Breathing: Stress can pack on belly fat and lead to a host of medical issues if not controlled. One of the quickest ways to reduce your stress levels and bring stress hormones (the ones that trigger belly fat storage when elevated for long periods of time) back to normal is by deep breathing. Taking a few long, deep breaths can help to instantly relax you and cut your overall stress.
Meditating: Meditation is the practice of focusing and concentrating on one particular thing, whether that be a particular sound or object or even your own breath. This increased focus and concentration helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation. In fact, studies show that people who meditate on a regular basis experience less anxiety and depression as well.
Exercising in short bouts: The more exercise the better, but you may not have the time or ability to exercise for long periods of time, especially when first starting out. So instead of trying to pack in 30 minutes of exercise at one time, space it out. Research has shown that working out in 10-minute intervals three times a day is just as effective for weight loss as working out for 30 minutes at once.
Sleeping: Sleep is such an important factor in banishing belly fat. Without adequate sleep, your stress levels increase, thus causing you to pack on pounds and fat around your midsection. Lack of sleep is also associated with reduced levels of leptin, the hormone that helps regulate appetite and metabolism. A leptin decrease stimulates appetite and promotes overeating. So in order to shrink your belly, it’s vital to get enough shuteye. Aim for seven to eight hours a night.
Chewing slowly: When you eat rapidly, your body can’t recognize when you’ve eaten enough. To slow yourself down, make it a point to chew each bite at least ten times and make sure to put your fork or spoon down in between bites.
Frequent snacking: One major key to losing weight and keeping it off is to not let yourself get too hungry. When you get too hungry, you experience strong food cravings, so when you do get a chance to eat, you eat the wrong things and eat too quickly, which can prevent you from recognizing your body’s cues as to when you’ve eaten enough. Have a small meal or snack every few hours to keep you from getting too hungry.
Staying hydrated: When you’re slightly dehydrated, your body holds onto more water. This excess water weight can give you a bloated or puffy look, especially in your midsection. Slight dehydration can also increase your cravings and appetite because your brain may misinterpret thirst for hunger. So drink up to slim down! Aim for 64 ounces (8 cups) of water daily.
Avoiding salt: The more sodium you consume, the more water weight you retain. This water weight then bloats your belly, making your waistline look larger than it really is. So put down the salt shaker and choose fresh, whole foods over salty processed ones.
Keeping a journal: One of the absolute best ways to get yourself on track with a weight loss plan (and maintain it) is by keeping a food journal. By tracking everything you eat and drink, you can notice when you begin to consume belly-bloating foods as well as double-check that you’re eating belly-fat-burning nutrients on a regular basis.
Stretching: Stretching is a great way to increase flexibility, strengthen muscles, and decrease stress. In addition, regular stretching helps to reduce exercise-related injuries, which can derail your fitness routine. Aim to spend a minimum of five to ten minutes every day doing a few brief stretches.