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SEATTLE, Wash. - We are all undergoing an unprecedented amount of stress these days with the pandemic and the unrest across the world. Stress causes increased belly fat because stress causes our cortisol levels to spike.
Nutritionist and Health Coach, Deborah Enos says your body then stores fat because it thinks it is doing you a favor by adding more fat to your internal organs. Deborah helps us with ways to combat stubborn belly fat.
· Fat around your middle is easy for your body to grab and convert to energy during a crisis.
· Fat around your internal organs will protect you in times of stress or trauma (falling down). I know, I’m not too happy about it either.
Guess what starts this process? Yep, chronic levels of stress. So pretty much daily life right now. Your body releases stress hormones (cortisol) and these hormones go to work releasing sugar and also creating a craving in you to EAT EVEN MORE.
While it may feel like you can’t fight this process, I’m here to tell you that you can dial it down by trying some quick & easy stress management tips. .
Here are my three favorite cortisol turn down tips:
1. Get outside. Research is showing that even 5 minutes outside can help to drop your cortisol levels-bonus points if you actually walk around for a few minutes.
2. Move a little bit. Adding some mindfulness movement (yoga or tai chi) for a few seconds can help to reduce the levels & production of cortisol.
3. Breathe deep! Get your stomach to expand on the inhale and flatten on the exhale. Studies show that it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just focus on consciously breathing for 2-3 cycles of breath and you can start to lower your stress hormones and help put a stop to adding any additional belly fat to your body
Foods to Fight Belly Fat
Eat more fiber. Research has shown that people who increase their fiber content eventually end up reducing their belly fat stores. Fiber helps to keep you fuller, longer and that can keep you away from stress eating or eating out of boredom.
Alcohol: SORRY! There’s a reason why it’s called a “beer belly.” Alcohol (high levels) has been shown to increase belly fat stores.
Stress: High levels of stress equal high levels of cortisol. Cortisol can drive your appetite and lay down more fat stores into the belly area. Also, when you drink you usually end up eating about 30% more calories than you would normally consume.
Eat fatty fish 2-3 times a week. I love using canned salmon instead of canned tuna. Salmon has a higher fat content and usually less mercury.
Coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride and has been shown in research to be burned instead of stored.
Here's Deb's 'Belly fat-busting chocolate brownie (in-a-mug)' recipe:
"This brownie may not “bust apart your belly fat.” But, because of the coconut oil, it may not add ANY belly fat and that’s good enough for me!"
⦿ 1 tbsp coconut oil
⦿ 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk
⦿ ½ tsp vanilla extract
⦿ ½ tbsps gluten-free flour
❶ Add coconut oil to a microwave safe @pyrexhome or coffee mug and cook on high until melted [about 30-40 seconds].
❷ Let it cool for about a minute and then add in the coconut milk & vanilla. Stir.
❸ Add in the remaining ingredients. Stir.
❹ Pour mixture into a ramekin or coffee mug and microwave for about 40 seconds [until the brownie is firm to the touch].
Let it rest for a few minutes and then DIG IN! 😋
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