Whenever I give a workshop on food and nutrition, people ask me how to lose their belly fat. First of all some of that fat is there to protect your vital organs in case you get jabbed in the ring, taco a snowboard rail or trip over your own feet and fall.
If you are a fully grown adult, check your navel circumference; if it’s over 35” for a woman or 40” for a man, this belly fat contributes to chronic illness. When you do decide to face the truth and measure the ‘muffin top’ you could hold the tape measure slightly below or above the navel circumference…most people know the exact spot that needs to get measured just by looking in the mirror naked…yikes! Weight matters too but the navel circumference might matter more. Underneath that spare tire are some of our most vital organs that are suffocating with those extra inches of fat mass.
The only good thing about a fatter body is that floating in the ocean is easier…lucky for you because the life vest might not fit.
All kidding aside, too much fat makes us at a higher risk for cancer, stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and what about those small feet, ankles and knees carrying around that extra weight…your joints are screaming, right???
Once we realize that extra fat tissue is our health issue…take a look at the number of ‘take-out’ meals, processed and convenience foods vs. home prepared whole foods in your daily diet. Self assessment leads to sitting down and making a plan.
The DASH diet has once again been rated the best meal plan for our health and well being with weight loss as a side effect. Here’s a link http://www.dashdietoregon.org/why/DASH-Quick-View and if it’s too overwhelming or confusing, get help from a registered dietitian nutritionist. Advice from an RDN is the safest way to get your plan individualized. For instance, if your tastebuds don’t want a coconut date protein bite for a snack, 2 grahams crackers and 2 T peanut butter may be your choice for the same satisfying snack. Enjoying your food is important and sitting down while you eat is best for good digestion. Standing in the kitchen eating out of a container one spoonful at a time or bringing the pizza box to bed with you is NOT mindful and guaranteed you will forget those calories and then wonder why you’re not losing belly fat. Calories matter and the type of food matters too.
Fruits and vegetables go on your grocery list first. 5 cups of fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables each day is not that hard to get
considering 1 banana = 1 cup and a big salad could be the other 4 cups easily. Preparing these whole foods does not have to be a big deal.
Throwing together a fruit smoothie and soup or salad daily with add-ins from the meat, dairy and fat categories makes the salad greens taste better and the fruits creamier…almost like ice cream!
What about ice cream and other cravings? A treat and/or libation a couple times a week must be planned ahead and figured into the daily menu for continued success. If there’s a risky food or drink that tempts you, do NOT bring it in the house, we’re only human for Pete’s sake. Overeating and cravings happen when we’re tired and haven’t had enough real whole foods and fluid throughout the day.
A man once said to me, ‘nothing tastes as good as healthy feels’… it’s a good mantra to hold close and chant silently before, during and after challenging times. Moving slowly and mindfully helps with decision making.