While there is no quick fix for losing fat, there are some things you can do to eliminate other factors that may be adding inches to your waist and even help speed the process along. And, no, not one of them is an organ-crushing waist trainer.

1.Bump up your intensity. It's kind of a no-brainer that if you lose weight over all, you'll lose weight around your waist. The catch is, however, belly fat is the slowest to come off. Belly fat is stored when consuming excess calories meets the hormonal influence of cortisol and insulin, which is also why it's so stubborn. High intensity interval training has the greatest effect on hormones and will burn the most calories, so your best bet for burning fat from your middle is to crank up the intensity of your workouts. 

2.Strength train smarter.  Crunches won’t do much to whittle your middle because you can't burn fat lying flat on your back, so don't waste your time. Instead, focusing on functional exercises that use the muscles in your core—the abs, back, pelvic floor, and obliques—as well as other body parts will use more muscle mass, which creates a higher calorie burn while priming your body to burn fat. Exercises like medicine ball slams and planks will activate not just your core, but get your arms, legs, and glutes into the mix. Avoid weighted lateral bends at all costs, as they will add girth instead of nipping in your waist. 

 3.Get rid of bloat. Much of the girth around your middle can be attributed to bloat, not true body fat. Eliminating bloat is one of the most immediate ways to lose inches around our middle. Some foods promote bloat, like diet sodas which fill the tummy with gas, but even healthy foods with lots of fiber can do the same thing, so steer clear and you'll flatten almost immediately. Salt can cause you to retain water which is visible around the waist, so watch your sodium. If you're a big gum chewer to fight cravings, consider giving it up for a few days: Chewing gum and chewing food with your mouth one (a bad habit all the way around) can fill the tummy with air causing it to bloat.  

4.Nix sugar: Numerous studies have shown that excess sugar can lead to increased accumulation of fat in the belly, as well as the liver, which then leads to insulin resistance and a host of other metabolic problems. Starch and sugar combined with fat may be the worst combination for fat gain as sugars and starches raise insulin levels while fat supplies the most calories. The combo of insulin and fat, which occurs in foods like doughnuts and french fries, raise the fat storing hormones called ASP (acylation stimulating protein) and GIP (glucose dependent insulinotrophic peptide). Skip sugar and starch and avoid these fat packing hormones.

5. Stress less. If your cortisol levels are high, which happens when you are stressed out, no amount of diet or exercise will have an impact on your waist. Hormones rule your body so you have to get them balanced, and cortisol, dubbed "the stress hormone", tells all the fat around your middle to stay exactly where it is. Not only that, but stress causes you to crave high-fat, high-calorie foods- a dangerous combo when your body is clinging onto its belly fat for dear life. Stress less, and your body will let you burn that belly fat again.

6. Get more sleep. Again, this one's about your hormones. When you regularly don’t sleep enough, your body produces too little leptin (which suppresses appetite) and too much ghrelin (which stimulates appetite). Cortisol is also released when you are sleep deprived, which is a stressful state for the body, which, again, tells your body to store fat around your middle. Yoga or simple meditation can go a long way to reduce stress and encourage sleep, so give it a go if you're having trouble turning your brain off. 

 

by Brianna Diorio

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