97, 98, 99, 100… Phew! Another 100 crunches done for the day!
As you roll up off the floor you look down at you midsection, but see just as much “belly fat” as you saw six months ago.
You might even begin to wonder if you’re not working out hard enough, or if you should double the number of your daily crunches.
Sadly, the answer doesn’t lie in the number of crunches you do, but in the food you eat and how you exercise.
First and foremost, you have to watch calories and make healthy food choices. Although more long-term studies need to be done, many experts believe that one of the biggest reasons for abdominal fat has to do with insulin.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism in our bodies. Insulin causes the cells in the body to take up sugar from the blood and store it in tissues to use as energy, which in itself is a good thing. The problem arises when excessive insulin is secreted when you either eat too big of a meal or you consume too many refined carbohydrates in a meal.
The glucose that is stored is the cells will then be converted into new fat and stored in adipose tissue — read: Belly Fat!
So What To Do With This Information?
The first thing to do is to stick to eating fresh, unprocessed whole natural foods and not overeating at any given time. You must pay attention to what you’re eating, and avoid foods that readily stimulate the release of insulin.
Try to fill your refrigerator and freezer with healthy vegetables and fruits, lean beef, all types of fish, eggs, poultry and wild game. And don’t be afraid of fat — just as long as you’re eating good fats from natural sources, such as olive oil and coconut oil.
As far as managing your weight, the Mayo Clinic recommends eating the same amount of food at the same time each day.
Doing this will help steady your blood sugar level, and eliminate drastic insulin swings. Studies have shown that eating within an hour of waking up keeps your insulin levels steady as well, and including protein and high-fiber foods at breakfast has also been shown to decrease belly fat.
After you have your diet in line, you may want to focus on exercise. But, that doesn’t mean that you can only do crunches! Regular aerobic exercise helps burn off glucose in the blood, reducing the amount of stimulus that causes the pancreas to release insulin.
The idea here is to build up muscle tone, helping you to burn calories more steadily — rather than burning off last night’s splurge!
Many fitness experts recommend purchasing a pedometer to help motivate you to increase the distance you walk every day. It has been documented that if you increase your steps from 1,500 per day to 10,000 steps per day an average person will decrease their belly fat by 7% after 2 weeks!
Once you are in good shape, another way to annihilate belly fat is by intensive interval training. Dr. Eric Berg, a chiropractor who specializes in weight loss, suggests exercising at maximal intensity for 30 seconds (cycling, jump roping, sprinting or simply jumping up and down) then resting for three minutes and repeating this cycle for 30 minutes.
He says interval-training burns belly fat because it increases levels of growth hormone by 450%!