You’re Eating Too Many Processed Foods.
Belly fat is associated with inflammation, which is caused by eating refined grains like white bread, crackers, and chips, as well as the refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts. Trans fats and animal products are two other highly processed ingredients in our food that have been shown to cause inflammation, which goes straight to your belly. Try avoiding processed foods as much as you can. Consuming vegetables and fruits that are full of antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties will help you drop the excess weight and may prevent belly fat in the future.
Your Exercise Isn’t Challenging You.
Belly fat is stubborn, so you’ll need to work extra hard to get rid of it — think high-intensity interval training (HIIT). High intensity workouts mean you’re going all out for as long as you can, briefly recovering, and then doing it again. HIIT is one of the more recent “darlings” of the exercise world, and new research from the Journal of Obesity says the results match the hype. You really will blast fat all over.
One of the biggest benefits you’ll gain from a HIIT workout is how your body responds after. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, following a HIIT session, you’ll continue to burn fat and will blast about 6 to 15% more calories than traditional workouts. It may not sound fun, but your belly will thank you. Think of the challenge this way: You’ll burn more calories in less time and your workout will be over sooner.
You Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep.
A recent Gallup poll found that 40% of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called insufficient sleep a public health epidemic, saying that “persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.”
Here’s the simplest way to slim down your center: Get enough sleep. A six-year study in the journal Sleep found that those who slept five hours or less a night were 30% more likely to gain 30 or more pounds than those who slept seven hours. Getting your beauty sleep is really that important. Try getting in at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Not only will your belly shrink, you’ll feel better too!
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