Most people work hard to lose fat, however, the pooch won’t budge. Our friends at Shape share some reasons why this is going on.
You could work out like a champ, eat virtuously, and get sound sleep but still stay thick around the center. Blame some recently discovered triggers that challenge your slim-down efforts by making you pack on the belly flab. Take note, and tone down.
Living on a Busy Street
Regular contact with traffic noise gives you 29% more likely to have a bigger waistline, according to findings in Occupational & Environmental Medicine. Other research discovered that such noise may spike your cortisol, a hormone linked with ab fat. Three recommendations for you: Drown out the noises by playing relaxing music (studies revealed that such music lowered cortisol levels.), muffle the clamor with a background noise machine, or pop in noise-canceling earbuds when you want to focus.
Your Fizzy Drink Habit
Ironically, people who sip the no-calotie stuff in order to cut calories are actually going to gain stomach fat.
Diet soda drinkers who averaged about a can and a half a day packed 3.2 inches onto their waistlines during the period of nine and a half years, while those taking in fizzy drinks gained less than an inch, a recent research at the University of Texas Health Science Center found.
One reason is that artificial sweeteners prevent your brain from registering satiety, thus increasing cravings for sweets, so you finish up consuming more, says study author Helen Hazuda.
If you can’t quit the bubbles, change to naturally flavored calorie-free seltzers, which are manufactured without sweeteners (snapping open the can and sipping the slightly tangy carbonated drink can simulate the diet soda experience), or for your caffeine fix, go for unsweetened tea or coffee, Hazuda suggests.
Brown University researchers found those people who were able to focus their thoughts on the present carried about a pound less of stomach fat, typically than those who weren’t as mindful.
The experts speculate on that because mindful people can view their emotions more objectively, they have greater power to get over urges-for example, resisting another drink at happy hour in favor of pushing it in an a.m. Spinning class.
Cultivate your focus by meditating, practicing yoga, or participating in endurance exercise, such as taking a long run or bike ride, which motivates you to constantly monitor your pace, the way your body is moving, and how you feel, says study author Eric Loucks.
Skimping on Calcium
Fifty-seven percent of women are falling short on the advised daily allowance of calcium, and it could be showing in their waist measurements.
Dairy, which is full of calcium, can help flatten your tummy, a report published in the journal Nutrients found. When people ate three daily servings of milk-based products for 12 weeks, they lost about 2.2 pounds more stomach fat than those who took less of the same products.
That’s because foods packed with calcium better suppress some sort of hormone that promotes fat storage, the experts speculate. Try to eat 3 servings each day of high-calcium foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, kale, and tofu.
The longer you travel to your job, the wider your waistline, according to a report of nearly 4,300 employees conducted at Washington University.
The top reason? A longer trip means less time to work out. You may not be able to change how you get to the office, however, you can build activity into the commute by parking a mile or two from your work area or train stop and walking, biking, or running all of those other ways. Or join gym that’s on your route and keep clothes and footwear in the car so you can play on your way home, suggests sports psychologist Amanda Visek.
Tossing and Turning
Tons of studies reveal that sleep deprivation can increase cortisol levels. But a new German study found that the quality of your rest matters too and those people who don’t sleep soundly have more fat.
“Waking up in the middle of the night as a result of things like snoring, nightmares, restlessness, or a baby crying happens commonly; actually, we’re wired to naturally wake up a few times,”
says José Colón, the author of The Sleep Diet.
“But if you wake up and immediately start panicking about falling back asleep, that can raise cortisol levels.”
Dr. Colón suggests turning your alarm clock over, so you don’t fixate on the time. Sometimes circumstances prevent you from getting seven to eight consecutive hours of sleep. Sleeping in blocks of 3 or 4 hours, however, is still restorative.
OK, so it is no suspense that young women who watch more than 3 hours of Television per day have more stomach fat than those who watch an hour or less a day-lying on the couch with your hand in a bag of crisps isn’t exactly a recipe for fat reduction.
Experts found that tuning into cooking programs also increases your threat of putting on weight. Individuals who watch food Television and cook the featured meals weigh 10 pounds more than people who find recipes elsewhere.
“Food preparation shows often portray unhealthy recipes and make viewers think it’s the norm to eat this way,” says the study’s lead researcher, Lizzy Pope, Ph.D., R.D.N., the director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Vermont.
Pope recommends culling recipes from cookbooks, magazines (try the healthy eats in this one.), and family and friends since these places weren’t associated with weight gain.