Bob is a married man who works Monday to Friday from 7:00am to 6:00pm. For breakfast he drinks a coffee and eats a piece of toast with a banana. Spending long hours at work, Bob claims to not have time to prepare his food in advance, let alone eat a full meal. His lunch consists of the nearest and quickest snack. At the end of the day Bob is starved and when arriving at home, he eats a meal twice the average size, leading to a full and bloated stomach. The combination of work, coffee and overeating causes Bob to have a restless sleep.
Does this sound like you?
Living a life that is as hectic as Bob’s is a one way ticket to increased belly fat. A stressful life can cause an increase in cortisol levels in the body. The more cortisol you have, the more fat you store in the stomach/waist area.
Why does stress cause the cortisol to store in the stomach region?
When you’re stressed your adrenals glands trigger a fight or flight reaction. This reaction will cause fat to store around the most vital organs for protection.
One of the biggest stressors for individuals is their job. Quitting your job may reduce most, if not all of your stress but let’s consider a more reasonable solution.
Here is a more suitable approach to help reduce your stress and belly fat.
Take a break from work. Try to take time out of your day to just focus on breathing, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. If space is not an issue, preferably do so lying down with your feet on a chair, knees bent at 90 degrees have your right arm on the ground, placed above your head. This is an optimal position for achieving the benefits of breathing.
Eat a variety of foods. Most of us can recall eating the same meal 4-5 times a week. Eating the same foods everyday causes stress in the gastrointestinal system. Try to include a new animal protein and vegetable every week to help prevent food intolerance and thereby allowing your body to receive the most benefit from each nutrient.
Get more sleep! Try to aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep on a daily basis, preferably in a dark room. When I work with clients who have high levels of stress, the first change that is made is to implement a sleep protocol. Quality sleep is needed for a quality life.
Here are common actions that some take towards reducing belly fat, which do NOT necessarily help.
Spend hours doing long distance cardio. Long distance cardio causes an increase in cortisol.
Spend your time doing a 30 minute abs routine. Performing exercise without addressing your nutrition will only take up your time and do absolutely nothing to remove the fat covering your abdominals.
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Chris Latham, Accomplished Power-lifter and Fitness Model