Top tips on tackling that jelly-belly once and for all...
Although we are told we can't spot train our troublesome areas, there are in fact some things we can do. Our hormones are largely responsible for where we deposit fat and for those of you who are apple-shaped the culprit is... high levels of Cortisol.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Although some people may find that when they are totally stressed out they tend to lose weight, when Cortisol is constantly elevated it causes hormonal reactions that lead to weight gain, especially on the abdomen - a dangerous area to be carrying fat as it can lead to long term conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
So what can be done?
- Keep your workouts short and sharp - Concentrate on resistance training and use short bouts of body weight exercises instead of long cardio sessions which actually encourage Cortisol release.
- Get enough sleep - Spend an hour winding down before bed and aim to be asleep between 10.30pm and 6.30am as a good night's sleep will help reduce Cortisol levels as well as several other hormones involved in weight gain.
- Omega 3 fatty acids - These lower Cortisol levels by turning fat storing enzymes into fat burning enzymes. Aim to eat oily fish, avocados and olive oils as part of your diet and I recommend you buy good quality oil supplement.
- Ashwaghanda - A herb native to India, it has been proven to lower Cortisol levels and help reduce anxiety and stress levels. Available in a tincture, aim for 1/2-1 tsp daily.
- Cut out Caffeine, Refined (white) Carbohydrates, Alcohol and Processed Foods as this will help lower levels of Cortisol and allow for regulation of all hormonal levels.