The Belly Fat Diet takes all of the current research and all of the new findings about losing belly fat and incorporates them into one, effective and easy-to-follow plan.
Tool # 1: Breaking the Cortisol Cycle
There’s been so much information in the media and in diet books about the role that cortisol plays in the storage and disposal, or burning, of belly fat. If you haven’t read the research or done much investigating on your own, you may not understand what cortisol is, what it does and how to break the cortisol cycle.
Cortisol is one of the stress hormones naturally produced and secreted in the body. Cortisol’s specific job is to react to stress signals by storing fat in the abdominal area. The reason this system exists is because, in ages past, stress often indicated a chance of famine in the near future. Back when people moved from place to place to find food and were often considered food themselves by other predators, stress was a signal that we were on the run and food was going to be in short supply.
Very few of us are in danger of famine from the stress we’re under today, but the body’s system for storing fat in times of stress remains in place. To our bodies, stress is stress, whether it’s from a shortage of food, a lion who thinks we look like dinner, or a boss who wants us to work long hours.
This is where the cortisol cycle comes in. We’re more stressed today than people have ever been before. We have financial problems, busy schedules, demanding jobs and families to take care of in between. That stress triggers the release of cortisol into our bloodstreams, which causes our bodies to direct fat to the abdomen to be used in case of famine. The problem is, there is no famine. We continue to eat more than enough food, so that fat is never used as an energy source.
Tool #2: Reversing Insulin Resistance
Your hormones are at it again! Like cortisol, insulin is a hormone produced by your body, although it is not a stress hormone. The role of insulin is to regulate the amount of sugar in your bloodstream and to allow glucose (created from the foods you eat) to be used by cells as energy.
You may have heard about insulin resistance, which is a situation where your body’s cells become resistant to insulin and glucose cannot pass through the cell membrane to be used as energy. When this occurs, two things happen:
1… your blood sugar levels spike and drop repeatedly, causing a fatigue/energy boost/fatigue cycle.
2… all of that unused glucose is stored as fat, mainly around your belly.
Like the situation with stress, cortisol and belly fat, insulin resistance is cyclical. The cycle goes something like this:
Excess belly fat makes your body resistant to insulin.
Insulin resistance causes your body to store more belly fat.
Rinse and repeat.
This cycle is what can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes, which is why excess belly fat is a leading indicator of developing the disease. Fortunately, this cycle is reversible. In fact, even if you already have type 2 diabetes, losing belly fat and making the dietary changes prescribed in the Belly Fat Diet can greatly improve and even reverse the disease!
Tool #3: Vitamin C
Vitamin C has always been known as the wonder vitamin when it comes to preventing and relieving colds and other infections. However, the importance of vitamin C goes far beyond fighting infection and boosting immunity.
Vitamin C is also one of the key players in losing belly fat. It does this in two ways:
First, vitamin C is a necessary for the production of L-carnitine, a chemical used to transport stored fat, particularly abdominal fat, to where it can be burned as energy.
Second, vitamin C reduces the effects of stress on the body, which helps to break the cortisol cycle, so that your body is stimulated to both burn stored belly fat and to stop storing new belly fat.
Vitamin C is a soluble vitamin, which means that our bodies don’t store it up in great quantities. We use a great deal of it for cell renewal and cell production and most of the rest of it is spent fighting off infection. Unfortunately, stress also uses up a great deal of vitamin C.
This means we have yet another cycle that gets in the way of losing that belly fat. We’re stressed, so we have excess cortisol released into our bloodstreams, causing our bodies to store belly fat. That stress we’re under also uses up all of our extra vitamin C, so there isn’t enough L-carnitine to move that belly fat to where it can be repurposed as energy.
On the Belly Fat Diet plan, you’ll be getting a great deal of vitamin C from your diet, which will be full of vitamin C-dense foods. But you’ll also be taking a vitamin C supplement twice per day to give your body the extra C it needs to burn the belly fat you already have. This vitamin C supplementation is essential to turbo-charging the belly fat loss in the first few weeks. As an added bonus, you’ll be boosting your immune system through both the vitamin C and your antioxidant-rich diet.
Tool #4: Getting Leptin and Ghrelin on Your Side
You’ve met cortisol; now let us introduce you to leptin and ghrelin. Both are hormones that greatly influence your weight by controlling your appetite. Leptin is secreted in fat tissue and sends a signal to your brain that lets it know you’re full. Ghrelin is secreted in the intestinal tract and sends signals indicating that you’re hungry.
Leptin and ghrelin aren’t stress hormones, but they do have something in common with cortisol: they are impacted by your sleep habits. Several recent research studies have shown that people who get less than seven hours of sleep per night have elevated ghrelin levels and decreased leptin levels. One of the interesting findings in these studies is that one night of missed or interrupted sleep is enough to see this change in leptin and ghrelin levels. It’s far more pronounced when insufficient sleep is a regular pattern, but one all-night study session or party into the wee hours is enough to interfere with the work of these two hormones.
What this means for you is that getting adequate (7–8 hours minimum) sleep, preferably at the same time each night, is essential to keeping leptin and ghrelin on your side. It won’t take long to get them regulated, so that you’ll soon be overeating less and seeing fewer hunger pangs. This translates to faster belly fat loss without having to do anything other than sleep!
Fish Oil Helps You Lose Belly Fat: The DHA and EPA in Omega-3 fats have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and signs of stress, which can help you to avoid emotional eating. Studies have also shown that people who eat plenty of oily fish and other Omega-3 rich foods lose more fat per week than dieters who don’t; on average one pound more. The Belly Fat Diet is filled with Omega-3 fats from fish, shellfish, avocadoes, olive oil, nuts and seeds. You’ll also be taking a fish oil supplement each day. It’ll be good for your heart, your mood and your waistline.
Tool #5: Interval Training
If you’ve read or heard about interval training, you may have thought it was just for athletes and those who are already pretty fit. The truth is, anyone can utilize interval training to maximize the effects of their workouts in a minimum of time.
Interval training is simply alternating periods of moderate work with shorter bursts of more intense work. You can apply it to virtually any form of exercise and you can start right where you are, even if you haven’t done a bit of exercise in years. The wonderful thing is that your body reacts to the level of exertion you require for your workouts, so beginners can benefit just as much as athletes.
Interval training has been proven to be far more effective than a static (steady paced) workout. In fact, twenty minutes of interval training boosts your metabolism longer than an hour of static exercise!
Interval training works because your body adjusts itself very quickly to your workouts. As you become stronger, your metabolism works less to achieve the same number of reps or the same mileage walked. What this usually means is that people discover they have to work out longer to get the same results.
With interval training, you are constantly keeping your body guessing, so your metabolism is never given a chance to adjust and slow down.
This metabolism boost means that you’ll burn more calories throughout the day, no matter what you’re doing. This allows you to lose fat faster without cutting calories. Another benefit to interval training is that you don’t have to spend hours working out. You can spend just twenty or thirty minutes a day on interval training. As you progress, you won’t add more time to your workouts, you’ll simply adjust the moderate periods to be shorter or more intense and adjust the intense periods to be longer or more difficult, still keeping your total workout time down to twenty or thirty minutes.
There’s one more benefit to interval training, too. Interval training builds lean muscle faster than steady training. Lean muscle not only burns more calories than fat tissue, but it also improves the efficiency with which glucose is absorbed and burned by muscles. (Remember that glucose absorption has everything to do with reducing your risk of diabetes and losing stored belly fat.)
These five tools represent the best that all of the new research into fat loss and belly fat have to offer. We’ve taken all of them and put them into one easy-to-follow plan that will help you burn that belly fat faster than you thought possible, all while helping you to feel satisfied and energetic.
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