Beat Stress, Beat Belly Fat


If you haven’t heard, stress is a huge enabler of weight gain, and specifically to the abdominal area. Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is a hormone that is secreted into the bloodstream in response to stress. The higher the stress level, the higher the secretion of cortisol, and the higher the secretion, the more prone your body is to storing fat…right in the belly.

Don’t let yourself be a victim to stress-related weight gain. Although it’s much easier to reach for the remote control and lounge around while chomping on high calorie and high fat foods, try to make the better decision – like hitting the gym, going for a walk, and eating the healthier, belly-fat fighting snacks, like fruit and yogurt, and other foods high in fiber. Not getting enough sleep also contributes to high-stress levels, which will cause your cortisol levels to be higher, so don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep.

 

 

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Try a Spinning Class

We all know the benefits of working out, but I think we all suffer with the motivation to get to the gym. Working out has been a regular part of my routine for a long period of time now, but lately, I’ve fallen off the fitness wagon. With the foot surgery and recovery, and almost a full month’s vacation, I have been struggling to get back into my routine! Monday nights used to be my sacred spinning class nights, and it has now been so long since I’ve enjoyed one of those classes! I’m almost to the point where it’s been so long, I’m scared to go back!

So, I’ve decided to write this week’s blog posts on fitness, and today’s about spinning. For any of you who do regularly enjoy spinning classes, keep up the good work, and for those of you who are discouraged by the thought, I want to convince you of its benefits. The only people who I won’t argue with are those that tell me that it bulks up there legs too fast. If y’all are lucky enough to have those muscles that tone that quickly, you may not need spinning to get you in shape, but for people like me, who can spend days trying to show some muscle with no success, spinning may be your thing. If your muscle’s don’t bulk up so quickly, spinning will give you a nice, slimming effect. I know it is one of the first ways I was able to burn a lot of unnecessary fat on my legs and stomach. After seeing my mom avidly attend spinning classes and watching her body become extremely slim and trim, I finally decided to try it myself. The class gives you such an amazing work out, you are sure to walk out a bit exhausted but with an extreme high (major stress relief!). And, it won’t take long before you see the effects it has on your body (another major stress relief!). Your posture will become better, your legs start to trim down, and you see an overall tone in your body. At the same time, you are burning more calories than you may have thought possible in a 50 minute work out!

And, just as a note to those of you who are still skeptical – you can go at your own pace! Yes, there are some scary instructors that may push you a little too hard, and if you like that, go for it, but if you don’t, go to a different class. Even my grandmother used to go to spinning classes with my mother! She was in her late 60’s when she was going! So, if she can do it, I think all of you can, too. Now that I’ve (hopefully) talked all of you into trying it, I will take my own advice and get my booty back to the gym, tonight. Have a nice Monday 🙂

Pump some Iron

When I work out, I like to have high-intensity exercises, I like to sweat, and I like to see the calories burn. So, naturally, I am a cardio person. I never used to work out with weights, because in my mind, I don’t sweat enough, so I must not be burning calories.  Plus, who wants to get bulky, anyway? So, I kept putting off the weights, and deeming them unnecessary.

I have read and heard that there are so many benefits of including strength training to your work out regimen, but the encouragement never really sealed the deal for me. Even though I heard that it increases lean muscle mass and that it keeps your body burning calories for longer, the verbal benefits didn’t really give me the desire to go lift weights.  I finally started going to some cardio and weight training classes right before my surgery, and then that had to stop, so I didn’t try long enough to see any results.  It wasn’t until after I spent an entire month hopping around on crutches, that I noticed my arms getting toned.  This is when my interest in weights began to peak, and I learned that persistence is key.

Now that I have tried to maintain the toned arms, I’ve started to work on making my entire body toned through strength training.  And now that I have finally incorporated it into my workouts, I think differently and I feel differently, and believe me, it’s a change worth making.  I definitely feel the increased energy, and, although I cannot feel the calories burning throughout the day, I feel the changes in my body.  The best part is that sore feeling when you know you’ve challenged new muscles in your body. When we challenge our bodies in new ways, we force our muscles to work harder, and, in turn, it jumpstarts the fat-burning and weight-loss process.

So, now I can speak from experience when telling you why you everyone should pick up some dumbbells and turn up the resistance for a change. Incorporating weights into your work out routine will let you feel the burn, feel the strength, and, eventually, start seeing the changes. If an extra 10 minutes off the machine means 100 less calories to you, believe me, those 100 calories at that moment will probably add up to 150, later.  Try for yourself and try to find the results you’re looking for.  Then, you can gradually increase your iron-pumping sessions to 2-3 times a week.  Good luck and have a great weekend!

Go Fly a Kite!

I don’t mean “go fly a kite” as in “get lost,” I literally mean, go fly a kite! Hopefully the weather around you will be nice enough so that you can do something different this weekend.

I don’t remember the last time I flew a kite…actually, I don’t think I’ve ever even flown a kite! I remember trying once and failing miserably, and that was probably 20 years ago. This weekend, my company is having a grand opening event and we’re inviting people out to our property to come fly a kite. So, I look forward to learning, tomorrow.

I decided to read about some benefits of kite flying, because in my mind, it seems to be a calming experience, which must relieve some stress!  Turns out, there is a Chinese proverb that says, “Those who fly a kite can have a long life.”  (The kite originated fromChina.)  When looking and focusing on your kite, it relaxes your mind and your body.  While concentrating on your kite, you stare into a blue and white sky, which will give you a sense of serenity.  At the same time, kite flying is said to rejuvenate and reenergize the body.  So go fly a kite this weekend, and see how it makes you feel!

Go for a Run

Maybe it’s because I know I can’t that I want to so badly, but, I am in the mood to go to the park on a beautiful day with some good music and just run. Hey, if you’ve got the functional body parts right now, do me a favor and go for a run! Nothing beats a runner’s high. Especially for stress balls like me, there is no better time to let off some steam and do some good thinking than while you’re enjoying a scenic run. Of course, I look back on running so fondly right now, but it wasn’t even part of my regular workout routine in the few months leading up to my foot surgery. Funny how we idealize the things we can’t have.   

But, I do want to encourage anyone out there who likes the idea of running/jogging to go out and try it. If you are intimidated by the thought, I know the feeling. Even when I was running long distances, I’d have my reservations, but the second you start, everything changes.  The key is persistence. Start off slowly and keep a goal in mind. If your goal is to run 1 mile, keep on running until you have finally made that mile, even if takes you days, weeks, or months to get there.  Running for 5 minutes will eventually turn to 10 minutes, and, before you know it, those 10 minutes will turn into 20! Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of blogs that log people’s running endeavors and experiences. Many people have set a running goal, and they log each step they take to reach that goal. Many of them are people who hated running and eventually ran a marathon! (I’m not telling anyone they need to go that far, but more power to you if that’s your goal!)

As of yesterday, I’m finally walking without my crutches! The only problem is, I’m losing my patience in the walking boot. I’m promising myself that, once I’m out of this boot, I’ll pick up running again so I can experience that runner’s high. Enjoy your weekend!

Hit the Gym!

I choose my first tip to be about working out – because I really miss my endorphins! Now don’t think I’m a workout-aholic, I just think that it is truly uplifting and enjoyable, and what best to have a great workout and know you can eat that dessert later, completely guilt-free? So…Stress Tip #1 – Hit the Gym! Whether your goal is to lose weight, relieve stress, feel good, or possibly check out guys/girls?…working out is never a bad option. However, the only way to get motivated is to keep your workouts exciting…don’t make your routine too repetitive.

Switch it up, go to classes, work out with friends, and enjoy “lazy” workouts sometimes! Don’t be intimidated by the classes, either. Keep on trying out new classes until you “hit it off” with one. Once you do, you’ll find yourself excited to go back each week, and once the instructor is familiar with you, you’re hooked! If you’re an at-home exerciser, there are so many options for you, too (workout  vidoes, stationary cardio equipment, magazines, etc.)!

Just one thing – when it comes to “time” remember that you can have a great workout in 45 minutes. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s only 45 minutes! Even if you feel yourself getting tired or lacking motivation, just look at it this way – you go in there, push through, and bam 45 minutes later, you’re done! You’ll feel GREAT and you have the rest of your day or night to enjoy!

On a humorous note, remember this: “The advantage of exercising everyday is that you die healthier.”