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.

 

 

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 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.”