by Life Span
So, you’ve got yourself an absolutely gorgeous bikini to wear for a pool party two weeks from now. However, there’s a little bit of a problem – there’s no way of hiding your bulging belly fat in that skimpy swimsuit.
Not sure how to trim down in order to do some justice to that awesome bikini waiting in your closet? Check out these seven habits that can cause belly fat – and be sure to do the opposite, so you can shape up and lose those unsightly bulges as fast as possible!
1. Drinking Carbonated Drinks Regularly
Can’t last a day without gulping down a can or two of soda? If this is you, then you’re certainly not being kind to your body. According to researchers, consuming one or two cans of soda daily causes your waistline to increase at least five times faster than those who barely drink soda in the course of a week. The concept behind this is that the high amount of sugar used in sodas trigger your craving for food, so you end up eating more than you should during mealtimes. Diet sodas aren’t any better than regular varieties since these contain artificial sweeteners, which can increase your appetite as much as sugar does. So if you have that serious craving for a satisfying drink, opt for healthy smoothies, fresh fruit juices, or a glass of water with lemon zest and mint leaves. You’re doing your body and overall health a favor by choosing a more nutritious drink that’s also low in sugar content. Since soda only causes you to add pounds without quenching your thirst, why bother drinking it, right?
2. Using a Larger Plate Each Time You Eat
Whether it’s a buffet dinner or just a regular meal at home, pay attention to the size of plate you use at mealtime. In a survey conducted among obese individuals, it was discovered that these people prefer larger plates over smaller or medium-sized ones. With a large plate size, they have more space for their food. So, how does this habit cause belly fat? Simple. When you have a larger space to pile up your food, you tend to consume more than your body needs, and that leads to more fat stored in your body. To avoid this nasty chain reaction, make it a point to use smaller plates and resist the urge to eat or go back for seconds when you’ve already had enough.
3. Dining Late at Night
While it’s true that your body naturally burns some flab as you sleep, it might not be able to efficiently do so when you go to bed on a full stomach. Aside from causing belly fat, eating late and reclining on a full stomach increases your risk of developing acid reflux and indigestion, since gravity is no longer able to pull everything in your tummy straight down. To prevent these conditions, consider eating smaller meals at night and don’t lie down for at least three hours after dinner. If possible, just snack on fruits in case you feel a bit hungry at night instead of raiding the fridge for sweet desserts to satisfy your craving.
4. Eating When Sad, Angry or Upset
Do you find yourself eating absent-mindedly when your emotions are at their peak? The next time you catch yourself doing this, try to snap out of it before you end up eating a double cheeseburger and fries. Emotional eating does nothing to make you feel better. If there’s anything you can get from this habit of eating whenever you’re upset or stressed out, it’s just hideous belly fat. The best way to combat this response to stress is by drinking a glass of water, talking to a friend, or taking a relaxing walk. Choose an activity that doesn’t involve eating, so you can stop yourself from loading up on extra calories when you’re feeling emotional.
5. Consuming Low-Fat Foods More Often
Some people assume that high-fat foods and drinks lead to more fat storage in your belly. The truth is, monounsaturated fats are not bad for you. If anything, foods such as avocados, olive oil and seeds work well in eliminating belly fat. Be wary of too many low-fat foods, since manufacturers often add sugar to these items. And you know what that means – the more sugar you have in the body, the greater your chances of storing more body fat.
6. Depriving Yourself of Sleep
Ideally, adults should get about seven to nine hours of sleep each night. When you fail to get enough sleep, your level of cortisol (stress hormone) increases and causes you to crave sugary foods. With that in mind, it’s harder to get rid of belly fat when you keep the habit of not getting enough sleep regularly. To maintain normal levels of the stress hormone cortisol, try your best to attain the recommended hours of sleep every night. This way you can balance your cortisol levels while boosting production of leptin, a type of hormone that causes you to control your appetite.
7. Not Getting Enough Protein in Your Regular Diet
Have you been depriving your body of protein-rich foods? Generally, healthy adults should consume at least 20 to 25 grams of protein in each meal, although this depends on your activity level and body size. Men in particular should get an additional 10 grams of protein with every meal to ensure excellent health. By increasing your protein intake, you can balance out your blood sugar while reducing insulin levels to promote a faster metabolic rate. What’s more, protein helps control hormones that increase your appetite, so you can slim down naturally. To power up your daily meals, consider eating high-protein foods such as ricotta cheese, shellfish, turkey, skinless chicken, salmon and eggs. These are your best options because of their low fat and high protein content – a great combination for slimming down and shaping up!
So are you ready to say hello to a flatter tummy and a more gorgeous body? Just be sure to avoid these seven bad eating habits, and you can be on your way to improving your body size and overall health.
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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.