One of the biggest frustrations that most people have with their bodies, is getting abs. These are the hardest to achieve for most people especially when you are working hard with your fitness program, but there might some things that could be counteracting the work that is being done with your workouts.
Your diet and your stress levels can cause you to carry more weight/fat around your midsection, no matter how many crunches you do. Stress and diet play a major role in how your body regulates hormones and there are 3 in particular that are affected:
- Cortisol: Better known as the “Stress Hormone” triggers fat storage. If you are in a constant state of stress your body is creating a lot of cortisol, which reports have found is also responsible for overeating, thus creating more opportunities for your body to store fat.
- Leptin: This hormone is produced by your fat cells and plays a role in appetite control. It can also slow down your metabolism. The best way to keep this hormone regulated is through eating clean. Research has found that when you have too much sugar and highly processed foods in your diet, the hormone is overproduced and the body doesn’t respond to it properly.
- Insulin: This hormone pulls extra glucose from the bloodstream, but when you overload the body with (bad) carb-loaded meals or sugary drinks, your blood sugar levels spike, which causes your body to release insulin. Gaining weight can often lead to insulin resistance, which can make it hard for your body to remove the sugar from the bloodstream and store it as fat, particularly around the midsection.
In short, you can help to better regulate and manage these hormones by doing the following:
- Adopting a Clean Eating regimen – which means eating real and whole foods instead of highly processed foods packed with chemicals and preservatives. Think fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains. Click here for my Clean Eating Guide.
- Get adequate sleep each night – your body is not a machine and needs rest to rebuild, restore and regenerate. If you are not getting enough sleep, you can wreck havoc on your hormones and send them out whack.
- Breathe Properly – many people tend to take shallow breaths which is often called “Chest Breathing” which mimics panic in the body and can cause your body to produce more cortisol. When you feel stressed or find yourself “chest breathing” take 3-5 deep breaths where you fill your belly with air by breathing through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. If you want to learn about a technique that I use sometimes, let me know and we can do it next time we work together.
- Take a Yoga Class – Yoga helps to destress the body, but it also does a great job of teaching you how to use your breath properly. Trying a program like PIYO can help you to understand how to use your breath properly.
- Try Meditating – I started to listen to guided meditation podcasts before going to bed and it has helped me tremendously to manage my stress but to also get a better night’s rest.
Hopefully, you find these tips to be helpful! For more information or if you would like to set up time to chat about how to put a plan together to reach your health and fitness goals, click here!