I read a really interesting article from Glamour Magazine last month called "How to Beautify Your New Belly." Obviously there are many forms of nontraditional beauty that are becoming more and more accepted, but it seems like most women are still cramming new workout routines and diets as soon as they see the first signs of summer. The advice the article gives is centered around the fact that tightening your stomach doesn't involve dieting!
Sip more Water: When your body is dehydrated, your cells hold on to more water from what you eat and drink, causing you to gain water weight and puffiness around your stomach and other areas. Here's what I do: I leave a pitcher of ice water out on the counter all day so that it's quicker to access and easier to remember to drink. Makes me pee like a racehorse but at least I'm hydrated!
Do Something Every Day to Relieve Stress: I think we can all admit that when we are stressed, cookies have a magical way of jumping of the plate and planting themselves in our thighs, butts, and stomachs... Nibbling isn't the only problem though; Stress in and of itself can lead to excess belly fat. Experts aren't exactly sure how the stress hormone can store itself as belly fat, but it can and it does. Here's what I do: I make a list and stick to it. In the morning I make a mental timeline in my head for how much time I'm going to allow myself to shower, do my hair, grocery shop, unload, make dinner, etc. By properly managing my time, I never run behind and I always have enough time to get everything done that I need to and start fresh the next day! This doesn't necessarily relieve stress, but it definitely prevents it!
Eat a Little Fat Every Day: I think the biggest mistake that a lot of women make is cutting out all fats from their diets. But the one time that they are give in, they overindulge! The healthiest diet is the one that contains a little bit of everything. Slowly add healthy fats to your diet because it will help ease digestion and satisfy your craving for unhealthy fats. Here's what I do: I put avocado in all my salads and all my sandwiches. I never get nonfat milk, only 1% or 2%. You can also use oil and vinegar as salad dressing rather than fat free dressing.
Tweak the Way You Breathe: A lot of women inhale and exhale through through their stomach which means that instead of letting the ribcage expand and contract, their abdomen is inflating and deflating like a balloon. Here's what they suggest: Lay on your stomach with a rolled up towel placed horizontally under your belly. This will help train yourself to breath properly without pushing your tummy in and out. They recommend doing this for about 5-10 minutes a day.
Get at Least Seven Hours of Sleep a Night: Lack of sleep can cause all sorts of health problems, including weight gain. By not getting enough sleep, your hormones become off balance and make you hungrier and more prone to overeating. Here's what I do: I sleep. If I have to get up early, I go to bed early. If I can sleep in, I'll stay up a little later, but I always follow those rules.
Cut Back on Artificial Sweeteners: Our bodies don't recognize aspartame and sucralose (Splenda)as food, so our digestive systems don't know how to break them down. Here's what I do: since candy is my weakness, I cut out other forms of artificial sweeteners like soda, coffee, and other sugary drinks. The article suggests cutting out all fizzy drinks because the carbonation alone, can bloat your stomach.
Stand Up Straight: Slouching pushes your hips and belly forward making your body look heavier and your stomach appear poochier than they really are. Slouching can even undo some of the benefits you get from working out, while good posture maintains them. Compare the amount of time you spend slouching in your car or in front of your computer with the time you spend in the gym exercising your core... You are sending two completely different messages to your body. Sitting up straight or standing tall is like an all day workout on your abs. Here's what I do: I love the lumbar pillows because you can lean back but they hit you right in the area that makes you sit straight. I also scoot to the edge of the chair or couch because it automatically helps my posture. I've also heard of apps you can download to your computer or phone called "ProdMe" that send you a reminder every so often.
The article certainly inspired me, especially since I hate working out and love eating whatever I want. Come back tomorrow for part two where I'll share the list of "Foods that Flatten Your Tummy and Foods that Make it Bigger" from Glamour!
What do you do that contributes to the health of your belly? Which suggestion do you need to practice more often?
Oh, and don't forget to answer the poll at the top right of my blog page! I'm dying to know people's opinions!