Stress and anxiety are very common, and most people experience them at some point in their lives. We already know that stress is linked to the development of many diseases, and it is also a common reason why people tend to eat or binge eat, often without being hungry in the first place. Stress triggers the body to produce the hormone called cortisol, sometimes known as the stress hormone. This hormone can lead specifically to fat storage around the abdominal area, causing the stomach to become rounded rather than flatter.
Abdominal curls and other abdominal exercises can benefit both your overall health and appearance, in particular improving your posture, which in turn can make your stomach appear flatter. Slouch and your stomach bulges. So straighten up, and you've done your abs a favour without breaking into a sweat! For better posture while standing, align your ears over your shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over knees, and knees over ankles. Shoulders open like a shirt on a hanger, not a shirt on a peg. Shoulders back and down. Draw your navel to your spine during workouts and toning (20-30%)
By doing regular core exercises, you strengthen and add mass to your abdominal muscles, which may prevent back aches that result from weak posture.
Aim to do core exercises that engage all your core muscles, such as planks or Pilates roll-ups.
A simple technique which is best performed standing, is to take a deep breath in and as you exhale pull your core muscles in as tightly as you can, whilst keeping your breathing steady hold for a count of 10-20 then release and repeat 5 times. Do this in batches throughout the day, everyday to makes difference.
Don’t forget aerobic activity is also an essential part of a flatter abdominal wall.
You can easily sneak extra activity into your day by increasing the amount of non-exercise activity you do.
This involves walking, standing, fidgeting, moving around and just about everything that is not classed as formal exercise. Aim to walk around while talking on the phone, stand up regularly, work at a standing desk or take the stairs whenever possible.
Studies have shown that just standing, fidgeting or walking around can increase the calories you burn by a significant amount. Compared to sitting still. If you have what you think is a ‘naturally slim’ friend, watch their movement habits, you will probably find they are moving even in small ways all the time.
Make an effort to watch your sugar and salt intake as these can affect how and where your body stores its excess fuel. When we eat sugary/processed foods, your Insulin goes up, then your glycogen along with fat burning shuts down. Keep your insulin lowered and your glucagon higher, and then you can burn fat more often. You can achieve this by making your diet as natural as possible through eating wholegrains, lean proteins, fresh fruit.
Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to losing weight, and it has been shown to reduce cravings by up to 60%. If weight loss is your goal, then adding protein is perhaps the single most effective change you can make to your diet.
Aim to increase your intake of higher protein based foods such as whole eggs, fish, seafood, legumes, nuts, lean meat, soya and dairy products.
But remember carbs are still required so do go overboard on the protein intake!