belly fat

Many people believe that simply restricting calories and exercising more are all that are needed to lose weight. But what do you do when these things may not be enough?  The first 15-20 pounds comes off pretty quickly, but then things start to come to a screeching halt which quickly drains our interest in well-meaning intentions.  Will further increasing these efforts risk jeopardizing your health when you’re at a standstill? I have worked with many people who took these steps at full-throttle only to find that their current health problems escalated, or worse yet, new ones surfaced. An effective weight-loss strategy may not always be a healthy strategy. Are you willing to make these changes for the rest of your life or are they quick-fixes that lack foresight and set up the proverbial yo-yo roller coaster ride?  Here are 6 hidden hurdles to resolve so that you can burn the fat.

  • Eating “Healthy Foods” That Aren’t Healthy You clean out the pantry and cabinets to make room for all of the new “Healthy Foods” that will help you on this year’s journey to shed all of those unwanted pounds, but are they really healthy? Many of your “healthy” breakfast cereals have as much sugar as Fruity Pebbles or Lucky Charms. Are you more of a sport if you incorporate sports drinks into your regimen? Many of these have the same amount of sugar as a soft drink. Fruit juice, being all-natural, must be healthy. Watch out again for how much sugar your getting in your diet. As a general rule of thumb, if you want to lose body-fat, keep your total daily intake of sugar at 25 grams or less. Many yogurts have more sugar than a candy bar. Buy plain, whole yogurt and add your own fruit, if necessary.

  • Sugar-Free Yes, sugar can be your nemesis to losing that unwanted body fat. But don’t be fooled that sugar-free products can by-pass this pitfall. Artificial sweeteners are typically added to products that are labeled sugar-free. Consuming food and beverages with these artificial sweeteners has been proven to cause more weight gain and belly fat than consuming comparable products that are not sugar-free, such as diet vs. regular soda.

  • Stress and the Cortisol Connection Stress for our ancestors would be a lion or bear chasing them down. If they were successful at getting away and not being lunch, the stress is gone. In today’s world chronic stress is much more prevalent than our ancestors’ acute stress. While acute stress spikes adrenaline levels, chronic stress elevates cortisol levels. What are these chronic stressors? Financial difficulties, difficult relationships at home or work, eating a diet of primarily processed foods—many people encounter these stresses day in and day out demanding our adrenal glands to churn out excessive cortisol into our bloodstream. These elevated levels of cortisol cause us to store fat around our mid-sections. Eventually our adrenal glands go into fatigue. Adrenal fatigue damages our metabolism, in turn making it difficult, or nearly impossible to burn or lose fat. Salivary hormone testing is a simple way to find out if your weight-loss efforts are being thwarted by adrenal fatigue.

  • Losing Sleep Means Gaining Weight  Most experts on sleep agree that adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night. When we short-change the sandman, there is a decrease in the fat-regulating hormone leptin and an increase in the hunger hormone ghrelin. This combination leads to an increase in appetite and hunger leading to overeating and increased storage of body fat. Not only is weight gain associated with inadequate sleep, but there is also a strong correlation with cancer and insulin resistance leading to Type II Diabetes.

  • Fear of Fat The Low-Fat, No-Fat, Fat-Free approach to losing body fat has fallen flat on its face. Eating healthy fats such as olive oil, butter from grass-fed sources, coconut oil, and foods such as raw nuts, wild-caught fish, grass-fed/pastured meats and eggs and avocado have been proven to help with weight loss efforts. On the contrary, studies have shown that people that go with the low-fat versions like skim milk tend to gain more weight. Healthy fats and oils are an integral component of every hormone and cell wall in your body.

  • A Calorie Is Not A Calorie Eating 100 calories of candy versus 100 calories of eggs will have a drastically different outcome in our body. The amount of calories is not as important as the source of calories.  Refined carbohydrates put the body more in fat-storage mode. They also do not create a sense of fullness like protein and fat does.  Protein also has a much higher thermic effect, meaning it takes much more energy to digest and metabolize than carbohydrates.  As people transition to a diet that is low-carb and abundant with healthy proteins and fats, their appetites are suppressed and counting calories becomes less of an issue.