With nearly seventy percent of Americans currently being overweight or obese, I think it’s safe to say that there’s no shortage of belly fat around.
But is all belly fat created equal? And what’s driving this epidemic of spare tires and muffin tops? Is it just that we’re eating too much?
Or is there more to it than that?
Let’s look at several factors that are behind our “blossoming bellies” and more importantly, how you can pave the way for blubber reduction!
The well-known blubber builders
Belly fat is most commonly the result of these two things:
1- Eating too many refined carbs and sugars, especially anything with high fructose corn syrup (soda is the #1 offender here). Unlike other sugars, HFCS cannot be used for energy and turns to pure fat.
2- Lack of exercise. Specifically, cardio activities like brisk walking, jogging, running, kickboxing, cycling and swimming—activities that raise your heart rate.
The answers here are obvious—stick to proteins, healthy fats and fresh vegetables for your meals, avoid the refined carbs as much as possible, and work up a sweat at least four days a week.
But unfortunately, there are two other sneaky blubber builders that may be at work behind the scenes adding to your waistline, and unless you address them, sadly your pooch will continue to be a part of you and perhaps grow.
Here are the…
Sneaky blubber builders
If you’ve consistently been avoiding sugary, starchy carbs, are diligent about exercise and STILL can’t lose your belly fat, you may be looking at one or both of the sneaky blubber builders.
A sluggish thyroid and elevated cortisol.
Here’s the scoop on both of those:
If your thyroid is in the tanker, you can eat healthy and exercise until the cows come home but you will still be watching your waistline expand!
Oh, and your energy will probably be non-existent too.
If you suspect thyroid issues, start by seeing a doctor and getting a complete thyroid workup—not just a TSH test. The TSH is a snapshot test that is more of a measure of pituitary function than thyroid function.
Ask for these thyroid tests as well:
- Free T4 and Free T3
- Thyroid Antibody Testing
- TRH Stimulation Test (aka TRH Challenge test)
- Reverse T3
If thyroid hormone replacement is recommended to you, there are two options:
Synthetic hormones (such as Synthroid)—which contains only one thyroid hormone (T4).
Bioidentical thyroid hormones—these are made from desiccated pig thyroid glands and contain the complete range of thyroid hormones (T1, T2, T3 and T4).
If youi are interested in bioidentical hormones and your doctor is unfamiliar with them, ask him to research them, or find a functional medicine practitioner or holistically trained doctor who has prescribed them for their patients.
Now let’s move on to…
Elevated cortisol levels
Cortisol is one of your stress hormones—it’s behind the scenes when your brain senses stress, your sympathetic nervous system gets triggered, and your body prepares for a fight-or-flight reaction.
Cortisol’s job is to ensure your body has enough energy to cope with the danger it perceives.
This is important because in a REAL situation, you would want to have the energy you need to be able to run for help or fight to escape danger.
But the problem arises when stress is an everyday occurrence for you—then cortisol levels become elevated and remain high.
When this happens, in addition to weight gain you may also eventually be looking at suppressed immune function, Type 2 diabetes, insomnia, depression, hypertension, osteoporosis, and heart disease!
If stress is your constant companion, chances are excellent you may be dealing with elevated cortisol. A doctor can test your cortisol level with a simple saliva test, so you know where you stand.
In the meantime, here are some ways you can fight back and naturally help reduce cortisol levels:
Avoid refined carbs
Just like I mentioned above, avoiding refined carbs is essential. They stir up inflammation and can contribute to high cortisol levels and other hormonal imbalances, as well as open the door for Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Do whatever it takes to reduce your stress load.
Regular exercise is the perfect natural stress reducer, but you can also try deep breathing, meditation, therapy, acupuncture (my go-to during stressful times), prayer and essential oils (especially lavender).
You can also consider adopting a pet! Research has repeatedly shown that pets are very comforting and can help ease stress. I know when I’ve had a tough day, snuggling my 3 cats always makes me feel better.
And if it’s a job or a relationship that is causing your stress, well, it may be time to make a change.
Support a healthy gut microbiome
Your gut microbiome plays a huge role in the amount of blubber you carry, and unfortunately, it takes a harmful hit when you’re under stress and cortisol levels are high.
When your gut microbiome is out of balance, your immune function is weakened; your digestion is hampered (which can also help pack the pounds on you); nutrient absorption is reduced (which makes you overeat since you’re not properly nourished); and harmful yeasts can proliferate (which will make you crave carbs and gain even more weight!).
The smartest way to support a healthier gut environment is to help support your “army” of protective bacteria with a full-spectrum multi-strain probiotic formula like Super Shield.
Super Shield’s effective blend of 13 strains of helpful bacteria contains both Bifidobacterium (which colonize in the large intestine) and Lactobacillus (which colonize in the small intestine), so your entire system is covered!
Plus each strain has its own “specialty” in how it enhances your health from head to toe.
Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in natural medicine to help the body deal with stress. It has been shown to not only help reduce cortisol, but also stabilize blood sugar, stimulate proper thyroid function, reduce blood pressure and ease adrenal fatigue too!
Our very own Ashwa Blend Gummies are a convenient and delicious way to put the power of ashwagandha to work for you!
Ashwa Blend Gummies is a vegan, non-GMO, cherry-flavored gummy supplement that combines the impressive power of ashwagandha with vitamin D and zinc to create an immune-enhancing formula that supports optimal health and prevention of disease.
Now you are on the road to getting rid of your belly fat, as well as paving the way for a stronger overall state of health!
To your health,