Although some men look upon their bulging bellies with a glowing sense of pride, others see them for what they are … an unwanted and unhealthy burden.
Belly fat is renowned for creeping up on us during our thirties, then pouncing on us in our forties. The sheer speed at which a modest waistline can expand takes most men by surprise – suddenly all our favourite clothes start feeling uncomfortably tight.
The sobering moment arrives when your trouser button finally shoots off, or you run out of adjustment holes on your belt.
But don’t despair, there are a host of ways to reverse the onset of a bulging belly!
Moderate your portion size
Overeating is a key driver of belly fat, since the body ends up storing all those extra calories you don’t use.
Get into the habit of ordering or serving yourself smaller portion sizes. Then, let your meal settle before jumping in for a second helping – no matter how good that braai meat tastes. It takes time for the body to register that satisfied ‘full’ feeling, so give it a chance.
Also, the importance of eating three wholesome meals a day cannot be overemphasised as it reduces the temptation to binge after skipping a meal.
Watch carbs and sugar
Carbs and sugar are unfortunately another leading cause of weight gain around the belly – especially when they’re consumed in excessive quantities.
As tough as it may be, try to replace the primary culprits like bread, pastries, sweetened dairy and desserts with healthier alternatives like vegetables, soluble fibres, nuts and 90% dark chocolate. Fast food addicts should rather swing past their local supermarket to buy a pack of crudetés and hummus.
As for beer, sweetened beverages and sugar-laden lattés … switch to flavour-infused water, filter coffee and tea. If you’re serious about slimming your waist line, limit your intake of alcohol.
Never underestimate the benefits of exercise that focuses on core strength and cardio. If time is an issue, integrate activities into your work routine – do exercises that strengthen your core stabilisers and back extenders while seated at your desk, or even while driving.
Key exercises that target belly fat include: planks, abdominal presses, segmental rotation and crunches.
For cardio, join your local running, cycling or swimming club. Nothing eases the suffering of exercise more than having others suffering with you … and you’ll probably end up loving it. Set yourself realistic goals, embrace the comradery and make some new friends along the way.
Sleep more, stress less
A good way to stave off late-night cravings is to clean your teeth, tuck yourself into bed and read a book. Not only that, research has shown that an early bedtime and good night’s sleep do wonders for fat burn and reduces overall stress levels.
At all costs, try to avoid eating after 8pm as it can negatively impact how easily you fall asleep. A few hours digestion is always best before bed.
Set realistic goal
While a cold-turkey approach to shedding belly fat is an option, rather set yourself realistic goals and stick to them. Don’t delay, begin adopting these belly-busting best practices into your lifestyle today and say goodbye to your belly fat once and for all.
Date Published: 29 August 2018