Everyone has stubborn fat that they just can’t shift no matter how hard they try. Whilst genetics can be a factor, research shows that the particular way that fat accumulates also has a lot to do with your health and diet.
If you’re constantly watching everything that you eat and pounding the treadmill for hours on end, but still struggling to get rid of your bingo wings or love handles, then it could be because you’re targeting the wrong things.
It’s not just excess calories that cause weight gain. Metabolic imbalances, endocrine problems, stress and hormones can all be responsible too. Where you store your fat, might just tell you what’s causing it and how to blitz it once and for all.
Problem zone: Wobbly tummy
If you suffer from stomach fat, then it could be a sign of stress or an underactive thyroid.
Stress raises the cortisol levels that can result in insulin resistance. Our abdominal fat has more cortisol receptors than anywhere else on the body, which is why even slim people who are regularly stressed can often store fat around their middle.
Watch out for dry skin, constipation, depression and fatigue, as these may point to an underactive thyroid, which could also be the problem too.
If you’ve done endless sit-ups and still can’t create a sculpted stomach, don’t give up hope. Training too hard will actually raise your cortisol levels further, so you may actually be exasperating the problem in an effort to get rid of it! Give Pilates or yoga a go, as these can help to both lower your stress levels and create a flat tummy; whilst strength training will help to kick-start your thyroid.
Remember that sweets, coffee, alcohol and processed foods will also stress out your system and feed the gut bacteria that can cause bloating too, so avoid these and eat as fresh and natural as possible.
Problem zone: Swollen calves and ankles
Water retention, caused by being tired, is definitely going to make your ankles swell. Lack of good quality sleep and rest is essential. Without this, water retention can occur and also put extra strain on your heart.
Although there’s no particular amount of sleep that suits everyone, most adults need between seven to nine hours a night and it’s vitally important that this is good quality, not restless or undisturbed sleep.
Eating carbs can affect your sleep, so are best-avoided three hours before bed. And if you want to avoid the dreaded loo visit in the middle of the night, give caffeine a miss in the evenings and limit how much water you drink just before bed.
Also try to avoid watching T.V, using laptops and phones about hour before bed. The light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your wake and sleeping cycles. Not only can this affect the quality of your sleep, but it can possibly lead to obesity, heart disease, type-2 diabetes and lower the immune system.
B-vitamin deficiency affects sleep too, so make sure that you add in some fish, eggs, yoghurt and nuts etc into your diet as these may help you sleep better too.
Problem zone: Bingo wings
Bingo wings can be a sign of muscle wastage due to underuse, or be caused by excess toxins in your system.
BPA is a toxin found in many everyday products like plastic bottles and containers. This toxin can cause your body to store fat in your limbs, particularly in the upper arm area. Thankfully, high toxin levels in the body can be reduced significantly within days of eliminating the use of these plastics.
The simplest solution is not to store food in plastic containers and try to minimise the use of water bottles. Certainly, never heat food up in plastic containers, as this makes the food absorb even more of the toxins.
Getting rid of toxins through body brushing, sweating and improving the circulation are definitely the best ways to help. Add in some tricep-dips and other exercises that target the upper arms and you’ll be well on your way to waving bingo wings goodbye for good.
Problem zone: The not so lovely, love handles
Even the slimmest of people can suffer from these. From the dreaded muffin top, to being able to grab a handful of fat from either side of your waist; these could be caused from either too much sugar or excess oestrogen.
A diet that’s high in sugar will result in fat being deposited in these areas, by causing your body to produce more insulin and Oestrogen to counteract it.
Simply cutting sugar from your diet, can result in a huge reduction of waist fat. If you feel the urge to eat sugar, then at least try to balance it with some protein at the time, as this will help you to avoid big blood sugar spikes.
Try adding cinnamon to your diet (it’s great in porridge) as this also helps to reduce sugar cravings too.
Problem zone: Chubby cheeks
This could be caused by stress, smoking, or alcohol.
Drinking excess alcohol can cause dehydration and bloating of the face. Although initially alcohol causes dehydration, later it causes water retention and this is why many people who drink regularly, tend to have bloated faces.
High stress and nicotine can also raise cortisol levels causing you to bloat. So instead of reaching for a glass of wine to relieve the stress of a hard day, why not focus on finding alternative ways to relax instead, such as meditation, yoga or a nice soak in the bath.
Try to have a few alcohol free nights a week and if you do drink, choose red wine as it’s got less sugar and packed full of skin-boosting antioxidants.
With love as always,
What are your stubborn fat areas? Have you got any diet tips or exercises that have helped you to shift the fat? If so, please share in the comments below. We love to hear your thoughts and you never know who you might be inspiring in the process!
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