Belly fat is not accumulated in a day or two. It takes several weeks to months of wrong eating and lifestyle to accumulate. When people finally decide to lose the belly fat, most of the people out here feel ‘Why am I not able to get rid of my big flabby belly even after exercising so much and cutting down on junk as I had initially?’ I am sure you must have come across atleast 1 such person in your life.
Here are a few of the common mistakes that most of the people find it difficult to lose belly fats
- Huge meal quantity- Most of the people struggling with fat loss and weight loss are the ones who tend to have too much food at a time. The reason behind consuming a lot is either long gaps between the meals or if the person consumes food very fast. So how is that related to belly fat?
When a person consumes food, it gets broken down to release/ provide energy. Firstly it will fill in the glycogen stores and then the excess calories that are not used up with good physical activity gets converted into fats and is most common sites of fat storage is the belly, arms, thighs, buttocks etc.
When you are having food, only post 20-25 mins of eating, the satiety centers in the brain are activated and you feel full and satisfied. When you eat fast the satiety centers of brain are not activated and you end up eating more
Small frequent meals and chewing your food thoroughly and eating mindfully is the key
- Dinner meals are high in carbs and also in quantities- Due to the hectic schedule, the only meal that we have together with the family turns out to be ‘dinner’ and in turn it ends up to be the largest meal with varieties of food that all the family members enjoy.
Ideally dinners should be light and should be high in proteins and less in carbs which is actually vice versa of what is generally practiced. The reason for the dinners to be light and high in proteins and less in carbs is that post dinners we are not that active thus not a real requirement of all the carbs for energy. The process of recovery of all the muscles that are used up throughout the day, wear and tear takes up at night and that requires proteins
- Physical and Mental Stress- for eg Excessive exercise- This is only with regards to people who are excessively obsessed with exercise to lose belly fat. Excessive exercise leads to physical stress and thus high cortisol levels. In case of mental stress you must have noticed the first thing that you would choose is chocolates/ ice creams or any comfort foods that are high in sugars /carbs for that matter. At this point of stress, the food get broken down and is converted to fats and stored on your belly area
Exercise in moderation and keep yourself stress free by indulging in some yoga and meditation/ your hobbies
- Consumption of processed foods/ ready to eat- Do you have the habit of reading labels? Do pick one product that you eat the most and read the label today. Most of the processed or ready to eat food product are high in sugars/ fats/ refined carbs. It is extremely low in fiber too. Even the fiber enriched product gives less than 2 gms of fiber per serving.
Read the labels and choose wisely. Best thing would be to have homemade food or if you can try some variations to increase the fiber intake by incorporating more veggies/fruits along with the main product
- Aerated drinks/cold drinks and products containing HFCS, – High Fructose Corn syrup (HFCS) or liquid glucose present in all the aerated drinks, cold drinks like pepsi, coke, flavoured sugar syrups etc. does not get metabolized and are stored in the belly as fats.
Opt for buttermilk, lemon water, coconut water, fresh lime soda (salted) over the above drinks
- Lack of sleep- Sleep deprivation or disturbed sleep not only adds on to physical and mental stress but also affects your choice of food items i.e. You end up eating junk when you are unable to sleep at night. Not only that the ideal procedure of fat loss, growth and development actually takes place when you are in deep sleep. I think now you can relate why the people with high stress levels get flabbier day by day even when their portions are controlled.
- Starvation- In my practice as a dietician, I have come across bunches of people who starve themselves to lose weight most importantly belly fat. It is the worst thing that you can do to your body. When you starve your body, the first thing that your body does when it has access to food post long long gap is store all the calories in the form of fat and spends the least for various functions of the body as well as for other activities.
Small frequent meals and not keeping your body starved for long hours will really help improve metabolism and hence fast
- Consuming fruits at night or post meals- We feel having fruits at night is healthy as fruits are very light. But the fact is fruits are rich source of carbohydrates and supply constant energy. We are neither that active at night nor is our metabolism good post sunset. Thus all the unused calories get stored in the body in the form of fats.
With regards to having fruits with meals, it increases the carbo load of the meal and all the excess and unused carbs is converted into fats
It is better to consume fruits as a midsnack or a great option to start your day with to boost your metabolism
- Sweets/dessert post meals- Icecreams / puddings/ chocolates/ sweets post meals especially dinner makes your day if you have a sweet tooth, isn’t it? Sweets are sugar laden an having them post meals make it all the more obvious for more fight deposition