Love-handles, muffin-top, spare-tire. A rose by any other name ruins a bikini body all the same. If you've been working your tail off to get rid of stomach fat you aren’t alone. You also aren’t alone if you have tirelessly tried to get rid of stomach fat by using the two most common dieting methods: cutting calories and counting calories.
We have long known that cortisol production and chronic psychological stress are two known factors for weight gain, particularly in your stomach, but thanks to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine in 2010 we now know that “dieting” is to blame for your weight gain.
The study results show that restricting calories increased cortisol output and that counting calories created stress. Thankfully, all hope for a blissful bikini season is not lost. Certified Sports Nutritionist Jan Roos recommends 3 methods for reducing stress and cortisol output which is the first step to reducing belly fat. His first recommendation is limiting or eliminating carbs. “Restricting carbohydrates has been proven by dozens of studies to cause more fat loss than restricting calories. It also improves cholesterol numbers, accelerates fat loss, preserves fat burning muscle and has a lower rate of rebound.” (Don't freak about limiting or eliminating carbs. Try these healthy alternatives instead!)
Roos, who is also the Director of Business Development at Vitality Sciences also believes another culprit is “generalized lifestyle stress. This can come from work, family or relationships. While people rarely consciously choose to be in stressful situations, they can choose how to react to it through mindfulness practices like meditation. Also, lack of sleep is a huge culprit so getting 7-8 hours a night minimum is a huge win.”
So forget about counting calories and low calorie diets and instead focus on reducing stress, limiting carbs, and getting more sleep. You will kiss that muffin-top goodbye and kick that spare tire to the curb just in time for bikini season!