As you probably know, eating clean is a big and really important part of a healthy lifestyle. You cannot out-train a bad diet. Just because you do the thousand squat challenge does not mean you can then go ahead and stuff your face with a burger, fries and a coke.
If you want to look good and feel good, strong, healthy and fit you have to feed your body the right things.
What are the right things?
Foods that are real, that are unprocessed and that come from the earth with ingredients that you can actually understand. Foods that are nutritiously dense and don’t contain a bunch of refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and other chemical additives.
These are foods that pack in a triple win punch:
- They provide your body with the nutrients it needs
- They don’t contain all the nasty additives you find in processed foods
- You can eat more of them and still consume WAY less calories then if you were to eat the same amount of processed foods.
So what are the foods that can actually help you burn belly fat? They typically fall into two categories:
#1 Foods that help prevent blood sugar spikes
Examples of foods in the first category which will help prevent these blood sugar spikes are foods like:
- olive oil
All of these foods are high in either protein, fat or fiber. This means that it takes longer for them to get digested, which will help prevent a sharp increase in blood sugar spikes.
If you have no idea what blood sugar is… it literally is the sugar in your blood. When you eat foods like donuts, white bread, white pasta, white rice or sugary desserts you will have a rapid increase in your blood sugar.
This spike actually makes your hormones go out of whack. The result is an increase in your abdominal fat. That’s why you should stay away from processed foods as much as possible.
If you eat these foods that do not increase your blood sugar, like those mentioned above, it really slows down the whole process of the absorption and digestion.
Another reason why these foods are awesome for burning belly fat is because it actually takes more energy or calories to digest them.When you eat fat or carbs it takes about 5 to 15 percent of the calories in the food to actually digest it. With protein you burn between 20 and 30 percent of the calories in that food to digest it.
A protein is made up of amino acids and these amino acids are bonded together by peptide bonds. These bonds are really hard to break apart, so your body has to work extra hard to physically break them down and digest them.
That is why you burn more calories when you eat protein. Because these foods take longer to digest, they keep you fuller longer, so that you don’t overeat.
#2 Foods that help speed up your metabolism
These are foods that will help increase your metabolism, like:
- green tea
- cayenne pepper
And foods high in protein like
A cup of green tea or a teaspoon of cayenne pepper can help you burn about 10 to 20 extra calories a day. But remember, it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to burn off one pound of fat!
Adding these types of foods into your diet will help but if you really want to change your body you’ve got to incorporate exercise too.
It’s all about that healthy lifestyle… and that is a package deal!
Exercise is really important. Not just cuz you’re burning calories but also because you are increasing your muscle mass. This is essential because, when you have more muscle in your body, you’re burning more calories at rest than if you are if you have less muscle.
A really great way to increase muscle mass is to do strength training. Now this doesn’t mean you have to go the gym and lift weights. You can just use your body weight to increase your muscle mass.
When you’re working those muscles through resistance training and filling up with protein after your workout your body will have the building blocks to create that beautiful lean muscle.
Another reason you aren’t getting rid of belly fat
Are you working out, eating nutrient rich, natural foods, getting plenty of protein but still not getting rid of your lower belly fat?
Not sleeping enough could be the culprit. When you’re not sleeping enough your body thinks you’re stressed. This increases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Research has shown that increased cortisol levels cause you to store more belly fat.
Yep, it’s unfortunate but it’s true. So make sure you get sufficient sleep. For most people this means between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night.
Eat foods that are high in protein and fiber. This ensures that you’re burning more calories when you’re digesting and it keeps you fuller longer. Add in some metabolism boosting herbs and spices like green tea and Cayenne pepper for that a little bit of extra burn.
Do not over eat, even if it’s good food, because extra calories are still extra calories and will cause you to gain weight!
Increase your lean muscle mass by doing more strength training exercises. Finally, sleep more to prevent your cortisol levels from rising, causing you to store more belly fat.