It's been tough keeping track of our fitness and food during the pandemic, and many people have already packed on the "COVID-19" pounds. Unfortunately, most of the weight gain is centered in the belly, where experts say it can do the most harm to our health.
"Many people think that belly fat is just about vanity," says Lisa Lynn, a leading personal trainer who was Martha Stewart's coach. "But what you might not know is that if you can pinch more than an inch of belly fat, your health is in danger."
Lynn says that excess abdominal fat increases our risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. "It's also a sign that your hormones are out of balance," she tells Newsmax. "This could mean that your body is insulin-resistant, which puts you at risk for cancer."
Lynn, the founder of LynFit.com, says that losing belly fat often requires more than diet and exercise. Here are her top reasons your belly fat won't bulge:
- You are getting older. As we age, our metabolism declines and we burn fewer calories. "Add the current stress to this along with menopause and andropause, and every ounce goes to your belly," the expert says.
- You're doing the wrong kind of workout. Exercise helps reduce stress, but it won't do much for weight loss unless you do a combination of weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise at the right intensity to burn off belly fat. "Aim for three total body workouts a week to boost your metabolism," she says.
- You're not giving your body a metabolic break. Try intermittent, metabolic fasting. Have your last meal of the day at 6 p.m., and don't eat until 9 a.m. the following morning. "This sets the stage for more efficient fat-burning," she says.
- You are stressed out. "I don't know of anyone who isn't affected by the coronavirus crisis," Lynn says. "But stress can upset your hormonal balance and makes it harder for you to lose belly fat," she says. "When you are under stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol that actually enlarges the fat cells around your midsection."
- You aren't sleeping enough. Over 30% of Americans get less than six hours sleep nightly. Lack of sleep increases your risk of gaining 30 or more pounds of belly fat. Lynn recommends a natural, metabolic boosting supplement like Lean Sleep with Melatonin and practicing good sleep hygiene habits. The National Sleep Foundation has some excellent tips on how to get a good night's sleep.
- You are shaped like an apple. People with round, apple-shaped bodies are more prone to putting on pounds around the belly. Lynn recommends a product called Cutting Edge to optimize metabolism and burn fat around the midsection.
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