Revisiting the Myths of Losing Belly Fat

Iris Hunter

Are you trying to lose weight, but having trouble losing those extra pounds? If you are unsuccessful in trying to get into better shape your biggest mistake could be practicing various weight loss and dieting myths.

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Credit: Vicky Garcia

Fitness expert Vicky Garcia often consults individuals who are having a hard time losing weight. Consultations include understanding the client’s eating habits by asking them about their diet so that she can suggest ways they can lose weight. Suggestions include ways to eat healthier as well as which types of exercises should be completed on a regular basis.

There are several myths that people still believe when it comes to trying to get rid of their belly fat, which is why after completing certain exercises for an extended amount of time there are little or no results.

Renee Clerkin, a registered dietician and nutritionist, also sheds some light on myths regarding eating and exercising away your muffin top.

“The most common myth is that there is some magical food or exercise that will shrink your waist so you will not get a muffin top,” Clerkin said. “The truth is that you cannot pick one area of your body to shed fat first. Fat spot reduction is impossible because you can’t tell your body where to burn fat first. In order to really shrink a muffin top it is essential you work on promoting fat loss from your entire body, not just your midsection.”

Having a Strong Core is Only Part of the Equation

“One of the myths that many people believe is that doing 100 sit ups everyday will give you a 6-pack,” Garcia said.

Garcia stated that completing various abdominal exercises will make a person’s core stronger, but that they will still have to change their diet in order to get rid of belly fat. A combination of weight lifting, cardio-vascular exercises, and a balanced diet will help a person lose their muffin top.

Skipping Meals is not the Answer

In addition, skipping meals is not the answer to losing weight. Some people think that skipping meals, and therefore not taking in calories, will help them lose weight. This is just a myth, Garcia said.

“The more hours you leave your body without the nutrients you need you are making your metabolism slower,” Garcia said. “[This] causes you to burn less calories and it makes you gain weight. You have to feed your body often in order to burn what you eat.”

Eating Late and Snacking

Some individuals believe that by snacking they are going to gain weight. It is OK to snack, but snackers have to make sure they choose wisely. The snack should have the right nutrients, she said.

Many people believe that having a late dinner will make them gain weight so they might even skip diner, Garcia said. However, leaving gaps in between meals is not a good idea.

“It does not matter what time of day you eat,” Garcia said. “It is important that you eat the right portions of food and nutrients before going to bed.”

Weight Gain and Sleep Loss

Some people may be surprised to find out that they may be gaining weight because they are sleep deprived.

“When you don’t sleep enough there is a hormone in your body that will crave sweets. Losing sleep can interfere with your hormone production, so it affects your cortisol level,” Garcia said. “Therefore, it will affect your insulin sensitivity, which will cause you to retain fat in your belly.”

Which Foods Help Promote Weight Loss?

Although there are certain foods that cause weight gain there are also foods that could help with weight loss.

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Credit: Master isolated images

Natural foods help keep people from gaining weight. Weight gain happens as a result of consuming processed foods. These foods have a high Glycemic index, Garcia said, and these foods affect sugars and insulin sensitivity. According to Clerkin, high-sodium foods—processed foods, cheese, hot dogs, and bacon—cause weight gain. On the other hand, avocados, oranges, lemons, limes, and green tea help rid muffin tops.

“Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat, which have been shown to block fat storage, particularly around your midsection,” Clerkin said. “Avocados are also rich in fiber, potassium, and B vitamins which all pay a beneficial role in preventing weight gain. Citrus fruits are loaded with fiber and vitamin C. They are also loaded with a group of antioxidants, called flavonoids, which help the body burn fat and control weight.”

“Green tea is rich in epigallocatechin gallate, a powerful antioxidant, which has been shown to prevent the body from absorbing and storing fat,” Clerkin went on to say. “Green tea may promote weight loss by boosting the body’s ability to burn, instead of store, fat.”

It is important to get rid of any excess weight since doing so can help prevent disease. Having excess weight around the midsection puts a person at an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, gallbladder problems, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and certain cancers, Clerkin said.

“Eating more portions, staying active, and exercising are the three main things that you can do in order to decrease your muffin top,” stated Garcia.

“The trick is to eat plenty of whole, real foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources,” Clerkin said. “Enjoy a snack of sliced avocado on whole-wheat bread or a large salad with grilled salmon and a citrus dressing.”

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