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Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

If you think doing rounds of sit-ups at the gym is the best way to tone up your tummy, think again. What you consume during the day has far more impact on your mid-section, meaning you should be addressing what you eat, not what you do during your workout if you want to tone up in time for summer. Don’t believe us? Read on for 10 reasons why you should manage your middle through your diet, courtesy of health and beauty destination GetTheGloss.com.

1. CUT BACK ON THE CARBS
Many of us think nothing of getting a sandwich at lunchtime, but if you’re sitting at your desk all day, you don’t need to load yourself up with carbohydrates. If you’re exercising then yes, your body definitely needs them for energy and the restoration process, but if you don’t exercise them off they can turn to fat in your system. 

2. DITCH THE DRINK
Top celebrity nutritionist Martin MacDonald of Mac-Nutrition.com works with top athletes and clients on getting the buffest bodies possible, he says: “Alcohol is beyond and above the worst thing you can put into your system – it has no nutritional benefit and is a triple-edged sword for fat gain.” Reason one, he explains, is that “People generally make bad eating decisions after a few drinks,” meaning we readily reach for pizza, takeaway or cheesy chips after a few glasses of wine. 

3. STOP SNEAKY SNACKING
For so long we’ve been told to eat ‘little and often’. God knows who came up with this advice because it seems this is now considered wrong. As nutritional therapist Amelia Freer of Freer Nutrition explains, snacking in between meals can spike your insulin levels, especially if you’re eating sweet food or carbohydrates. "Insulin," Amelia explains,"Has the job of transporting excess sugar out of the blood our body is only comfortable with one and a half to two teaspoons of sugar in your blood at one time. Unless you are a professional athlete, it is most likely that insulin will frog march this sugar straight to your hips and tum, creating what we know as the muffin top or spare tyre."  

4. DON’T BE AFRAID OF FATS
Eating more fat may seem a weird concept, but good fats (e.g. nuts, avocado, feta cheese, goats cheese, full fat Greek yoghurt) are essential to a healthy body and diet and whatever you might think, if eaten correctly these good fats don’t make you fat (it’s the carbs and sugar that are the main culprits). The idea of ‘low-fat’ is something that all leading nutritionists now believe to be low-grade advice, and as Martin MacDonald once wisely said, the concept of low-fat was brought in in the 70s and we have only seen obesity levels rise.

5. EAT PROTEIN AT EVERY MEAL
If you want to get lean and increase your muscular definition, you need to up your protein intake. But do you actually know why? Martin MacDonald explains, “It’s called the thermic effect of food – protein speeds up your metabolism, but it also provides the building block for so much that happens in your body from cells to muscles, skin, nails and hair as well as hormones.”  He suggests that you eat protein at every meal. If protein powder doesn’t appeal, then try adding eggs, salmon, full fat Greek yoghurt, chicken or turkey to your diet. Protein also makes you feel fuller for longer so you are less likely to snack.

6. SLEEP MORE AND DE-STRESS
Lack of sleep and stress can increase cortisol levels (the hormone linked to our fight or flight response) and it can also decrease the thyroid stimulating hormone which will, in turn, decrease your metabolism and cause weight gain. MacDonald also explains that “Sleep loss basically increases age related issues, and it takes longer to stabilise blood sugar levels,” which could explain why it takes new mums with up-all-night babies so long to lose stubborn stomach fat. 

7. KNOCK BACK THE SUPPLEMENTS
Many health experts have stated that taking Omega supplements can help reduce stomach fat as they help our entire system work more smoothly. MacDonald says, “Fish oils can reduce inflammation, and there is also evidence that they help your heart and help prevent cancer too.” Take a sunflower and flax seed vegetarian option  it is Omega 6 and 3 combined in a ratio of 4:1, however Amelia recommends you seek advice from a nutritional experts about finding your correct dosage since it can interfere with other medication if you are taking it. There is also increasing evidence, MacDonald says, that taking vitamin D can help with weight loss but it’s important to take a high dose. He recommends 2500 IU’s for all his clients. 

8. HAVE A ‘RE-FEED’ MEAL
Thankfully belly-blasting is not all about cutting back, and it’s actually not that bad for you to fall off the healthy wagon once a week in fact it can help speed things up a bit. MacDonald explains that it’s important to have a ‘re-feed meal’. This means increasing both calories and carbohydrates once a week, “Which will replenish the carbohydrate in your muscle and will allow you to maintain exercise intensity.” (By this he means a full meal with meat, potatoes, veg by the way; not going out and stuffing your face with a McDonalds.) He also explains that a ‘re-feed’ will speed up your metabolism and increase various hormone levels.

9. REMEMBER YOUR HORMONAL MAP
If you’re wondering why you have a spare tyre when your friend has a washboard stomach but you both eat the same, then it might be your DNA and your hormones, explains MacDonald. “We all have a hormonal map,” he explains, “Which affects the way fat is distributed around the body. If you could alter your hormones then you could change the way fat comes off your body.” MacDonald also explains how as you get older, an increase of fat around your middle is often down to hormone changes. If you want to get your hormones tested visit Dr Marion Gluck.

10. DON’T JUST STICK TO SIT-UPS
Of course, this doesn’t mean ditching exercise (far from it) - cardiovascular workouts will help strip fat all over your body, and keeping a strong core is pivotal to maintaining a strong body. However, it’s important not to just stick to the traditional old sit-up to get good abs as these only tackle the mid-stomach area. Instead do sessions that target the upper, lower and sides of the stomach too, from the plank, to press-ups and leg raises. 

 
For the full article visit GetTheGloss.com