All righty, we're approaching the end of the ab tips, but don't fret, I will try to share one scientific blog a month pertaining to fitness, health and the human body.
Ab tip number 10 is BLUNT & to the POINT. Want a healthy body inside and out? Want to lose those extra lbs, especially in your mid-section? Then cut the crap.
What crap, eh?
10 things to stop consuming that aide in weight gain, esp. in the belly:
- Eliminate pesticides (go organic)
- Remove processed foods
- Say BYE to fake (fake sweeteners & artificial coloring)
- Slow your GluTeN roLl
- Mooove dairy out of the way
- Eat soy free
- Break up with Joe (not completely, just caffeine)
- Leave the party (don't be a boozer)
- Mary Jane ain't yo friend
- Keep your food around & down
WHY do these 10 things have adverse effects on our health and add to our belly fat?
Read below for the scientific FACTS. I will not go into deep detail here because a full explanation of each item would get very LONG.
1. Eliminate pesticides (go organic):
The average American is exposed to 10-13 pesticide residues per day, including 1-3 highly toxic pesticides called organophosphates. Organic production reduces avg. overall dietary exposure by 97%, (research from the Organic Center, nonprofit research & educational org).
Research shows if you eat conventional produce during your pregnancy or feed conventional produce to your child during the first 2 years, it may affect their future weight. Research done by NCBI (National Center for Biotech Info) and NIH (National Institute of Health) have linked chemical pesticide exposure to increased BMI (body mass index) in children as well as increased weight, abdominal fat and insulin resistance in rodents.
Removing these pesticides from your diet will also leave you feeling better overall. I used to consume ALL conventional fruits and veggies and as soon as I switched to organic I stopped having allergies, had more energy and felt cleaner inside. My food actually began to have a lot more flavor too! Pesticides wreck the taste of your raw foods!
2. Remove processed foods:
What is a processed food? Usually a food that is chemically processed and prepared under high heat. Processed foods are bad. They are a major contributor to obesity and illness around the world.
How do we know?
Every time a population has adopted a Western diet high in processed foods, they’ve gotten sick, usually within a few years. Their nations genes don't change, their food does.
What are some processed foods?
A lot of cereals, pastas, donuts, chips, crackers, packaged cookies and snacks, meats (deli and sausages especially) and cheeses, milks, soda, candy, frozen pizzas and dinners.
Why are processed foods bad?
- High in sugar & high-fructose corn syrup
- Engineered for overconsumption
- Engineered for addiction
- Synthetic ingredients
- Spike your insulin
- Low in fiber
- Devoid of nutrients
- Refined, highly processed (heat, chemicals)
- Can be high in trans fats
- Shown to be proven to weight gain/obesity
- Can lead to cancer
3. Say BYE to fake sweeteners & artificial colors:
Growing numbers of studies show that artificial sweeteners may have a negative effect on weight gain. According to a study published in “Physiology & Behavior”, artificial sweeteners alter the hormones in our brain, toying with our chemistry. This creates an increased craving for more fattening sugars, starches, and carbohydrates, more so than real sugar does. A study published in “JAMA Pediatrics“ showed infants whose mothers drank artificial sweeteners on a daily basis during pregnancy were 2x as likely to be overweight at 1 year of life than those whose mothers did not drink any artificial sweeteners.
PS artificial colorings have been known to enhance estrogen; which brings us back to the hormonal balance topic. Too much estrogen can lead to weight gain, particularly in the lower belly (see ab tip 9).
Fun Fact: artificial colorings also give many people allergies/allergic reactions (rashes) and for many children can make them hyperactive (ADHD). They often times contain petroleum as well as carcinogens (which are known to be cancer causing)
4. Slow your gLutEn RoLl:
The GF craze spurred back in 2011 and has only continued to grow. There really aren't that many people who are "celiac", but there are MANY who are gluten sensitive and/or gluten intolerant. This has to do with the fact that a lot of heirloom grains aren't conducive for mass production. GMO grains are! GMO grains can be produced in larger and quicker quantities with less resistance to drought , but what we lose is the variety of the grain that made it so well rounded and actually good for our health. The results: America having less access to high quality grains. This means most cereals, pasta, breads are made using GMO grains. The low quality grains can cause bloating, constipation, weight gain and can make you feel heavy and tired etc.
Ever heard of the book "Wheat Belly"?. The book is based on the theory that accumulation of fat in the belly results from years of consuming foods that trigger insulin (the hormone of fat storage). Wheat provokes inflammatory phenomena, distorts insulin responses, and issues abnormal metabolic signals to the rest of the body.
My Gluten Story:
I was actually gluten intolerant from 2011-2014. I could not eat anything that even touched gluten or I would be plugged up for DAYS (TMI lol) and would have to cycle 3 types of laxatives to become regular again. Thank God for His promises. It says sickness, disease and pain are not from Him. I got prayer for a back injury in Feb. 2014 and those praying over me asked if I had issues digesting my food. I was shocked. They prayed for God to heal my body and now I can eat gluten whenever I want with no negative effects. I do still eat a mostly gluten free diet unless I am out to eat or enjoying a piece of Ezekiel bread.
Damaged gut flora is also on the rise due to the high usage of antibiotics and this can lead to gluten intolerances.
5. Mooove dairy out of the way:
A large percentage of the population have dairy intolerances and they don't even know it. Lactose intolerance comes from the pasteurization of milk. If all dairy was raw and came from grass fed cows it wouldn't be a problem. Live enzymes and bacteria in raw milk aide in the digestion of dairy. Unfortunately, these live enzymes and bacteria are destroyed when dairy is pasteurized so lactose and protein can't be properly digested. Also, keep in mind, the type of dairy milk most Americans have access are also loaded with hormones.
Dairy tends to lead to bloating of the stomach. Your body holds more water when you consume milk. And those with a lactose intolerance experience a wide variety of their own side effects from the consumption of dairy (gas, upset stomach etc).
I'd recommend you remove dairy from your diet for 2 weeks and see if you feel any better. Chances are you will! If you miss dairy, try using almond milk or coconut milk instead and if you STILL miss REAL dairy, try to find raw milk from a local farmer!
Check out www.realmilk.com. This site also shows you if there are any raw dairy producers in your neighborhood.
6. Eat soy free:
If you read ab tip #9 we talked about hormones and the importance of keeping your testosterone and estrogen in alignment to keeping your body fat down (especially belly fat). Soy based foods are high in estrogen and frequent consumption of high estrogen foods can throw your body out of wack, as a male and even as a female!
Soy based foods: edamame, soy milk, soybean oil, soy protein. Keep in mind that many granolas add soy as well as many processed foods and a lot of protein bars (i.e. Clif Bars).
Fun Fact: Fermented soy is different! When you ferment soybeans you have a completely different product that yields a completely different nutrient system for the body. Fermented soy doesn't hold estrogen traits, thus tofu, tempeh and soy sauces are okay/good for you on the soy front (can be a bit salt-ay).
7. Break up with Joe?
I wont tell you to give up coffee or caffeine, but I’ll share from my personal experience. Everyone has a different level of tolerance to caffeine. Back when I used to compete in bodybuilding shows I relied on caffeine to suppress my appetite and boost my energy levels when I was hungry and tired.
The end result?
Caffeine began to give me adverse effects. At first I felt great on it. I felt like superman, with crazy energy, heart racing like mad and struggled to come down at night to sleep well (insomnia). As I continued to abuse caffeine I began to have irregular heartbeats, super bad acid reflux, exhaustion and the eventual weight gain.
Why? Because caffeine is a stimulant and it messes with hormones and blood sugar levels. When you drink caffeine you get a burst of energy, and that’s because it stimulates your adrenals to kick out cortisol, which stimulates a blood sugar increase. It tells your liver and muscles to send out sugar into your blood to keep you awake. Drinking caffeine also stimulates a release of adrenaline, or epinephrine, which tells your heart rate to increase, and all your other fight or flight responses to turn on.
We cannot endure being in fight or flight mode all the time! Being in this mode too long eventually puts you into adrenal fatigue where a side effect is exhaustion and increased belly fat along with many other items!
It took me nearly 2 years to remove caffeine from my diet. YES, 2 years! It was a roller coaster, but now that I am 100% caffeine free I sleep well overnight (no more insomnia and poor, broken sleep), I wake up with a natural energy and I still LOVE coffee. I was able to find strong coffees with amazing taste at Whole Foods. I drink their Organic Decaf French Roast. They remove the caffeine from their beans through a water process so there are NO chemicals used in the process AND the flavor is STILL on point.
PS did you know if your coffee isn’t organic there are TONS of chemicals used to treat it? Often times the reason we have adverse effects to coffee is largely due to the chemicals in the beans, not the caffeine. Organic coffee beans with caffeine might not affect you the same. If you LOVE caffeine and drink conventional coffee, try switching to organic beans and see how you feel!
8. Leave the party:
Don’t be a boozer! The facts on alcohol and weight gain…. Alcohol is received by your body and processed by your body as sugar. There is NO nutritional value in alcohol. It is seen as empty calories. A drink here or there is no big deal. Drinking booze regularly and not in moderation can easily lead to weight gain and per usual, this weight gain typically shows first in your lower belly. Ever heard the term “Beer Belly”… now you know why! PS, when drinking alcohol, we usually become dehydrated. This dehydration often times is mistaken for hunger. Due to the sugar-like traits of booze, you may feel your blood sugar spiked and get extra hungry. Most who drink a lot binge on food after, which of course adds to the weight gain driven from drinking.
An alcohol addiction is essentially a sugar addiction. Start to remove sugar from your diet and it will make giving up booze much easier and vice versa.
I went through a season in my early 20’s (22-24) where I partied, not weekly, but a several times a year, and I can tell you I do not miss it at all. The day after drinking I always felt tired, depressed and empty. It also robbed my time, heart and money. I enjoy a glass of wine here and there and I am NOT against alcohol, but if you struggle with needing to have it each weekend or after work each night, know this, there IS more for you! Allow God to remove this false comfort or false confidence or temporary relaxant and let him be those things for you in your life. You will feel so good walking in complete freedom and your body and wallet will also thank you!
9. Mary Jane ain’t yo friend:
I won’t spend too much time on this topic, but most of you know that the THC in marijuana triggers appetite…so naturally, taking hits or enjoying a few onies can boost you into binge eating mode and thus = weight gain. Men’s bodies are more resistant to weight gain than women (no surprise there!) The topic of weight gain tied to weed is more debatable these days; especially as the THC market expands.
The only thing you should allow in your life that can alter your mood is Jesus. He should be your #1 and only addiction. When He alters your mood, you’ll be feeling fullness of joy and peace.
10. Keep your food down & around:
If you are someone struggling with your body image to the point it is leading you to throw up or starve yourself aka to become bulimic or anorexia, this information will intrigue you. BUT before we get to the facts, I’d like to just say, I am sorry for your pain. The internal struggle you are enduring. I truly believe that you are believing lies of the enemy and you are destined to walk in freedom from this bondage. Seek Jesus and get prayer! I know God has a beautiful plan for your life and this is NOT it!
Binging and/or starving your body put it into survival mode where your body will store fat! You won’t need to consume many calories for your body to snatch up what it can. This is the beauty of how God designed the human body to protect us! Also consumption of a small amount of calories will slow your metabolism down, thus when you do eat, your body won’t burn the calories as efficiently as it should!
Well if you made it this far into this blog, thank you! I hope these tips were helpful and encouraging. I know they sound bleak, but education is powerful! Now I pray God will give you the grace to make any changes you are desiring to and to keep pressing forward with any current lifestyle changes you have made!
XOXO Rach (@missmorrfit)