The holidays are over and yet,the calories we ate during this time still linger. So, I thought I’d write about some of the foods that help with belly fat because this is usually where our weight gain shows up first. I remember a dear friend used to say, “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips” whenever he ate high calorie, fattening foods. I thought it was funny. Personally, I tend to gain 5 lbs during the holidays or any vacation trip for that matter. I just know my body and this is its typical response. However, the first week I’m back, I usually get back to my pre-vacation (or pre-holiday) weight. In this post I want to share with you some of the strategies I use to do just that. At the same time, I have a feeling this may be a popular post at this time of year.
The Hidden Culprits
Typically, when we gain weight at a rate of 5 lbs a week due to overeating (such as in my case), we tend to increase inflammation in our body. This is the first culprit. Because of this inflammation, we tend to retain water and gain weight. Inflammation may be caused by various factors such as the type of foods we ate, lack of physical activity, the volume of food we ate, and so on. So it only makes sense to make changes in these areas when we are looking to get back to our pre-vacation weight.
Most of our fat cells reside around the waist and hips. They are located here because one of the functions of fat cells is to store toxins and keep them away from our vital organs like the stomach, liver, kidney, and so forth. Another hidden culprit lies in these toxins because our body’s response is to render them harmless to us and our organs by diluting them with water. As a result, we retain unnecessary water when we have toxins in our fat cells. This is also the reason the belly and hips are common problem areas for a lot of people.
Top 3 Foods that Help with Belly Fat
The most important thing we want to address when reducing inflammation and eliminating toxins is nutrition. I get better results when I choose my foods wisely. Here are my top 3 foods:
#1 Fish or Other Omega-3 sources
Omega-3 fatty acids work well with reducing inflammation. We can get them from most seafood or in raw nuts like almonds and pistachios. Most of us should already have the habit of taking omega-3 supplements as I do. But, I tend to increase my fish consumption when I feel I need the extra boost especially during times of overeating like the holidays.
When choosing fish, choosing the wild variety versus farm raised is the way to go. Farm raised fish tend to eat a lot of toxins in a smaller environment such as the container they are bred in. There is still that chance of mercury intake when you choose wild fish but as long as you do not eat it 3 times a day, 7 days a week, you will be okay.
#2 Naturally Diuretic Vegetables
There are vegetables that are naturally diuretic and detoxifying. Diuretics simply increase the amount of urine we excrete. Thus, helping with unnecessary water retention. Normally I would not recommend a diuretic but if it’s part of your diet in moderate amounts, it is fine. Plus the fiber in vegetables will also help eliminate waste from your system much quicker. Some of my favorite naturally diuretic vegetables are cucumbers, asparagus, beets, and celery.
#3 Green Leafy Vegetables
Here is an article I wrote about green leafy vegetables and why it’s good for us: The Benefits of Drinking Wheat Grass Juice. The antioxidants found in them and other fruits and veggies also help reduce inflammation and keeps our cells healthy by fighting free radicals.
If you need new ideas on meals to lose belly fat or need to overhaul your kitchen, you may want to check out this new cook book I found: Real Food Cook Book by Scott Kustes. I especially like the spice mixes towards the end of the cook book. I used the savory spice mix recipe when I roast whole cornish hens or chickens (see main post picture).
As far as nutrition goes, one of my very first go to techniques is still intermittent fasting (IF) like with Eat Stop Eat in the summer or 2 Meal Solution when the weather gets cold. The reason for my different choices with weather changes is I cannot do 24 hour fasts in the winter because I tend to get cold. Besides the fact that fasting helps reduce inflammation, it also helps me get an additional calorie deficit, especially on my non-workout days when I’m not burning extra calories through my workouts.
Eating foods that help with belly fat along with focusing on getting your calorie deficit through IF should easily get you back to your pre-holiday weight as it did for me. The route you choose will depend on your preference and what works best for you in terms of your lifestyle. But, you cannot go wrong when you incorporate the foods I listed above even if you do not practice IF.
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