How to Get Rid of Stress Belly | 7251

How to Get Rid of Stress Belly

Life is stressful, and sometimes that stress can appear as a little extra weight around your stomach. Stress belly, or an increase in abdominal fat, is most likely not a serious medical condition but a sign that you’re over-stressed.[1] When you’re stressed, cortisol levels rise and your appetite increases. In a prolonged period of stress your body stores cortisol in your stomach as fat as part of its fight-or-flight response. All bodies are beautiful, but we know that the extra weight can have you feeling a bit off, so we’ve compiled a list of ways you can get rid of stress belly.

A balanced, nutritious diet will help you feel amazing inside and out. This doesn’t mean cutting out all the joys of food out of your life. Just being cautious and aware of what and how much you’re eating can help you lose the extra weight. Personal trainer Laura Flinn recommends “limiting your sugar and simple carbs, eating a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and lean protein.”In addition, adding foods to your diet that reduce stress can also help lower cortisol levels and shrink that stress belly. The next time you go grocery shopping, think about adding these foods to your list:[2]

  • Foods rich in vitamin B like beef, chicken, and eggs help break down cortisol.
  • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like avocados, salmon, and walnuts help reduce inflammation.
  • Foods rich with magnesium like bananas, broccoli, and spinach can help relax your body and mind.

Safely lowering the number of calories you eat a day can help you get rid of stress belly. When you eat in a calorie deficit, you are eating fewer calories than you’re using. Try swapping out that bag of chips for a large apple, or skipping that morning snack when you’re not hungry. Something as simple as not going back for seconds can help you lower your calories without starving.[3] Personal Trainer Laura Flinn explains, “when I work with someone on their weight loss goals, I advise them to aim for 1-2 points a week for healthy weight loss.” However, she also emphasizes that everyone loses weight at different rates: “If someone has 50 pounds to lose, they will lose weight faster than someone who has a few pounds to lose. Genetics also play a big role in how much and how fast someone can lose weight.”

  • If counting calories isn’t safe for you, no worries! You don’t need to track your calories to be mindful. Just think about eating until you’re satisfied and only snacking when you need to.
  • Don’t rely on food to manage your stress. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, call a friend

Eating foods that are rich in fiber can help you lose weight. Fiber-rich foods keep you full longer and have added benefits like lowering blood pressure and improving gut function. Personal trainer Laura Flinn says you should aim for “at least 25 grams of fiber daily,” which is a lot more than you might think. Doctors generally recommend a fiber intake range of 25 to 30 grams per day.[5] Here are some ways you can add more fiber to your meals:[6]

  • Using brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Adding kidney beans to your salads.
  • Slicing a banana into your morning cereal.

Depending on alcohol to improve your mood can hurt you more than it helps you. Alcohol can only numb the stress for so long, leading you to become more stressed and anxious. The added calories of a beer or glass of wine can also pile up before you know it and fuel that stress belly. [7]

  • Reach out to friends instead of reaching for the bottle.
  • Go outside when you think about drinking. Read a book on the porch, or go for a calming walk.
  • There’s nothing wrong with going out with friends and having a drink, but be mindful. Experts recommend drinking no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks per day for men if you want to lose weight

An established sleep schedule can do wonders for the body. Your body fully relaxes when you sleep, giving you a chance to recharge from a long day. When you don’t sleep regularly, your body is under an extra layer of stress.[9] Getting those zzz’s can help you get rid of stress belly by putting you in a better mood and reducing cortisol levels.[10]

  • Set a bedtime each night that will give you at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep.[11]
  • Follow a routine to help you wind down for the night. Drink a cup of tea, take a bath, or relax to your favorite show.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.
  • Only sit or lay down in your bed when you are getting ready to sleep.

An established sleep schedule can do wonders for the body. Your body fully relaxes when you sleep, giving you a chance to recharge from a long day. When you don’t sleep regularly, your body is under an extra layer of stress.[9] Getting those zzz’s can help you get rid of stress belly by putting you in a better mood and reducing cortisol levels.[10]

  • Set a bedtime each night that will give you at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep.[11]
  • Follow a routine to help you wind down for the night. Drink a cup of tea, take a bath, or relax to your favorite show.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.
  • Only sit or lay down in your bed when you are getting ready to sleep.

Incorporate more exercise in your schedule to get those endorphins pumping. Schedule a time to go on a walk each day. It can be as simple as a walk around the block or as intense as a mid-day hike. A walk a day can help you stay happy and get your metabolism running. For best results, Personal Trainer Laura Flinn recommends combining cardio exercise with “clean eating […] and resistance exercises [to] burn fat overall.”[14]

  • It’s recommended that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week.

There are hundreds of stress management tools out there to try. To get rid of stress belly, you need to target the main factor: stress. Breathing exercises are a great way to calm your body and mind, especially when you’re stressed. Try out these breathing exercises the next time things get overwhelming:[15]

  • Belly breathing: lie back in a comfortable position with one hand on your belly and the other hand on your chest. Take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your belly with air, and exhale through your mouth. Repeat this 3 to 10 times.
  • 4-7-8 breathing: place one hand on your belly and the other hand on your chest. Inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath while counting to 7, and then exhale while counting to 8. Repeat this cycle 3 to 7 times until you feel relaxed.
  • Listening to guided meditations that focus on breath work are also a great resource.[16] Search “guided breath meditation” on YouTube for free videos to follow.

BEAT MARK

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