Here is a little science lesson for you about your "belly fat" hormone, also known as cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that your body releases to deal with stress, and unfortunately high levels of cortisol have been linked to increased levels of abdominal fat. Want to reduce cortisol and burn more belly flab? Here are 3 things that you can do starting today:
1. Work less--New research shows that if you work more than 48 hours per week, the likelihood of consuming excess alcohol goes up dramatically. Alcohol consumption increases cortisol, and together they both increase belly fat. If you're looking to shrink your belly, trimming back your working hours while choosing calorie-burning exercise for stress relief (in lieu of alcohol) will do wonders for your waistline.
2. Don't consume caffeine after 6 P.M.-- Although caffeinated beverages can enhance fat-burning when consumed around exercise, caffeine can be a double whammy on cortisol levels, especially if consumed at night when it's very likely to negatively affect the quality of your sleep. Getting quality, uninterrupted sleep each night is critical to reducing cortisol, so you'll want to avoid caffeine in the evening hours.
3. Take time to "unplug"-- A recent Canadian study showed that those who were constantly "plugged in" to technology all throughout the day (TV, smart phones, computers) were significantly more stressed than those who took time to "unplug" during designated time blocks each day. More stress=more belly fat, so if you want a trim belly, start planning some device-free time each day.