The #21daysLockdown bears witness to endless trips to the kitchen. Yes, we are enjoying each one, but our bellies may disagree. Khumalo explains why it is important to exercise some self-discipline.
What are the biggest contributors to umkhaba?
Eating highly processed sugar and carbs, lack of sleep and a highly stressful lifestyle all contribute to belly fat. Examples of processed foods include savoury snacks such as crisps, sausage rolls, pies and pastries, cookies, cakes, candy and fizzy drinks.
How much does diet and stress play a role in belly fat?
Your diet definitely contributes to accumulating fat around your waist. However, a 2013 NIH study in the US supports the belief that stress also does contribute to an increased fat distribution around your abdominals. Higher stress levels are linked to enhanced cortisol reactivity, which leads to greater accumulation of abdominal fat. Cortisol induces more fat to be stored around your organs (visceral) fat. We all suffer from stress. However, some people may secrete more cortisol than others. Reducing your stressful lifestyle can improve your health and wellness. “Incorporate meditation, yoga and Pilates in your regimes to manage the pressures of life. I would additionally suggest learning how to manage your stress levels better,” Khumalo adds.
What foods should we incorporate or eliminate from our diets, and why?
They say “abs are made in the kitchen”, and that is true. If you want to lose fat, start by eating cleaner. Fat loss is 80% diet and 20% gym. Your diet needs to comprise healthy, nutrient-dense and calorie-low foods from all three macronutrients, which consist of healthy fats, protein sources and carbs.
What are some exercises women should target to reduce belly fat?
It is a big misconception that home exercises can help you get rid of belly fat. Unfortunately, that is not possible. No amount of crunches and Russian twists can help you shed fat around your belly. This is spot reduction – the belief that training a specific muscle will result in fat loss in that area of the body – and it’s a myth. When you lose fat, you lose it all over your body, and where the distribution starts largely depends on your genetic make-up. It is better to focus on developing a strong core and to build your abdominals.
Exercises good for strengthening your core:
· Plank, V sit-ups, leg raises, bicycle crunch and butterfly sit-ups.
Exercises good for developing chiselled abs:
· Bent V leg-ups, alternating to reach, flutter kicks, heel touches and Russian twists.