Today we're diving into 20 things you might want to stop doing if your goal is primarily to lose belly fat. Let's dive into it.
#1: Stop Doing So Much Cardio
Excessive cardio can raise cortisol which is tied to weight gain around the belly. Too much cardio can also result in muscle loss which reduces the metabolism and makes it harder to maintain or achieve a weight loss goal.(1)
Aim for a balanced exercise routine that includes cardio as well as resistance training.
#2: Stop Adding Sugar To Your Coffee
The sugar in drinks (such as coffee) is quickly absorbed and rapidly raises blood sugar and the storing hormone insulin. Consistently high levels of insulin (hyperinsulinemia) are associated with weight gain around the belly.(2)
Instead, try some of my favorite zero sugar coffee recipes HERE.
#3: Stop Buying Smoothies
Most smoothies you buy at a restaurant or shop are loaded with over 80-100 grams of sugar from bananas, dates and honey. Even though it’s fruit sugar, it’s still a lot that is rapidly absorbed and can spike insulin. Instead make your own low sugar, high protein smoothies like with one of my favorite recipes HERE.
#4: Stop Eating 2 Hours Before Bed
Eating too close to bed can reduce sleep quality. Poor quality sleep is directly tied to weight gain around the belly.(3)
#5: Stop Eating Peanut Butter As A Protein
Protein is great for reducing belly fat, but peanut butter is not technically a protein. You can use it as a fat in your meals, but don’t count peanut butter as a protein, otherwise you won’t get all the benefits of protein and belly fat loss.
#6: Stop Being Scared Of Weights
Resistance training (even light resistance training) is the best exercise related tool for helping the body to burn fat as fuel. It helps to boost metabolic rate, maintain (or even increase) muscle mass and reduce insulin resistance.(4)
You can test out the 3 week resistance training program included in the 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program HERE.
#7: Stop Drinking Sugary Electrolyte Drinks
One standard 20 oz. bottle of Gatorade has about 36 grams of sugar. That's roughly the same amount of sugar in a can of soda! Instead, I prefer to hydrate with zero sugar electrolytes, such as LMNT.
You can find LMNT HERE.
#8: Stop Eating Regular Bread
Even "whole wheat" bread is relatively high glycemic load. This means it can spike both blood sugar and the storing hormone insulin. Instead, try some low glycemic load options like jicama wraps, egg wraps, bell pepper sandwiches, cauliflower wraps or my homemade flax bread recipe HERE.
#9: Stop Watching TV Before Bed
Watching TV before bed can reduce the sleep hormone melatonin and result in a poor nights sleep. Aim for no TV 60 minutes before bed.
#10: Stop Having More Than 2 Cups Of Coffee/Day
Too much caffeine can potentially raise the stress hormone cortisol and disrupt sleep. High levels of cortisol are also directly tied to weight gain around the belly.(5)
#11: Stop Having Oatmeal At Breakfast
This is a sneaky one that can actually dramatically raise blood sugar levels in many individuals. Plus, oatmeal has been found to be less satiating than other breakfast food items, like eggs, making you more likely to need a snack earlier in the day.(6)
Try my grain-free, high protein "oatmeal" recipe for an excellent alternative HERE.
#12: Stop Going To Bed At 11pm (Or Later)
Going to bed too late in the evening can throw off our body's natural circadian rhythm. This can make the sleep that you're getting when you go to bed later poorer quality. Instead, aim to hit the hay by 10pm (or earlier, if you're a bit of a grandma like me!).
#13: Stop Sitting For More Than An Hour At A Time
Long stretches of being sedentary and sitting can increase our risk of insulin resistance, making it harder to burn fat as fuel. Try getting up every hour, even if it's just to stand and walk around your office for a minute or two. The FitBit has a great feature that reminds you to get 250 steps every hour, which equates to about 2 minutes of walking.
THIS is the FitBit that I personally use.
#14: Stop Eating Hyper-palatable Desserts
Hyper-palatable desserts are those that are made with a lot of sugar and often times paired with a lot of fat. This can cause something called a "bliss point" making it difficult to stop eating, even after you feel full and satisfied.
Instead, opt for low sugar desserts such as dark chocolate, homemade zero sugar whipped cream and berries or my zero added sugar hot chocolate recipe HERE.
#15: Don't Eat Rice Or Pasta
Even brown rice is surprisingly high glycemic load, but both pasta and white rice can cause blood sugar levels to skyrocket! Opt for lower glycemic load swaps like cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, fresh sweet potato noodles (not the dried variety), hearts of palm pasta or spaghetti squash.
Try my DELISH zucchini lasagna recipe that tastes like the real deal HERE.
#16: Stop Having More Than One Alcoholic Drink Per Day
Alcohol consumption can disrupt sleep quality, especially when you have more than one per day and have it close to bedtime. If you choose to drink, I recommend opting for zero sugar Dry Farmed Wines like THIS option.
#17: Stop Eating Dried Fruit
All dried fruit is insanely high glycemic load and can cause a pretty severe spike in blood sugar (and the storing hormone insulin). On average, most dried fruit has a glycemic load of 40, which is almost triple that of a sweet potato.
Instead of dried fruit, opt for whole low sugar fruit like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.
#18: Stop Eating "Protein" Bars
Most protein bars are actually fairly low in protein while being pretty high in sugar. If you need a quick snack between meals, I recommend opting for grass-fed beef sticks, beef jerky, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, egg bites or greek yogurt.
#19: Stop Looking At Your Phone Before Bed
Scrolling through instagram or checking your email before bed can majorly shut off the sleep hormone melatonin and can lead to very poor quality sleep. And don't forget, poor quality sleep is directly tied to weight gain around the belly. Aim for no "tech" at least 30 minutes before bed.
#20: Stop Eating Cereal
Even basic corn flakes without any added sugar is considered high glycemic load and therefore spikes the storing hormone insulin. Cereal is also very low in protein, meaning you're more likely to crave a snack or something sweet sooner after eating a bowl of cereal than many other breakfast options. Instead, try my Summer Detox Chia Pudding Bowl for a high protein, low sugar breakfast alternative.
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Autumn Elle Nutrition