Sick of sucking it in? This fat-blasting protocol from Drs. Jade and Keoni Teta can banish your belly once and for all.
Have you ever thought to yourself (or complained to a friend), “I just wish I could lose weight right here,” pointing to that one bit of stubborn fat on your body that seems to stay put no matter how much kale you eat or miles you log? Thought so. It’s safe to say we’ve all been there. And while most fitness experts will tell you that “spot reduction” isn’t possible, and that all the ab exercises in the world won’t get you a six-pack if you’re not taking other steps to melt belly fat, that doesn’t mean you can’t manipulate your shape.
In their new book Lose Weight Here, Metabolic Effect founders Drs. Jade and Keoni Teta argue that in order to truly change the shape of your body, you have to ignore the standard “eat less and exercise more” advice. This formula, often touted as the only way to get the results you want, is actually, they say, a path to cravings, mood swings, and regained weight — and a surefire way to make sure your stubborn fat stays put.
Perhaps the biggest body woe the Tetas hear about from their clients? Belly fat. It’s not your imagination — the fat stored in your belly (as well as your hips, butt, and thighs) really is more stubborn than fat stored elsewhere (you can thank your hormones and an out-of-balance metabolism for that). But there is hope! Here are the Tetas’ top 4 tips for releasing stubborn belly fat, adapted from Lose Weight Here:
Sleep more and reduce stress.
If you’re “doing everything right” and still struggling with belly fat — especially if you’re thin otherwise — the primary issue is stress management. It’s not too many calories. It’s not too many carbs. It’s not because you are not doing enough exercise. It is stress. Women with high waist-to-hip ratios (bigger bellies), whether overweight or underweight, have been shown in research to be more stress reactive. One major way to combat stress? Get more Zs. The Tetas say that a woman with stubborn belly fat that does not respond to diet and exercise would be far better off spending an extra hour in bed than an extra hour on the treadmill. So stop stressing over your workout routine and meal plan — make sleep a priority and aim to work up to an extra hour of sleep each night.
Find hormonal balance.
What else matters more than calories in your battle with belly fat? Hormones. Hormones impact where we store fat and how to attack our uniquely stubborn areas of body fat. The stress hormones insulin and cortisol, in particular, exert a strong influence on belly fat in both men and women, with cortisol being more influential in women. Estrogen and progesterone together block the negative influences of insulin and cortisol on belly fat, and they’re the reasons women tend to have a lower incidence of belly fat than men (since women innately have more estrogen than men).
The stress that causes female belly fat leads to a unique hormonal situation where testosterone and cortisol are high while estrogen is low. By reducing stress and repairing your metabolism through a diet that leaves you satisfied, not deprived, you can begin to stabilize your hormone levels and combat the negative effects of insulin and cortisol.
Eat less and exercise less.
In Lose Weight Here, the Tetas recommend cycling between phases of eating less and exercising less, and phases of eating more and exercising more, since eating less and exercising more can increase your stress hormones and encourage your body to hold on to belly fat. This alternation, they say, will help you break the diet cycle and take the brakes off stubborn fat, allowing it to be burned at the same rate as fat in the rest of the body. But sometimes, even when fat loss from stubborn areas speeds up, belly fat still lags behind.
To troubleshoot stubborn belly fat, they suggest continuing on the eat less, exercise less phase, focusing on walking at least 10,000 steps a day and weight lifting twice a week rather than engaging in long bouts of cardio. Eating less and exercising less may be the best approach to use for female belly fat, they say, since it is focused on relaxation and recovery and can help bring levels of cortisol to normal levels.
Choose the right supplements.
Along with a balanced diet and exercise schedule, the Tetas recommend these supplements for combating belly fat:
• A daily metabolic multivitamin that includes high-dose B vitamins and chromium. This will help combat insulin resistance and replace resources that stress depletes, especially zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6.
• Green coffee extract (1,000 milligrams daily). Like green tea extract, this is an insulin-sensitizing supplement.
• Curcumin (1,000 to 4,000 milligrams daily). This helps the metabolic command and control center, the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, react better to stress. It also blocks major enzymes involved in fat storage and weight-loss resistance.