by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
The weather is warming up and soon you’ll be ready to hit the beach. If you’re stomach isn’t quite as flat as you’d like it to be, you may feel self-conscious in your swimsuit. Not to worry. You can get a flat stomach naturally without having to resort to crazy diets or dangerous pills.
What Causes Excess Belly Fat?
Many women and men are frustrated with their bodies because even though they work out, they can’t get a flat stomach. Excess belly fat is often caused by stress. Stress releases cortisol, a fight-or-flight chemical that interferes with metabolic function. In an emergency situation, cortisol helps you fight or flee your way out of danger.
However, when stress is chronic, cortisol becomes counterproductive. Excessive cortisol levels can lead to impaired digestion, anxiety, adrenal fatigue, thyroid malfunction, and metabolic fluctuations. Oftentimes, chronic stress also leads to poor sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, it reduces your leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone, produced by several body organs, that tells your brain when you’ve had enough to eat.
Poor diet is another common contributor to belly fat. If you’re eating a lot of prepackaged “diet” foods, you’ll never get the flat belly you want. This is because these convenience foods are loaded with additives, preservatives, synthetic sweeteners, and trans fats that interfere with normal metabolic and immune system function. You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet, no matter what.
Speaking of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle is another reason you haven’t been able to get those flat abs. If you’re a bodybuilder who only does weight-training and crunches, you still may struggle with belly fat. This is because no matter how many curls and crunches you do, you’re gaining strength but not toning down. You need cardio for that.
How to Get a Flat Stomach Naturally
- Dietary Changes
If you want a flat tummy, you have to clean up your diet. This means getting rid of the boxed snacks, canned foods, frozen meals, diet foods, and soda and trading it in for more nutritious fair. Eat plenty of organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, meat, poultry, fish, and healthy fats. Healthy fats include saturated fats like butter, coconut oil, and avocado.
You may be wondering why I would suggest eating saturated fats to improve your health and lose weight. This is because, for so many years, you’ve been lead to believe that saturated fats harm your health. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your body needs good fat to function at its best. Saturated fats fight inflammation, boost your immune system, prevent dementia, help you lose weight, and protect your heart.
Cutting down on gluten can also help you get the flat stomach you’re looking for. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Wheat is the main contributor, as it is in so many food products. The genetically modified (hybridized) wheat of today, “frankenwheat,” has much more gluten than your parent’s and grandparent’s wheat. Today’s wheat contains about 26% gluten, compared to 3% just 30 years ago. So those two pieces of bread you consume today are just about the equivalent, gluten-wise, of eating 18 slices of bread in the 1980’s. Gluten is the most difficult part of the grain to digest, and causes a great deal of inflammation and sugar metabolism difficulties.
Some the the many symptoms of gluten include belly bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, anxiety, depression…AND DIFFICULTY LOSING WEIGHT. Consuming genetically modified gluten will cause your blood sugar to rise more than table sugar, as proven by studies using the glycemic index. This causes an increase in insulin release from your pancreas which drives sugar into your fat cells for storage.
Farmers know how to fatten livestock very quickly…..they feed them GRAIN!
The most severe form of gluten sensitivity is celiac disease, If left untreated by a gluten free diet, it can lead to malabsorption of nutrients from food, which can leave you feeling hungry all the time.
The 1% of the population with celiac disease must avoid gluten at all costs.
If you consume wheat, make sure it is certified non-GMO organic. This reduces the gluten content back to its natural 3% level of past years.
Corn and soy are two more highly inflammatory foods that I recommend my patients cut from their diets. Unless labeled organic, corn and soy are genetically modified, meaning they contain dangerous BT toxins that do serious damage to your health. In my opinion, the only healthy soy is organic, non-GMO fermented soy. It contains live, active cultures to improve your digestion and flatten your tummy.
Most commercial weight loss supplements are dangerous for your health. They contain stimulants and fat blockers that do damage to your nervous and digestive system. They may make you lose weight quickly but at incredible cost to your overall health.
For my patients looking to lose weight the healthy way, I recommend the following supplements:
- Diamond Nutritional’s Probiotic Formula
Probiotics and regulating your digestive system have become popular in the past couple of years. A high-quality probiotic formula is essential to achieve the flat belly you’re striving for. Unfortunately, most commercial probiotics don’t contain enough live active cultures to improve your digestion and immunity. They also contain additives and preservatives that are dangerous to your health.
This is why I recommend Diamond Nutritional’s Probiotic Formula. My formula contains 22 billion live active cultures in a shelf-stable formula that survives its journey through your gut so it can get to your lower intestines and reseed your body with health.
Oftentimes, low stomach acid and poor digestion cause excessive belly bloat. When you don’t get enough nutrients from your food, you feel a constant hunger no matter how much you eat. This is why I recommend a quality digestive enzyme to improve digestion and absorption of essential nutrients.
My formula contains pancreatin, betaine, pepsin, papain, bromelain, and ox bile extract to increase your protein digestion and overall nutrient absorption.
- Diamond Nutritional’s Chelated Magnesium
Magnesium is the most common mineral deficiency I see in my patients. How does this relate to getting a flat tummy? Magnesium is responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Low magnesium levels cause the body to produce excess cortisol, which can lead to insomnia and subsequent weight gain.
If you’re already taking a magnesium supplement, you might want to consider stopping it. Many commercial magnesium supplements contain harmful additives and preservatives that contribute to chronic inflammation and immune system dysfunction. Many are not the correct form, of which there are several, or reach a therapeutic dosage.
My Diamond Nutritional’s Chelated Magnesium is more bioavailable to your body because they are the smallest nutrients available on the market, and are, as a result completely absorbed. Many store-bought magnesium supplements are ineffective because the body cannot successfully absorb them.
If you want a flat stomach, you have to get plenty of exercise. I don’t just mean crunches and other abdominal exercises. You can have the firmest core muscles in the world but they’ll still be hidden by excess fat around your middle.
To get a flat tummy, you need to do cardiovascular exercises as well. Walking, hiking, biking, swimming, and stair-climbing are all great ways to work out and lose that gut.
You don’t have to overdue it. Just 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times per week is enough to get started. Alternate this with weight-training and you’ll have the leaner, more sculpted body you’ve been struggling to achieve.
Yes, you can sleep your way to a flatter belly. As I mentioned above, lack of sleep raises your cortisol levels and lowers the leptin levels in your brain. Lower leptin levels and high cortisol levels means a malfunctioning metabolic system, increased hunger, and belly fat.
You need 7-9 hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep per night to function at your best.
If insomnia is a struggle for you, my Diamond Nutritional’s Sleep Support Formula can help you get the rest you need. It contains natural valerian root, jujube seed extract, passionflower, and l-theanine to help ease you into a deeper, more restful sleep.
Make sure that, in addition to your healthier diet and exercise plan, you drink plenty of pure, filtered water. Water helps flush toxins from your body and keeps your digestion moving the way it should. Green tea is another healthy alternative to soda and other sugary drinks.
To get the type of flat stomach you’ll be proud to show off around the pool and at the beach, follow these tips. You’ll look and feel better than you have in years!
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