Make an Effort to be Mindful
Can you consistently identify your physical and mental state? (“I’m craving chocolate cake because I’m in a bad mood, and I find chocolate comforting.”) Can you stay with that kind of feeling in the moment without judging it? That’s mindfulness—and people who had trouble experiencing it were 34 percent more likely to be obese and have excess abdominal fat, according to a 2015 Brown University study. Being aware of physical sensations, like feeling full, as well as emotions, may help you make better diet choices and boost your confidence, which may prompt you to exercise more and take care of yourself, says epidemiologist Eric Loucks, Ph.D., the study’s author.
Crank Up Your Workout Instensity
When it comes to belly fat, it’s not the calories burned that count; it’s how hard you exercise. Overweight women who did bouts of intense aerobic exercise experienced a greater reduction in waist circumference and visceral fat than did those who exercised at a conventional pace, even though the two workouts were each done five times a week and burned the same number of calories, according to 2008 University of Virginia study. “When you exercise at a higher intensity, your body releases more growth hormone, which helps reduce visceral fat,” says Arthur Weltman, Ph.D., a kinesiologist and the study’s author.
Excerpted from Real Simple