How do you know if you are at risk? Waistline measurements for men should be under 40 inches and under 35 inches for women. To calculate, use a soft tape measure. Find the top of your hip bone and wrap the tape all the way, ending near your belly button. Breathe out, don't suck in your tummy and keep the tape straight and taut but not tight.
If you measure high, the good news is that you can change this with lifestyle changes. The more obvious of those changes include a healthy diet that is low in sugar and foods that easily turn to sugar, exercise, and adequate sleep. But did you know that stress can be a leading contributor of excess belly fat? Many people live in a chronic level of low grade stress where their daily worries, anxieties and fears are normal. They don't think of themselves as "stressed out" because they have become accustomed to and comfortable with that feeling. However, that feeling of stress that has become so normal is wreaking havoc on your hormones. So, even if you ate the right foods and got enough exercise you could still have excess belly fat.
So what can you do to reduce stress? Taking the time for yourself each day to do something relaxing is important whether it be taking a hot bath, reading a good book, meditating, or something else that you can do with a relaxed mind. If you find it hard to relax, even when you are "relaxing", I have included a few links below to help you get started.
Here is a brief article on how you can start calming your mind and de-stressing right now through some simple yogic breath techniques. I also am including a link to a guided meditation with Eckhart Tolle for practicing stillness within to help you on relax. Enjoy.
-Sharon Nelson, Owner and Certified Health Coach