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Boot~ique: Two causes for belly fat and how to fit them

There are two reasons that your stomach may not have the same lean, sexy ripped look that it once did:

1) You may have put on weight and, as a result, your stomach has grown; or 2) You are eating foods that contribute to belly fat.

The good news is that both of those issues can be rectified with a few simple steps.

Along with your current exercise regimen, these next few tips will help you reduce belly fat and sculpt the abs you've always wanted. The first thing to remember is that you will not be able to shrink your stomach by eating the same amount of food that your eating now.

If you want to lose weight, you have to change your eating habits. There isn't anything more straightforward than that. You'd be amazed, though, at how many people want to lose weight but don't want to change their eating habits.

Doing something as stringent as counting calories to lose weight isn't necessary to shed pounds. A much more effective way to lose weight and shrink your stomach is to focus on high quality foods and ones that are high in fiber and other nutrients.

Another rule of thumb is to eat only until you feel just shy of full as opposed to stuffing yourself so much that you feel as though you may burst. That part is easy, right?

Putting in less food at each sitting trains your stomach to hold less food. As it becomes accustomed to holding less food, it begins to shrink. You will be able to consume less, still feel full and decrease the size of your stomach; all by just changing HOW you eat when you eat.

Eating foods rich in whole grains is a great way to feel fuller longer while eating less because whole grains take longer to digest than simple white, bleached grains.

One way to calculate adequate portion sizes is to use what you have; your hands. When calculating fruit, protein (including meat) or whole grain, use the size of your fist as the guide for your portion. When calculating portion size for vegetables, use two fists worth as a guide. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

If you're still hungry after you finish eating your meal or snack, assess whether or not you ate too quickly or if you're so used to consuming more food that you're not as satisfied as before. If the latter is the case, that's the exact point of eating differently; to train your stomach to hold less and thereby shrink over time. If all else fails and you're still hungry after 20 minutes, then going for more green vegetables is the best way to go.

Finally, if you're eating the type of foods that will cause belly bloating, in order to shrink your stomach you will have to change some of your food choices. If you're not sure what foods cause belly bloat for you, keep a food journal and record your food choices and how you feel after you eat them. If you notice certain foods give you gas or bloating, cut back on those.

Some foods that may be easy for one person to digest may not be so easy for another person. I know milk is a good source of calcium and other nutrients but my stomach can't handle digesting it. Everything from food allergies to intestinal issues can cause some foods to be a source of belly bloat. incorrect food choices.

The best thing to do is to listen to your body and be aware the effects of the foods you feed it. With a food journal, in time you will be able to discern exactly what foods your body likes and dislikes. Once you have a firm handle on that, tailor your diet to the foods that leave you feeling optimal after you consume them. If three hours down the line after you eat them, you feel uncomfortably full or uneasy, then that's a food you may want to consider taking off your regular diet menu.

This tip is simple, but you may find that cutting some of your favorites foods is easier said than done. However, from a health perspective, eliminating foods that don't agree with you is a cost-effective and time-effective way to deal with potential health problems.

Re-balancing your body isn't just to help you improve your look, but it's a way to improve your overall health as well. Also, you don't have to eliminate foods you are sensitive to for life. You can try reintroducing them to your diet down the line.

Hopefully, by learning how to eat and what to eat you can help shrink your belly. As always, exercise will help with muscle tone and when combined with healthy eating you can be sure that the sculpted, lean, ripped belly you long for will once again be a reality.

One of the best clean-ups your nutrition is by approaching it indirectly. For example, our clients tell us all the time that after working out - they don't want to eat the old junk food they used to crave. This is where diet and exercise really goes hand in hand - once you commit to one of them - it's much easier to commit to the other - and before long - you see the results you've been wanting all along. In the Bootique Fitness program, we coach you on diet and exercise - so that you are well prepared with all the tools you need to succeed. Come try us out and get started for free.

Jaylin Allen is a local fitness expert in San Diego, known for getting her clients in shape in record time through her popular "Boot Camps For Women" and "Zumba" classes. For more information about Jaylin, fitness, or her classes, be sure to check out Bootique Fitness or call (619) 602-8087.