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Beer Belly: 4 Cures for the Beer Belly Blues

By Jordana Haspel From Team Beachbody - Click here for resources, tools and information to help you to reach your health, fitness and positive lifestyle goals!

Green BeerWhen you hear the words "St. Patrick's Day," you probably think of one thing: beer. Preferably green beer, but anything will do, from an Irish stout, to a Mexican Corona. The important thing is that it has to have those bubbles, that bitter taste, and that famous buzz.

Beer BellyUnfortunately, too much beer can lead to something else: a beer gut. That's that thick layer of fat around the middle that makes some people (men included) look like they're in their third trimester. In fact, the so-called beer belly is more common in men than in women, because men are more likely to store fat in their abdominal area, while women tend to store fat in their hips and thighs. Whatever your gender, that spare tire is bad news. While excess fat anywhere on the body can cause trouble, belly fat is especially mischievousresearch shows that people who carry their fat on their stomachs have a higher risk of obesity-related health problems than people whose fat sits on their seats.

WingsDespite the name, beer bellies do not necessarily come from beer. If you have a body type that stores fat in your belly, then most of the weight you gain will end up there. But there is a link between alcohol consumption and increased belly fat, though researchers are not sure why. If nothing else, a can of beer has 153 caloriesnot a huge amount if you drink just one, but if you have four (as many people do when they drink), that's over 600 calories! And that's not counting the nachos, wings, chips, and other snacks people often nibble on when they're drinking. No wonder heavy drinkers often weigh more!

Abs MeasureSo what can you do to shed those unsightly (or too-sightly) pounds? There's no simple answer. Contrary to popular belief, sit-ups and crunches won't do it. While they'll help build the muscles you need for a well-defined six-pack, your pack will stay hidden under the layers of fat if that's all you do. That's because targeted workoutsfocusing on parts of the body where you want to lose fatdon't work. Fat loss happens throughout your body, not just in specific places.

All is not lost, however. There are some things you can do to trim your tummy—and the rest of your body as well. After St. Patrick's Day is over, you may want to give these tips a try:

  • LabelsAvoid trans fats. You've probably heard this before. Trans fats are the new really bad thing to eat. Considered the worst kind of fat, manufacturers in the United States now have to list the amount on their nutrition labels, and some cities have banned their use in restaurants. But it turns out they may also blimp out your belly. According to a 2006 Wake Forest University study, trans fats not only make you gain more weight than other foods with the same number of calories, but they specifically increase belly fat. In fact, not only do trans fats add more weight, but they actually move fat from other parts of your body to your belly. Bleh!

  • Relax. Stress leads to higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which leads to an increase in abdominal fat. So let go of your worries through meditation or yoga, or go for a soothing massage. Not only will this help keep your belly in check, but you'll feel a lot happier, too.

  • SleepsGet some sleep. People who don't get enough sleep are more likely to be obese, according to a 2004 Columbia University study. Researchers found that people who slept four hours or less a night were 73 percent more likely to be obese than those who slept between seven and nine hours each night. Why? It may be because some of the hormones that regulate your appetite and metabolism increase when you're sleep deprived. So snuggle under your covers for a few extra minutes each night and you won't be as hungry during the day.

  • HHAGet some exercise. You had to know this was coming. Working outespecially cardiois the best way to get rid of excess body fat. Combine this with healthy eating, and you're on the road to significant weight loss. Any time you use more calories than you eat, that fat starts to fade. So bust out Turbo Jam®, Hip Hop Abs, or any of our other fitness programs, and start Pushing Play!
The goal of Team Beachbody is to provide you with solutions to reach your health and fitness goals. Click here to learn more about Team Beachbody Coach Rich Dafter.

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