As a fitness manager, people frequently ask me how they can lose “this” as they aggressively squeeze their belly. In response with a smile, I ask them if they have a minute to talk about it. As common as this question is, it’s very hard to give an answer that satisfies. It’s a concern most of us have because we associate a trim belly with health. There’s no single magic pill, exercise, food, or ritual that will help bring back the desired abdominal aesthetic. Fortunately, there are several simple steps that can be taken to reach a healthier body composition. Here are three ways older adults can fight belly fat as they stay safe at home:
1. Substitute Whole Grains for Sweet Treats
Up until recently, I was never much for sweets. Brownies, cookies, and chocolate really had no appeal to me. Unfortunately, spending more time at home has made their siren song grow louder. Here are some healthy substitutes. Whole grains like quinoa, barley, and oats are naturally very filling. Filled with complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, they are a little more challenging for our bodies to digest quickly. This is a good thing! Sugary treats are okay once in a while, but we should turn our attention to more complete alternatives when our bellies and brains are in the mood for a quick fix. This can be really challenging at first, but it does get easier for most people after a week or two. In the long run, your belly will thank you!
2. Substitute Water, Seltzer, or Diet Soda for Alcoholic Beverages
I might get some dirty looks for this one, but I’m okay with it! Alcoholic beverages are a delight for most of us, but drinking too much alcohol is a sure-fire way to gain some poundage. Fortunately, there are some tasty, although buzz-less, alternatives. Cold water can be surprisingly satisfying, and adding some bubbly, lightly flavored seltzer to the mix might just do the trick. Diet soda is not without its controversy, and I see it as a personal choice very much like alcohol consumption. From a purely belly fat fighting perspective, I think most people would be better off having a drink of diet soda compared to an alcoholic beverage. Whatever it may be, the takeaway is to consider substituting some of your alcohol intake with a lighter alternative.
3. Set a Fitness Goal
If you’re not interested in moving up in pant size, you may want to set a fitness goal that you can achieve while staying home. I’m keeping this vague because sometimes doing anything is better than doing nothing at all. The previous two ways to fight belly fat were focused on controlling the caloric energy you consume. This part is about controlling the caloric energy you put out. A great goal to work up to is getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity on most days of the week. Combine this with two or three strength training sessions per week, and you’re well on your way toward a trimmer waistline! If you’re ready for that goal, great! If not, work on creating a goal that’s right for your personality, experience level, and abilities. The important thing is that you set some kind of fitness goal that you can achieve. Remember, you’ll probably feel better reaching an easy goal than failing to reach a hard one.
I’ve said it before, staying home is challenging. In many ways, it is harder than ever to fight fat and weight gain at home. In a time of apparent helplessness, we can enjoy control over aspects of our health. If you’re like me and sweets are calling your name, consider replying with a hearty meal that includes whole grains and vegetables. If alcohol has been flowing with ease, think about replacing a drink or two with a lower calorie choice. If 2020 so far has left you feeling powerless, take the power back by achieving a simple fitness goal! These suggestions are meant to be encouraging, not restrictive.