The holidays are a time filled with consumption of tasty treats that often means an expanding waistline heading into the new year.
If you're wondering why you tend to gain weight during the holidays, here are some sobering statistics from Statistics Canada and the Toronto Star:
4.5 million -- the number of turkeys consumed during Christmas in 2009
$465.3 million -- the amount spent on candy, confectionery and snack foods in December 2011
5.7 million liters -- the amount of eggnog purchased in December 2011
$41.3 million -- the total sales of exercise and fitness equipment in January 2012
Before you start to think you'll have to miss out on all the fun, fear not -- belly fat no longer has to be a side effect of the holiday season.
Causes of Belly Fat
Belly fat can result from a number of factors. First and foremost, is diet. Eating foods high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates can all accumulate on your waistline, especially when you're not exercising at all, or enough. Speaking of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle that doesn't include much exercise or involves hours of sitting daily contributes to weight gain.
The next culprit is stress. When we're stressed out, the body produces cortisol, a hormone that causes fat to accumulate around the abdomen. Cortisol can have other negative side effects, like weakening the immune system. Speaking of hormones, another possible reason for weight gain is poor thyroid function. Your thyroid gland, which is shaped like a butterfly and located in the front of your neck, regulates your metabolism and when it isn't functioning optimally (hypothyroidism), your metabolism can slow down dramatically, making it difficult to lose weight.
Supplements to Consider
If you're ready to tackle your body fat, but don't want to turn to a stimulant that can make you feel jittery, there are plenty of natural options that have had some amazing results in trials. These five fat blasters can help you get the abdomen you've been after:
1. CLA -- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is an essential fatty acid typically found in dairy, poultry, beef and eggs. It can also be found in safflower oil, which is what most supplements are produced from. CLA supports the development of lean muscle mass and encourages the release of stored fat to be burned as energy. You'll see a more lean, toned physique.
2. Fucoxanthin -- Seaweed has many nutritional properties and you probably didn't think weight loss was one of them. Found within brown seaweed, fucoxanthin is an antioxidant and metabolite. It raises the metabolism to help the body burn more fat. When combined with pomegranate seed oil, it becomes the powerful weight loss compound Xanthigen, which can be found in supplement form.
3. White Kidney Bean Extract -- If carbohydrates are your main enemy (all those crescent rolls), this supplement is for you. White kidney bean extract not only boosts the metabolism -- it also blocks the enzyme alpha-amylase, which breaks down the starches in foods you eat, converting them to sugar and storing them as fat throughout the body.
4. Acacia Fiber -- Fiber is an essential component of the daily diet for heart health. It also helps you feel fuller, longer and eat less during meals. Acacia fiber is produced from a small tree and expands within the gut into a thick, gel-like substance that helps suppress your appetite by filling you up. Taken before meals, it can help you eat less while also promoting digestive regularity.
5. Saffron Extract -- The holidays can be a stressful time and as previously mentioned, stress can mean overeating and weight gain. Satiereal saffron extract is known to boost serotonin production, which prevents the feelings of anxiety that can lead to extra pounds. Serotonin is considered the "happy hormone" and helps keep your mood steady and cortisol low.
What's important to keep in mind with natural supplements that are free of stimulants is that they take time to build up within the body and get things moving. Be prepared to commit to four to 12 weeks of taking the supplement as instructed daily before you really begin to see results. They also work best with a balanced diet and regular exercise. Try the 80/20 rule this holiday season -- make healthy choices 80 percent of the time and enjoy the foods you love 20 percent of the time. Just be mindful of portions.
As always, before adding any supplements to your routine, consult your health professional, especially if you're currently being treated for a medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding. They can help you determine the appropriate dosage and length of treatment.
Get these supplements and more at eVitamins Canada! Shop today and let us know how they work for you!
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