Slim Down Your Belly

08/22/2011 08:19 am ET | Updated Oct 19, 2011

Do you have a problem area? That place that your eyes go to every time you look in the mirror., followed by the cringe that takes place once you glance at it. Many of us experience this love-hate relationship with that spot. When I posed the question "What is your problem area?" on my Facebook page it was unanimous: the answer was the belly.

Now there are some bellies that we embrace. We love how Santa looks with his jolly belly, however a belly like that on us is another story. There are people who cherish their bellies so much, that they decorate and embellish them by adding jewelry or tattoos. Interestingly, at the Nike US Open in Huntington Beach last weekend, I saw hundreds of bare bellies adorned with rings and things; however the bellies were certainly not the area I would have drawn attention to. Have we succumb to accepting a full rounded mid-section? Don't people care if they can't see their belly button, let alone their belt? How does one lift up the overhang to unbutton the pants? Here is what we all should be paying attention to.

Belly fat is not as simple as you might think. Most people just see belly fat as an unsightly part of their bodies. The problem with that is only a small amount of people actually know the risks of belly fat. Belly fat has many causes and in turn, causes many dangers.

An expanding waistline is sometimes considered the price of getting older. For women, this might be especially true after menopause, when body fat tends to shift from the arms, legs and hips to the belly. Yet an increase in belly fat for women and men, can do more than make it hard to zip up your jeans. The medical communities have indicated that belly fat also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, certain cancers -- even premature death. The good news? The threats posed by belly fat can be cut down to size.

Many fear of what has to be done to lose the fat. Maybe it is because when you think of burning fat you probably think of busting your guts out in the gym. While working out is very important, it is not "the" only solution to burning belly fat. Losing abdominal fat is tough because it is very stubborn - meaning it is very hard to break it down and burn it off. And it didn't arrive overnight as some like to think.

While exercise and eating healthy is key in losing belly fat, there is a lot more to it than just going for a run and having a salad. Here are 3 great ways to burn belly fat without exercising or going on a diet. Don't take them lightly your life could be at stake.

Avoid Trans-Fats

Trans-fats are the worst kinds of fat you can get, and the shocking thing is that most grocery stores are full of it, especially in the middle of the stores. Trans fats are formed when vegetable oils are converted into a solid, which alters its chemical makeup. The fat solids are used to help preserve food and extend the shelf life. Trans-fat is one of the main culprits of belly fat and since these fats can't be digested, your body tends to "dump" and "clump" it in your belly. All food labels are now required to list the trans-fat content, thank goodness. Avoid these products at all costs! Shop the perimeter.

Get More Sleep

As hard as it is to believe, getting enough sleep can help you burn belly fat. The reason for this is that a lack of sleep lowers the level of leptin in your body. Leptin naturally suppresses appetite and tells the brain when the stomach is full. If you don't get enough sleep you tend to overeat and usually you snack on "empty foods" that consists of bad carbs and saturated fat and mostly likely those trans fats. More sleep will help you burn belly fat by helping your hormones to normalize. Set a regular bedtime; turn off lights and electronics and lower temperature. Having a routine can help you settle into uninterrupted slumber.

Manage Your Stress

Stress triggers your "fight or flight" response which is a natural response that helps you "survive". Under stress your body releases a cocktail of adrenaline, cortisol and insulin to help you cope. High cortisol levels increases your appetite and increases fat storage in your body. This kind of fat has also been directly linked to the kind of fat that deposits in your abdominal region. Take some deep breaths. Get a massage. Meditate. Any way you can reduce your stress levels can in turn drop the inches around your waist.

Although these are more unconventional methods to burn belly fat, they are extremely effective. Don't take it lightly and make an effort to apply it in your life and you will see results. If you think you are still "young" and think that cancer and heart disease won't affect you yet, then think again because a bulging waistline at age 30 is just as dangerous as having it at age 50 and beyond.

The bottom line, get yourself down to your ideal weight, you will find that the belly fat you worry so much about shrinks along with the other parts of your body that you are working on as well. Adding in a total body workout will help you get your body back on track. The Club is featuring an Ab Workout this month. Get started right in the comfort of your home. Along with these tips I hope you find yourself motivated to lose the belly fat once and for all.

Till Next Time - Kathy