Abs are made in the kitchen. You've heard it before, and it is still so true! You cannot rely solely on exercise if you want defined abdominal muscles. You need to combine effective fat-burning exercise with eating nutritious whole foods. My FIT meal plans feature a range of delicious recipes designed to fuel your workouts and help you achieve your goals. But we don't always 'follow the plan' all of the time, and certain foods could be sabotaging your ab progress, as well as making you feel sluggish. Check out the 4 foods you should really avoid if you want to keep sculpting those abs.
1. Processed sugar
Sugars that are processed or refined are one of the worst things you can eat in your diet as they cause your insulin levels to spike and then crash and burn which the body then stores as fat. If you keep eating these sugars, the body will keep increasing its fat storages as it thinks it will need it for energy later as the insulin levels are out of whack. You will easily gain weight and can be more prone to health problems like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
2. Carbonated beverages
AKA soft drinks or sodas, these gassy drinks can cause major bloating, and also come with a load of sugar. A high intake of these empty calories (which provide no nutritional value at all) could see your abs start to disappear as you put on fat around your middle, along with heightening your risk of heart attack, diabetes and other health problems. Opting for the 'diet' or 'light' drinks instead? Artificially sweetened drinks still don't cut it! They negatively affect your metabolism and trick your body as it doesn’t know what to do with the unknown compound and prevents fat burning.
3. High GI & refined grains
Avoid eating high GI potato products and refined grains like white breads and white rice as these will cause bloating to your tummy and spike your insulin levels which promotes fat storage. Instead eat whole grains like quinoa, oats, brown rice and seeds like chia, linseed and sunflower kernels. And instead of potato, use sweet potato to make your own oven-baked chips... they are delicious!
If we have too much salt, our body holds onto fluid causing water retention and a bloated looking belly. Cut out processed or packaged foods as they usually contain a heap of salt added to make it taste nicer, along with other additives! If you need to, try buying salt-reduced items, or simply prepare your own meals so you know exactly what's in them.
Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.
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