High levels of the stress hormone Cortisol have been shown to contribute to higher levels of body fat especially deep belly fat. Chronic stress, lack of sleep, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are a few stressors that can lift cortisol levels and keep the body in fight or flight mode, which triggers the body to hold on to fat in self preservation. The good news is that you can get rid of deep belly fat by following three simple steps. 1. Proper food combining. Be sure to include a protein, fat, and carb in each meal with an adequate amount of fiber rich foods. When your meals are balanced, your hormones are balanced and your body will absorb the foods nutrients better increasing satiety and decrease the odds of overeating. 2. Control your portions. When you need to learn how much is enough, invest in a digital food scale and weigh your proteins, fats and complex carbs when prepping your meals at home to learn what a healthy portion size is for you. In our super sized society what is common does not mean it’s normal. After just a few months of measuring with your scale you will be able to eyeball a portion when eating out and determine if it’s enough to starve, satisfy or stuff your hunger. When you’re really trying to lose those last 5-10 lbs. or drop five percent body fat, portion control is a must! 3. Eat frequently and consistently. To lose access body fat and build muscle being consistent with your meal timing to help maintain proper blood sugar balance. I support the current recommendation of eating five meals per day rather than two to three large meals. This can be made up of three main meals and two snacks or five to six calorically equal meals to fuel your activity level. In all cases be sure to have breakfast within thirty minutes of waking and time your last meal to be at least two hours before bed to support energy levels and quality sleep. When you consistently eat nutritionally balance, properly portioned meals you will have more energy to fuel your workouts and decrease the mindless indulgences that caused the access belly fat to accumulate in the first place.