While I’m all about body positivity and loving yourself, I’m also all about living your best life and living to the fullest. And one thing that is indicative of major health issues later on in life, is excessive stomach fat. I’m sure you’ve heard that before though and you’ve probably also tried to eat healthy and exercise and get rid of it. But it can be tough, especially when there is so much information out there. Science shows that overall there is one really good way to eliminate stomach fat. How?  By avoiding trans fats.

Just typing in “trans fat” in a search engine yields hundreds of resources all describing it as “bad”- and it couldn’t be more true. Trans fats are what you read on nutrition labels for all frozen dishes like pizza, pies or fried meats. It’s also what you find, in high doses, for cookies, crackers and many other snacks that we all have been made to feel like we can’t live without. Truth is, there are just as many alternatives to these snacks and meals at the same cost money-wise and even lesser cost on your overall health and longevity.

One of the primary sources of trans fats are “hydrogenated oils” Which makes sense if you think about all the hype around not eating “hydrogenated oils”. For example, cooking with margarine instead of butter (read the label differences) would be a burden to your heart and body as a whole. Butter is natural and made of cream and salt-that’s it. Next to olive oil, butter is fantastic and keeps flavor in any dish. It’s just one of many options to replace the non-beneficial items in your fridge or cupboard.

“Hydrogenated” describes a chemical process that foods are put through to preserve or maintain a certain taste. So there’s no wonder that it’s a food to avoid. Fast food, of course, is public enemy #1 when it comes to trans fats, so keep that in mind when you’re thinking of eating out.

The most effective way to avoid fast food, is to pack plenty of snacks and meals ahead of time or grab something else instead. Making better choices when you’re on the go or just need an afternoon bump will really take you farther and you won’t be as lethargic or even as cranky had you went with a dollar menu burger instead of a bag of trail mix and a piece of fruit or homemade something. It is also far better on your pocketbook to avoid the drive through and just grab something you’ve already bought that’s been sitting at home.

I could talk about this subject for pages and pages but the most important way to arm yourself against the literal fight for your life is checking labels, seeing for yourself a better backup for foods that contain the main source for visceral, stubborn back and belly fat.

Plan ahead, even though you may not want to. Forget full meal prep, I’m talking just about packing snacks, thinking about your choices ahead of time and making an effort to make good decisions.Track your progress towards a healthier life and give yourself the grace to be naughty every now and again. Ultimately living a healthy life is about loving yourself above all, but also wanting the best for yourself. and have fun searching for your newest snack or meal craze!