Waking up in the morning can be tough. You’re tucked comfortably under the covers only to realize the sound of your alarm means it’s time to get up and start your day.

But once you do, you head over to the mirror to start brushing your teeth.

Lo and behold, you still have that belly bulge from eating a little too much during the holidays.

You’re a little disappointed and you wonder what you can do to fight it. It won’t go away completely, because every single belly has a bit of fat on it. But there are a few ways you can minimize it.

Here are 8 tips that will be able to help you in the fight against belly bulge:

1. Find out how much body fat you have

There are precise ways to do this that your doctor will be able to do with technology, such as a CT scan or an MRI. But being in your own home, you can do this too. You do this by measuring your girth.

The only thing you will need to have is measuring tape.

Just stand up, make sure the measuring tape is level, then wrap it around your waist.

If you’re a man, your waist should be less than 40 inches. If you’re a woman, it should be less than 35 inches.

Abdominal fat is an indicator of visceral fat — which is problematic. Ensuring your waist fits within these inches will keep you on the right track to combating belly bulge.

If you need help in figuring this out, you are always more than welcome to contact your primary care physician.

2. Eat smaller portions

This doesn’t mean to go from eating a huge plate of food to eating only what fits on a salad plate.

Eating smaller portions means settling for slightly smaller meals.

Do you eat two pork chops, rice, salad and soup for dinner?

Maybe cut your intake down to one pork chop and a little less rice.

By deciding to eat smaller portions, you are consuming less food. By consuming less food, you are able to start the process of fighting the belly bulge.

3. Keep moving

When you are at work, move around. By continually moving around, your body is able to burn calories. You can do simple things, such as walking in place or even shifting your hips. Any additional movement will help you start to burn that belly bulge. If you are unable to move around at work, try using a standing workstation. Benefits of a standing workstation include potentially avoiding obesity, diabetes and cancer.

4. Cut back on stressful activities

Stress can cause us to lose sleep and over eat. There is a hormone in your body called cortisol. Cortisol tends to motivate people to be more motivated, but at the same time, have more of an appetite. When you have stress that continues over a long period of time, your cortisol levels may not decrease, which will lead to stress induced eating.

By cutting back on the stress in your life, you will be able to stay healthier and more focused to be in shape.

5. Snack on nuts

When you go to grab that bag of potato chips, think twice. There are healthier alternatives. Peanuts, cashews, pistachios and other nuts have proteins that are much healthier than the processed chemicals that are used on potato chips.

6. Try yoga

If you have a stressful life, then finding ways to de-stress are important. If you don’t, then yoga is still helpful. By practicing with yoga, you are able to keep your body active. Plus, the exercises done in your yoga practice will definitely have health benefits that can help you fight that belly bulge. Once you become an expert, you can even try hot yoga to burn even more calories.

7. Sleep

Sleep deprivation can actually cause your belly bulge to get bigger. That in itself is a major problem. What happens when you start to lack sleep is that your metabolism stops functioning in the way it should. This leads to unintended weight gain. To avoid that belly bulge, make sure you stay well rested for at least eight hours a night.

8. Get health tips from your physician

There are many more ways to stay healthy. Each person’s body functions completely differently. When you visit your physician, they can help set you in the course of the right direction to having an exercise routine. They can refer you to a nutritionist who can help you refine your diet.

The resources are there and they are available for your use, so make sure to utilize them so you can stay fresh, healthy and in shape.

 To see the wide range of services offered at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, click here.

By Leonard Kim