UGH! The dreaded 30th birthday present – belly fat. My husband is over 40 and I am over 50. We have been battling belly bulge since our 30th birthdays. At first, we tried the Atkins Diet, but quickly gained the weight back once we increased our intake of carbs again.
We thought that drinking too much beer caused the unattractive beer gut, but actually that is not necessarily true. In fact, excess belly fat can result from hereditary factors and it can put you at risk for life-threatening diseases. Here is what we learned and what we did to successfully battle belly fat.
If you are a man, you are more likely than a woman to carry a spare tire whether it’s because of heredity, hormonal changes, or aging-related weight gain. For most men, a waist size of over 40 inches can increase your risk for life-threatening diseases. For most women, a waist size of over 33-35 inches will increase your health risks.
Measure Your Middle to Save Your Life
Run a tape measure around your bare abdomen right about the level of your belly button.
Breathe normally; do not suck your belly in.
Pull the tape measure snug, but do not pull it so tight that it pushes your skin.
Relax and measure your waist after your breathe out.
It is not the love handles you can grab that are the biggest problem; visceral fat, surrounding the abdominal organs deep inside can be a killer belly fat. Belly fat is more harmful to your health than fat in other body locations.
Researchers have found that belly fat cells are not dormant, but rather active cells. They do not sit in your belly waiting to be burned up. Instead, belly fat cells are busy producing hormones and substances that can negatively affect your health.
Too much belly fat can increase your risk of:
Some types of cancer like colorectal cancer and breast cancer
High blood pressure
Metabolic syndrome (aka: insulin resistance syndrome)
How to Reduce Belly Fat
Get a Physical Exam
There are things like an undetected thyroid condition that can prevent you from losing weight even after taking proper steps to improve your health. Strong emotions and stress can trigger cravings for foods that will turn to belly fat.
Sleeping disorders can also affect the body’s ability to digest food and burn belly fat. Restrictive diets and liquid diets may not provide the necessary levels of calories you need to function normally and to reduce belly fat. Studies have shown that people eating too few calories do not lose weight. Consult with your doctor to determine what the best level of caloric intake is for your specific health needs.
Exercise to Reduce Belly Fat
Walk 30 minutes a day for starters. Any cardiovascular aerobic exercise like bicycling, swimming, or yard work will burn belly fat. 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3 times a week will help increase your metabolism and help keep your belly fat in check. Sit-ups will tone your belly muscles but may not get rid of the belly fat. Tone deeper muscles using pelvic tilts and pelvic lifts. Consult your doctor about the best exercise program for your health conditions if your waist size exceeds the healthy measurement. Talk to your doctor about specific strength training with weights that may be useful for your belly fat loss.
Change Your Eating Habits to Reduce Belly Fat
Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats
Avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates
Avoid eating excess sugar, sodium, and processed foods
Eat five or six small meals every two or three hours
Eat foods with lower calories, like reduced fat or no fat foods
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Eat fish at least twice a week
Eat nuts, seeds, and foods made with olive oil
Eat whole grain, fiber-rich foods and leafy vegetables to provide energy to exercise
Limit alcoholic beverages to two drinks a day
Drink PLENTY of water every day
For information about the latest research on an injection that may help reduce belly fat, read the Associate Content article by Dr. Kristie Leong titled, Could a Shot Help You Lose Your Excess Tummy Fat? (click here to read the article)
Do yourself a favor for your 31st birthday and your 40th birthday: LOSE THE BELLY FAT
MayoClinic.com: Belly fat in Women: How to Keep it Off
MayoClinic.com: Belly fat in Men: How to Keep it Off
From CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Excess Belly Fat is not Your Friend
From Trainer Nikki Kimbrough, Losing That Stubborn Tummy Fat