So you have Belly Fat!! In this article we discuss Belly Fat, what are the risks and how to shrink it in Men and Women
An expanding waistline is sometimes considered the price of getting older. For women, this can be especially true after menopause, when body fat tends to shift to the abdomen.
An increase in belly fat does more than make it hard for you to zip up your jeans. Research shows that belly fat also carries serious health risks.
What’s behind belly fat in Women?
Your weight is largely determined by how you balance the calories you eat with the energy you burn. If you eat too much and exercise too little, you’re likely to carry excess weight — including belly fat. However, aging also plays a role. Muscle mass might diminish slightly with age, while fat increases. Loss of muscle mass also decreases the rate at which your body uses calories, which can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.
Many women also notice an increase in belly fat as they get older — even if they aren’t gaining weight. This is likely due to a decreasing level of estrogen, which appears to influence where fat is distributed in the body.
The tendency to gain or carry weight around the waist — and have an “apple” rather than a “pear” shape — might have a genetic component as well.
Why belly fat is more than skin deep?
Belly fat is not limited to the extra layer of padding located just below the skin (subcutaneous fat). It also includes visceral fat — which lies deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs.
Although subcutaneous fat poses cosmetic concerns, visceral fat is linked with far more dangerous health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal cholesterol
- Breathing problems
Research also has associated belly fat with an increased risk of premature death — regardless of overall weight. In fact, some studies have found that even when women were considered a normal weight based on standard body mass index (BMI) measurements, a large waistline increased the risk of dying of cardiovascular disease.
Measuring your middle
So how do you know if you have too much belly fat? Measure your waist:
- Stand and place a tape measure around your bare stomach, just above your hipbone.
- Pull the tape measure until it fits snugly around you, but doesn’t push into your skin. Make sure the tape measure is level all the way around.
- Relax, exhale and measure your waist, resisting the urge to suck in your stomach.
For women, a waist measurement of more than 35 inches (89 centimeters) indicates an unhealthy concentration of belly fat and a greater risk of health problems.
Belly Fat is not gender absolute; Unlike women, there is no “event” which defines male menopause it’s more like a subtle but steady and very real series of changes.
How Men Lay Fat
Men’s fat tends to gather around the middle (belly fat). Men gain this fat mainly due to lifestyle choices they’ve made:
- Enough exercise has been avoided
- Too much alcohol and simple carbohydrates have been consumed
Most Men are proud that their expanded bellies are still firm – If you poke it and it’s solid that is good!! Wrong, very, very viscerally wrong!
A soft, jiggly jelly belly is much less dangerous because that means the fat is just under the skin. That type of fat is called subcutaneous fat and whilst its not good, its better than Deep Visceral Fat as it is not so life threatening to health as the fat that is under skin and muscle that is Deep Visceral Fat which is a very real threat.
Research is clearly defining how much of a threat. This deeper—visceral—fat is surrounding the pancreas, colon, liver and kidneys with a direct relationship to increased likelihood of cancer to those organs. It also increases the onset of Type 2 diabetes (that’s the type we used to call Adult Onset Diabetes but too many overweight children are now faced with it worldwide—hence the name change). Visceral fat also indicates that heart disease is more probable.
Even if your belly’s like jelly, if it’s over 40 inches circumference at the navel, you have too much visceral fat.
So Guys and Girls lets talk about trimming the fat
You can tone abdominal muscles with crunches or other targeted abdominal exercises, but just doing these exercises won’t get rid of belly fat. However, visceral fat responds to the same diet and exercise strategies that help you shed excess pounds and lower your total body fat. To battle belly fat:
- Eat a healthy diet. Emphasize plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and choose lean sources of protein and low-fat dairy products
- Get More Fibre, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and beans are all good for keeping away the fat that stays deep in your belly
- Be Choosy About Fat, you can still have some but limit the “saturated” kind that’s in animal foods, coconut and palm oils, and full-fat dairy in.
- Look for fats that are better for you, too, like those from plant foods or fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel that are rich in omega-3s
- Choose moderate amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — found in fish, nuts and certain vegetable oils
- Limit added sugar and saturated fat, which is found in meat and high-fat dairy products, such as cheese and butter
- Replace sugary beverages with water or beverages with artificial sweetener instead
- Keep portion sizes in check.
- In restaurants, share meals — or eat half your meal and take the rest home.
For most healthy adults, it is recommended to take moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, for at least 75 minutes a week, basically you need to walk or run the equivalent of 20 miles a week and you need to build new calorie-burning lean muscle tissue to keep the fat off.
If you use a step counter, remember that it takes an average of 10,000 steps per day to prevent weight gain. Some studies indicate it might take 15,000 steps per day to prevent the regain of weight after significant weight loss.
In addition, strength training exercises are recommended at least twice a week. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you might need to exercise more.
To lose excess fat and keep it from coming back, aim for slow and steady weight loss — up to 2 pounds (1 kilogram) a week.
- Progressive weight resistance strength training can counteract loss of precious lean muscle tissue because muscle burns far more calories than fat, the immediate result, by definition, is more energy.
- Weight-bearing exercise slows or eliminates bone loss which shows as more upright posture.
- Cardiovascular exercise keeps arteries clearer, and blood flows more efficiently to all tissues and organs that call for it.
Always consult your doctor before starting a diet or exercise regime.
If you would like a copy of the DASH diet and Fat Burning Exercise plan please email firstname.lastname@example.org