Feeling positive about your body and not letting someone fat-shame you is the way to go. Although, if you are really serious about losing belly fat because you just want to be healthier and fitter, then you are in the right place. I won’t lie, it takes time and dedication but once you achieve the results, it will all be worth it.
When it comes to shedding weight there are all the different ways to go about doing it. However, when it comes to losing belly fat in particular, that can be a little trickier. Belly fat is more than just a nuisance. It can actually heighten health risks says Kerry Stewart, Ed.D., director of Clinical and Research Physiology at John Hopkins.
Belly fat or also known as visceral fat has been known to cause type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancers like colon cancer or breast cancer.
Even though visceral fat has a purpose in a person’s body; it provides cushioning around a person’s organs but too much of it can be harmful. The fat doesn’t just stay in one place. It plays an active role in a person’s body, making “lots of nasty substances,” says Kristen Hairston, MD, assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
Lose That Belly Fat in Four Steps
Here are four of the essential ways a person can lose belly fat and lead a healthy and fit life:
1. Strength Training and Cardio
Aerobic exercise (cardio) is an effective way to burn calories and improve your health. It cuts down all of a person’s fat, including visceral fat. This type of exercise includes running/ jogging, high knees, skipping rope, jumping jacks and running on spot. Getting at least half an hour of extensive exercise at least 5 days a week can help improve a person’s health by a wide margin.
It’s also notable to mention that vigorous workouts on elliptical or rowing machines and stationary bikes are also effective, says Duke researcher Cris Slentz, PhD. Moderate activity. He points out that raising one’s heart rate through the aforementioned workouts for 30 minutes at least three times per week also helps.
Another type of exercise one should be looking at is strength training also known as resistance training. The more lean muscle mass you develop, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day and it tones your body so you’re not left with loose skin. A study involving overweight teenagers suggested that a mix of strength training and aerobic exercise led to the greatest decrease in visceral fat.
2. Nutrition is 70% of the Job
What a person consumes and how much of it they consume plays a major role in losing weight.
For example eating soluble fiber can help decrease the rate at which food is passed through a person’s digestive system.
It also decreases the amount of calories that one’s body can absorb from food. So making an effort to eat foods high in fiber can help reduce belly fat. Some hints of soluble fiber are found in foods like avocados, flax seeds, blackberries, legumes and Brussels sprouts.
Another way of shedding belly fat is by avoiding foods that have trans-fat. Trans fats are made by depositing hydrogen into unsaturated fats, and are found mostly in fast-food and processed dairy items. They’re notorious for causing heart diseases, inflammation, and insulin resistance.
Moreover, research found that consuming alcohol in large amounts leads to increase in belly fat. An experiment about alcohol use involving more than 1,000 people showed that people who consumed alcohol less frequently but drank more alcohol on the days they consumed had more belly fat than those who drank alcohol everyday but averaged less than one drink per day. So if a person is looking to reduce their waistline it might be a good idea to cut back on alcohol or abstaining from it completely.
Another thing that people might want to be mindful about is the intake of sugar. Excessive sugar intake is a major cause of weight gain in several people. By limiting one’s intake of candy, sugar and processed foods high in added sugar a person is helping their body lose belly fat.
Lastly, protein is an important nutrient if a person is looking to manage their weight. Taking protein in high doses increases the rate at which the fullness hormone PYY is released. This cuts down appetite and engages in fullness.
Protein also increases a person’s metabolism and helps sustain muscle mass during a person’s weight loss journey. Studies indicate that people who consume more protein tend to have very little abdominal fat as compared to those who maintain a lower protein diet. So it is important to ensure that a person is adding the following proteins in their diet: meat, fish, dairy, eggs, beans and whey proteins.
3. Stop Stressing
Stress in general is not a good thing. Nobody wants stress in their lives but it’s an inevitable phenomenon bound to happen to anyone. And when it comes to body weight, it can lead to both weight loss and weight gain. What we’re worried about though in this particular situation is about weight gain.
Stress can trigger the adrenal glands to make cortisol, known as the stress hormone. Research suggests that high cortisol levels lead to an increased appetite and elevated abdominal fat storage.
Another research suggested that in response to stress, women who already have a large waist tend to produce more cortisol. Increased levels of cortisol accumulate fat around the middle. So in order to help cut down belly fat, engaging in activities such as meditation and yoga that alleviate stress is pertinent.
4. Sleep Well
A restful, peaceful sleep is important for many aspects of one’s health, including but not limited to weight loss. Studies suggest that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, this may also include belly fat.
An extensive study involving more than 65000 women found that those who slept less than 5 hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept 7 hours or more per night.
It is also important to note if a person has sleep apnea or not. If they do then they will find themselves with an irregular sleep pattern. This can lead to gains around one’s waist. In such a situation case going to a general physician may be required and recommended if the person wants to reduce belly fat.
There are four keys to controlling belly fat and leading a healthy balanced life: exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management.
- A mixture of strength training and aerobic exercise.
- Looking after what you do and don’t eat. Ensure a high intake of protein-rich foods, such as fish, lean meat, and beans, is mandatory.
- Stress plays a monumental role in building those pounds. Mitigating stress should be a top priority.
- Sleep deprivation is increasingly linked to a heightened risk of weight gain. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep is crucial to the weight-loss journey.
Article by Wassay Syed