Whether you have been pregnant, find small amounts of weight creeping up on you as you get older, or sometimes overindulge in food or alcoholic beverages, you may have some excess weight around your midsection that you would like to get rid of. For many, having a flat stomach or “six-pack abs” is a dream that is seemingly just out of reach. Is there a way to get rid of your belly fat? Do you need to eat more or less of a certain food, or should you perform specific exercises to tone this area of your body?
Why Should I Lose Body Fat?
The visceral fat that sits around your midsection is more dangerous than the fat in your hips and thighs. It is also worse than the subcutaneous fat that nestles under your skin. Large amounts of excess belly fat can lead to inflammation, hardening of the arteries and a higher risk of developing serious health conditions including metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
How to Do it
The good news is that belly fat is the first type of body fat that you lose when you shed weight. However, there is no magic potion, pill, drink, food or exercise that is going to specifically target that area of your body. Regardless of your body type, whether you are an “apple” shape with body fat only around your middle or a “pear” shape with larger thighs and hips, most people lose the fat around their midsections first and more proportionately than anywhere else.
The type of fat that makes up larger bellies, visceral fat, is more active in terms of metabolism than the subcutaneous fat that is located under the skin around other areas of the body. Experts say that the more fat you have to lose, the faster you will lose it.
Eat More Grains
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that showed when whole-grains were added to a calorie-controlled diet, obese individuals tended to lose weight faster from the abdominal area than those who consumed refined grains. Consuming a similar diet, while reducing the amount of refined carbohydrates, changes the body’s response to glucose and insulin, making it easier to move the fat storage areas of the body. Whole-grains are also higher in fiber, which can leave people full for longer periods of time and decrease hunger levels.
Refined grains, on the other hand, elevate the body’s blood sugar levels and insulin response, causing the body to deposit fat more quickly.
What about Exercise?
It is a known fact for exercise enthusiasts but a source of frustration for those looking to trim certain body areas: you cannot spot reduce weight. While butterfly crunches do in fact target your lower abdominal muscles, you cannot perform hundreds of crunches with the hopes that you will see a flatter midsection. These exercises will not help you lose weight, although they may strengthen them and give a tighter and thinner appearance.
Along with a healthy, calorie-controlled diet, you must also get roughly 60 minutes of moderate exercise every day. The more intense your workouts, the more abdominal fat you may shed.
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- Weight Loss Tips- Do it Now (weightlossdietforum.com)
- Nutritional Tips to Reduce Weight in a Simple (dietcleanse.org)