Losing belly fat is important, not only for appearance and vanity but also for your health. Belly fat occurs when excessive abdominal fat around the stomach and abdomen has built up to the extent that it is likely to have a negative impact on health.
For many, the belly fat is just the tip of the iceberg, it’s the deeper fat stores that form in and around your internal organs than can cause some serious health problems if it isn’t reduced.
Causes of Belly Fat
Women are more likely to gain excess belly fat, especially deep inside the belly as they go through perimenopause and into menopause when their menstrual cycle ends. That’s because as oestrogen levels drop, body fat is redistributed from the hips, thighs, and buttocks to the abdomen.
For men, the natural reduction in testosterone as they age means excess calories are often stored as visceral fat and thus the accumulation of belly fat occurs.
Stress and the cortisol connection contribute to belly fat as well. Research findings support the hypothesis that cortisol secretion might represent a connection between stress and abdominal fat distribution.
Interventions & Diets that Reduce Belly Fat
The number one rule in reducing belly fat: DO NOT start by decreasing your fat intake. Not all fats are bad fats. In fact, eating certain fats can help you reduce belly fat.
Good fats that you need to add to your eating regime include avocados, olives and other sources of Omega-3. A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that eating three 5-ounce servings of salmon per week for four weeks as part of a low-calorie diet resulted in approximately 2.2 pounds more weight loss than following a diet that didn’t include fish.
- Studies have shown that drinking diet drinks greatly contributes to belly fat. By drinking sugar-sweetened beverages excess sugar, mostly due to the large amounts of fructose present, can lead to increased accumulation of fat in the belly.
- Apple cider vinegar is a great way to kick-start your metabolism and get belly fat moving. “One theory is that the acetic acid in the vinegar produces proteins that burn up fat,” explains Pamela Peeke, professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Fight Fat After 40.
- With stress and the cortisol connection, your body starts to produce more insulin as you age, since your muscle and fat cells aren’t responding to it properly. With the increase in insulin comes fat storage, especially around your belly. A diet high in protein may protect you against insulin resistance, thus decreasing belly fat.
Skip the crunches. Abdominal crunches and sit-ups should build strong muscles, but you might not see them under belly fat. In fact, crunches might actually make your stomach look bigger as you build up thicker abdominal muscles. Instead, if you strengthen your back muscles, your posture will improve and pull in your belly.
1. Side stretches
Stand up straight, with your feet hip-width apart. Put your right hand on your right hip, and lift your left arm straight up, with the palm facing right. Keeping your legs centered, lean to the right and “reach” over with your left arm, stretching your left side. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
Stand with your feet about 8 inches (20 cm) apart. Extend your arms in front of you and do four sets of 15-20 squats.
Get in the push-up position, but rest on your elbows and forearms. Pull your stomach muscles in tight, keeping your back, neck, and bottom in a straight line. Hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as possible. Rest and repeat 3-5 times.
So there you have it. Try some of the food and exercise to loose some of your belly fat so that you can feel sexy again. Remember, its more about your diet and eating right. Don’t forget to mesure your waist to see your progression monthly. Happy healthy life.