Belly Fat 101
What is Belly Fat
Two Types of Fat
Subcutaneous Fat - is the soft and jiggly fat that can be pinched and visible under the skin. Most of our body consist of this soft fat and acts as insulation, it provides energy for daily activities and produces helpful molecules to help maintain weight.
Visceral Fat (Intra abdominal fat) - it's the hard fat that is deep in your abdominal cavity and surrounds your organs and is beneath your muscles. This is what makes your belly look distended, such as the "beer belly" look.
This deeper fat is far more dangerous than the soft fat because it produces a large number of molecules that may cause harmful effects such as:
high blood pressure
increased cholesterol levels
type 2 diabetes
More on Adipose Tissue
Belly Fat Culprits
1. In general, a Sedentary Lifestyle and Poor Nutritional Choices are the main causes of obesity. When you eat more, especially processed foods and sugars (empty calories),than you burn off, you will gain the weight including inches all over, especially around your belly. The American Journal of Medicine reports substantial increases in weight and waist circumference in both men and women as physical activity decreased over a 22-year span.
2. Age, Sex, Genetics
Age - as you get older, the natural process is losing muscle mass, especially for those who are inactive and don't do physical activities. And as you lose the muscle, you also slow down your metabolism. Therefore, you're unable to burn as many calories. In this state, it's harder to keep in check with your weight as well as keeping the fat off.
Sex - Women may notice an increase around their middle, even if they're at their healthy weight, because of menopause. Also, when there is a decrease in estrogen production, the belly fat accumulates.
Genetics - Sex hormones effect fat distribution in men and women. It is not only hereditary, but certain genes are also associated with belly fat and the effects on women are stronger than men.
3. Lack of Sleep also is one of the culprits in increasing belly fat.
Research shows that those who sleeps less than 5 hours gain more belly fat compared to those who gets 7-9 hours of sleep.
Causes of Sleep Deprivation
Increased production of the hormone cortisol can also lead to visceral (belly fat) gains. When stressed, one tends to reach for chocolates, cookies, candies, chips and other high fat, high carbohydrate foods to relieve their anxiety.
Refined carbohydrates, including sweets, have been linked to belly fat.
What Causes Belly Fat
Refined Carbohydrates - also known as simple carbohydrates, include sugars and refined grains, which have had much of their fibre and nutrients removed. Think 'white' items like white bread, white rice, white flour, pastries, sugary foods and many breakfast cereals. These carbs offer no nutritional value and can only contribute to your belly fat.
Eating refined carbohydrates cause sharp spikes in blood sugar and increased blood triglyceride levels which can lead to more belly fat. With a high amount of refined carbs in your diet, you increase your body's inflammation, insulin and leptin resistance can occur and chances of hypothyroidism and belly fat.
Why Do Women and Men Gain Fat Differently?
Though men tend to have less belly fat due to their testosterone, women tend to have less visceral fat than men. Women at an early age tend to gain fat subcutaneously in their thighs and buns to help in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
As women age to the menopause phase, hormonal changes occur such as decreased levels of estrogen and increased testosterone which results in fat accumulation around the belly .
In some instances, there are those women who produce more androgens early in life for example Polycystic Ovary System (PCOS) which can unfavorably affect insulin sensitivity and contribute to visceral fat.Women with increased estrogen levels are more susceptible to overeating which causes weight and fat gain.
It's a good idea to incorporate strength training into your exercise routine when you're trying to shed belly fat.
How to Shed Belly Fat
1. Move that body!
Visceral (soft) fat is metabolically active, therefore it's easier to lose it with proper diet and exercise. You can slay that fat by incorporating moderate to high-intensity exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day. Vary your physical activities and incorporate strength training within your exercise routine. Research shows that weight bearing exercises produce a longer lasting caloric burn and contribute to waist circumference transformation in men.
2. Tweak your diet
First off, track down how many calories you're eating in a day. Minimize or eliminate refined carbs, sugar, saturated and trans fat from your meals. Increase your protein, green veggies, whole grains and "healthy" fats such as olive oil, avocado and nuts.
Moderation is key even though you're eating clean. You can still eat too much of one thing and calories increase. 1 pound of stored fat contain 3,500 calories. By creating a caloric deficit through exercise routine or decrease in caloric intake (I don't recommend doing doing both), you can lose weight and unwanted belly fat.
While you're making adjustments to your daily nutritional choices to lose unwanted fat weight, keep in mind that it's also about your healthy food choices, what you're willing to adhere to that is sustainable and not to deprive your taste buds in order to sustain it for once and for all.
3. Get Enough Sleep and Learn to Relax
Study shows that anything less than 7-9 hours of sleep may be causing fat and weight increases. Turn off your TV or any devices that are keeping you up. Go to bed a little bit earlier than usual.
Tips on How to De-Stress
Change your environment
Practice breathing exercises
Do relaxation exercises
Go walking or running
Express your feelings
Log your thoughts in a journal
Discover your senses - Sight, smell, sound, and taste
4. Reach out for Help
I'm not going to lie. Making lifestyle changes are not easy. First, you have to be ready, willing and able to commit to what your desired goals are.
Seek guidance and make an appointment with a professional, (that would be me). I've helped hundreds of men and women lose belly fat and weight and achieve a healthier, fitter and happier lifestyle.
I’m here to tell you that it is not too late to achieve the body that you’ve always dreamed of. No matter what your age, I have the proven method to help you melt belly fat, tone your muscles and achieve optimized health.
Don’t live another day in a body that you aren’t comfortable and confident in.
DECIDE👉COMMIT👉TAKE ACTION AND LET'S GO!