Everyone has belly fat, even if you are a lean, mean, exercise machine, and it is healthy to a certain extent to have some body fat as it protects your body from the cold and your organs from damage. However, an excessive amount of belly fat can cause serious problems to your health – even more so than other types of fat around your body.
Types of belly fat:
1. There are two kinds of fat in the body. The first is surface fat, which is fat that lies beneath your skin and the type that most people see – you don’t have to be overweight to have this sort of body fat – even thin people have a layer of fat beneath their skin in order to stay warm.
2. The second type of fat is ‘deep’ fat, or visceral fat, which covers your vital organs, such as your heart, lungs, liver and other organs and protects them from damage. While the first type of fat may be unsightly and ugly, it is the second type of fat that is the dangerous type and can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and dementia. Once again, you don’t necessarily need to be overweight to have excess amounts of visceral fat – thin people can suffer from this too, which is where the silent danger lies.
How to reduce belly fat?
While the most precise way to check the amount of visceral fat in your body is by having a CT scan or MRI, a quick and simple way to testing yourself is to measure your waistline with a tape measure. Wrap the tape measure around your waist, across your belly button and make it is level. An ideal healthy measurement would be less than 40 inches for men and less than 35 inches for women. Anything over that and you think about trying to reduce your belly fat. Here are some ways you can reduce your belly fat:
1. Exercise- A healthy amount of exercise combined with a proper diet is the answer to everything! Exercising will trim down any excess fat you have in your body, both surface fat, and visceral fat, leaving you looking slimmer and being far healthier. For exercise to be effective, you need at least 30 minutes of moderate (breaking sweat) exercise five times a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three to four times a week. The best forms of exercise for losing fat are cardiovascular exercise routines, during which your heart rate increases and you break into a sweat, such as jogging, running, cycling or rowing.
2. Diet- As mentioned above, diet and exercise go hand-in-hand when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, so to reduce your belly fat, you will need to change your diet. While there is no magic formula or diet for reducing belly fat, a healthy eating plan will go a long towards reducing the amount of fat in your body. Some important factors of a healthy diet:
- Cut out all sugar, that also includes sodas, sweets, junk food
- Reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume. Carbohydrates are needed for energy during exercise and daily living, however if they are not all burnt off, the excess carbohydrates turn to fat and are stored, leading to weight gain.
- Eat more protein. Your body uses more energy to digest protein than it does carbohydrates, so eat more protein and your body will be working harder to process it. Avoid fatty meats though – eat lean protein without the fat.
- Eat high-fibre foods, such as grains, cereals, apples, peas, beans
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (4-5 servings a day)
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day
3. Get plenty of sleep- Research shows that people who sleep for 7-8 hours every night gained less visceral fat over a period of time than those that slept for less. It might not be an important factor in visceral fat loss, but certainly contributes towards the greater goal.
4. Reduce stress- Stress is a silent killer and contributes to so many health issues and problems, including weight gain. Generally, people tend to eat more or eat a bad diet when they are stressed, which in turn leads to weight gain and an array of other health problems, so reduce the amount of stress in your life. If you cannot change the situation that is causing stress, find ways of managing your stress, through exercise, meditation, or counseling. Here are some other 24 ways to cut down your belly fat effectively.