Belly fat is typically regarded as an unsightly inconvenience, but extra fat around the midsection poses greater risks than simply interfering with the fit of your clothes. Excess fat in the abdominal region — also known as visceral fat — is the most dangerous type of fat you can carry on your body. As opposed to subcutaneous fat, which is located directly under the skin, visceral fat surrounds the internal organs, and can increase the risk of serious health issues such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, and premature death.
Carrying extra belly fat is worse than being generally overweight. Someone who carries 50 extra pounds of subcutaneous fat distributed around the body experiences a lower risk than someone who carries 25 extra pounds of belly fat. If abdominal fat is a problem for you, try implementing one or more of these proven techniques to get rid of it.
Move it to lose it
Resistance training is a great way to build muscle and increase your metabolism for long-term weight management, but aerobic exercise is the key to getting rid of stubborn belly fat. Think in terms of getting the heart rate up. Jogging the equivalent of 12 miles per week has been found to effectively reduce abdominal fat. If jogging isn’t your thing, walking briskly can provide many of the same benefits. Cycling and swimming are also great options for aerobic activity.
Enjoy tea time
Consuming green tea can enhance the results of physical activity and help burn off belly fat. It’s thought that the antioxidants in green tea boost the metabolism and increase the body’s production of a hormone that helps you break down fat. For best results, add two to three cups of green tea into your day. If you don’t enjoy drinking tea, you can also get the same benefits from green tea extract in pill form.
Lower your stress levels
Research has shown that postmenopausal women who engaged in yoga for sixteen weeks experienced a significant decrease in visceral fat. Other stress-relieving activities may have a similar effect. Stress causes the body to release more of the hormone cortisol, which increases production of insulin and makes the body crave sugar-laden foods. Practicing meditation or deep-breathing exercises each day can relieve stress and help decrease the production of cortisol.
Increase your protein
It’s common for the body to become more resistant to insulin with age. As a result, the body begins producing more insulin, which promotes fat storage. Increasing protein intake can help protect the body against this effect. Stick to lean proteins for better health. Green smoothies with protein powder added are a delicious, low-calorie way to boost your protein intake.
Eat more fat
Yes, you read that right. Our bodies need fat to live — they just need the right fats. The typical American diet includes too much saturated fat and not enough unsaturated fat. Good fats include fish, nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, and avocados.
Sleep it off
Sleep is essential to good health and weight management. Research shows that chronic sleep deprivation increases visceral fat levels. Getting enough sleep is a vital component of a healthy weight-loss program. For most people, that means between 7 and 8 hours of sleep.
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