There’s more reason to get rid of extra body fat, especially in the belly areas, than just for looks and vanity. Excess belly fat, aka excess abdominal fat, (especially visceral fat, the kind that clumps around your organs and puffs your stomach out into the typical “beer gut”) is a predictor of heart disease, diabetes, insulin resistance, and some cancers. If your diet and exercise haven’t done much to get you the results you want, there may be other factors at work. Read on to find out about a few:
Human bodies change how they gain and lose weight as we get older. Men and women experience a declining metabolic rate as we age, the number of calories the body needs to function normally. Women also have to deal with another major biological issue: menopause. Micheal Jensen, MD, a professor of medicine in the Mayo Clinic’s endocrinology division, notes that “If women gain weight after menopause, it’s more likely to be in their bellies.” Menopause causes production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone to slow down. Testosterone levels also start to dip, but at a reduced rate. All of these hormonal shifts cause women to hold onto weight in their abdominal areas.
Any exercise is better than none, but getting rid of belly fat requires a few tweaks to your regimen. Daily spin classes or runs work well for getting your heart rate up, but cardio alone won’t do much to burn away your belly. Kate Patton, a dietician at the Cleveland Clinic, recommends three hours of moderate-intensity exercise or two hours of high-intensity exercise a week to build muscle, like lifting weights or circuit training. “Muscle burns more calories than fat, therefore you naturally burn more calories through the day by having more muscle,” she says.
In addition, you need to ramp up your workouts in order to see the weight loss you want in the areas your want it. High-intensity workouts burn more calories – and therefore more belly fat. If it sounds intimidating, think of it like this: in less time, you’ll burn more calories with a high-intensity workout. Be sure to include a lot of functional exercises in your workout, as the dreaded crunch won’t be what burns away the final few inches of fat. Functional exercises like planks engage your abdomen, back, and pelvis, strengthening a variety of muscles all at once.
Kate Patton says that to prevent belly fat and increase belly fat loss, your daily diet should include plenty of natural, fat burning foods like fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. They’re full of antioxidants, and have anti-inflammatory properties to boot. “Refined grains like white bread, crackers, and chips, as well as refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts increase inflammation in our bodies,” she says.”Belly fat, and body fat ing general, is associated with inflammation, so eating too many processed foods will hinder your ability to reduce belly fat.”
However, the body doesn’t react to all fats the same way. Patton notes that there’s a correlation between a high intake of saturated fats – the kind in meats and dairy products – and increased visceral fat. On the other hand, the fats found in olive oil and avocados (monounsaturated fats) and the fats found in nuts, sunflower seeds, and fatty fish like salmon (polyunsaturated fats) also have anti-inflammatory effects that can do good for your body. Be sure to eat them in proper portions, though – too much fat of any kind increases your calorie intake and leads to weight gain.
Whatever is stressing you out, be it work deadlines, bills, or your kids, too much of it can make it difficult to lose unwanted pounds. The stress hormone cortisol increases the amount of fat your body clings to, enlarging the fat cells in your body. Not to mention the natural instinct when stressed is to reach for high-fat, high calorie foods.
While many of these reasons can seem daunting, gradual adjustments can help you work towards the goal of changing your routine. When changing habits, it’s best to take it slowly so it sticks, and you’ll get to your goals much quicker. However, we all know that belly fat, no matter how good your diet or excercise plan, sometimes will just not go away. If you are experiencing stubborn belly fat, contact Premier Vein & Vascular to get your free truScultp 3D consulation. We offer an effective, surgery-free option for people looking to reduce fat in those stubborn areas. We have convient locations in Tampa and Largo so that no matter where you are in the Pinellas, Pasco, or Hillsborough County, we are near you. Contact us today online or by calling 1-888-VEINCARE.