Having trouble zipping up your pants or know someone who is? Or, finding that for some reason you are tending to carry more weight in your belly than you used to? While a wider waistline is more typical of “aging”, it doesn’t have to be! Typically (but you’re not typical!), activity level decreases with an increase in age. With that comes a reduction in muscle mass so your body doesn’t burn calories as effectively, which makes it harder to maintain your body weight. Women tend to carry most of their weight in their belly after menopause because of the reduction in estrogen. Men generally carry weight in their bellies, regardless of age. And sometimes people have a genetic predisposition to belly fat (thank your parents!). So, there are a number of reasons WHY someone would carry more belly fat. Change in hormone level you can’t control, genetics you can’t control, but exercise level and diet you have complete control over! While it would be great to zip up your pants with ease, there are more serious reasons why we need to reduce belly fat.
Belly fat isn’t just a vanity thing. It’s not just about the squishy, crinkly extra skin and padding that you have under your skin (subcutaneous fat). Belly fat (visceral fat) goes much deeper than that! It is in your guts (to be blunt). Visceral fat causes inflammation in your body and has been linked to many health conditions; colorectal cancer, breast cancer, type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure,
stroke, and heart disease. You don’t necessarily have to be obese to have these risks – it’s just where you are carrying your fat. The Mayo Clinic suggests that a waistline of more than 35″ for women and 40″ for men is cause for action. Have you measured your waistline?
Don’t be discouraged because everyone in your family has a “gut”. You DON’T have to have one! Or give up because you’re post-menopausal! Even if you have belly fat right now, you can reduce it! That being said, don’t think that an ab circuit every night will get rid of belly fat (subcutaneous or visceral)! You will have strong and tight abs, but you have to actually burn FAT to see that 6-pack you’ve created! You need to burn calories! High intensity interval training can burn calories! As you burn more calories, your subcutaneous fat (squishy stuff) will start to melt away and your internal (visceral) fat will go away also! THEN you’ll start to see those muscles! In order to do this, you have to amp up your workouts to 5 days/week. It takes work to burn fat, but you’ll be glad when you can see your abs!
The other factor is controlling what we put in our mouths. Portion control, high quality foods, and calorie control – they will help significantly in losing weight and maintaining it. There’s lots of fresh produce out there right now if you want to start trimming calories and adding whole, fresh foods to your diet – TODAY is the day!
BOTTOM LINE: Belly fat isn’t only responsible for muffin top – it also carries serious health risks with it. All the more reason to bump up your exercise routine and pay close attention to what you put in your mouth.