As women we have a few main areas that we are most concerned with and I have to say that the belly is number one for most!
Excess belly fat is not just an aesthetic problem it can also put you at increased risk for developing chronic health conditions such as heart disease and type II diabetes.
We have two different types of fat that can accumulate in the body; one being called subcutaneous fat and the other being visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is located underneath the skin and although it may not look very appealing it isn’t too harmful. Subcutaneous fat helps to keep you warm, absorbs shock and stores extra calories. Visceral fat on the other hand, is fat that is located around the internal organs and is metabolically active.
What does “metabolically active” mean? All this means is that it secretes hormones, chemicals and inflammatory substances that can affect other organs and lead to the development of certain chronic diseases as I mentioned previously.
The alarming thing about visceral fat is that your size doesn’t matter, even individuals who appear to be within a healthy weight range can have excess levels of this type of fat around the organs.
So how can you get rid of visceral fat?
As with all weight loss, it is best to use a combination of healthy eating and physical activity. Below you will find 5 ways to help get rid of dangerous belly fat.
Track More Than Just Weight
When most people are trying to lose weight, the main thing they use to track their progress is the scale. In this case, since visceral fat is stored in the abdominal area, tracking your waist circumference would be a better indicator of progress. The recommended maximum waist circumference for women is 35 inches (89 cm) and for men 40 inches (102 cm).
As you are exercising you may be losing fat while gaining muscle, so your weight may not necessarily show a difference. But as you are gaining muscle and becoming leaner, taking measurements, especially your waist circumference, will show your progress.
Increase Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular exercise, also known as cardio, is a great way to burn fat. As you perform cardio, the body will need to produce fuel in order to provide the energy needed for continuous exercise.
In order to produce this energy, the body will burn your fat stores and visceral fat will be used as one of the energy sources. If you don’t perform cardio regularly, start slow and increase your frequency (how often) and intensity (how hard) over time.
Reduce Intake of Refined Sugar and Alcohol
As you know, excess consumption of refined sugars and alcohol is harmful for your health. One of the reasons is that both can increase the levels of fat, especially visceral fat in the body. If you want something sweet, try eating fresh fruits instead of processed sweets.
If you want to drink, try drinking red wine but no more than the recommended 1 glass a day for women and 2 glasses a day for men.
Reduce Stress and Increase Sleep
Without a doubt we will all experience some sort of stress throughout life, so we must find ways to deal with stress in a healthy way. As we stress, the body will increase its secretion of cortisol which has been correlated with increased accumulation of abdominal fat.
One way to reduce stress is ensuring that you are getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. The body heals itself while we sleep so it is an important component of a healthy lifestyle.
Increase Water Intake
The body is about 60% percent water, so it is important that we stay well hydrated. Having adequate water intake will help to increase your metabolism, flush out toxins and improve digestion; which will all help with fat loss. It is recommended that you drink at least half your body weight in ounces each day.
The higher your activity levels, the more water you should consume to ensure you don’t get dehydrated.
Again, I want to stress the fact that reducing your belly fat shouldn’t be just about looks, although that is a nice bonus, the main concern is your HEALTH.
As I stated before, increased belly fat can put you at risk for the development of chronic diseases that can be preventable if we improve our lifestyle choices.
Now that you know a few ways to help you reduce dangerous visceral fat, it is time to take ACTION!
Remember to strive for progress and not perfection, start with small steps each day and eventually you will transition into a healthier lifestyle.
As always, Find Health in Every Day!