Guess what: the truth is that we all have some belly fat- even if we have flat abs. It’s perfectly normal. However, too much belly fat can have negative effects on your overall health that other fat does not. Some of the fat is stored directly under your skin and other fat is deeper, around your liver, lungs, heart, and other vital organs. This deeper fat is known as visceral fat.
Deep Belly Fat
You do need some visceral fat because it helps to cushion your organs. However, if you have too much, you are much more susceptible to type 2 diabetes, dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain cancers. After all, the fat doesn’t just idly sit there- it is very active, producing lots of nasty substances, according to the experts.
When you start to gain too much weight, your body will begin storing fat in some unusual places. In the case of obesity, you have people whose typical fat stores are so full that the fat gets taken and stored around the heart and other organs.
How Much Fat Are You Storing?
The best way to find out how much visceral fat your body is storing is to have an MRI or CT scan. However, there are much simpler, cost effective ways to check. Start by getting your hands on a measuring tape and wrapping it around your waist at your belly button to check your overall girth. You should take this measurement standing up and make sure the tape measure is level all the way around.
Women need to have a waist size of less than 35” and men need to have a waist size of less than 40”. “Pear” shaped, that is larger hips/thighs- is thought to be much safer than “apple” shaped, which is used to describe a wide waistline. Experts say that is because the more abdominal fat you have, the more likely you are to have too much visceral fat.
Of course, even if you’re thin, it’s possible to have too much visceral fat. The amount of visceral fat you have is related to your genetics and your lifestyle- especially your activity level. Visceral fat responds to inactivity. One study showed that thin people who paid attention to their diets but were not active were much more likely to accumulate too much visceral fat. The whole key to losing belly fat is to be active, regardless of your size.
Steps to Beat Belly Fat: Belly Fat Cure
There are four key ways that you can control your belly fat:
You should be spending at least 30 minutes doing a moderate workout at least 5 out of 7 days of the week. Walking does count- provided it’s brisk enough to cause you to sweat, breathe harder, and your heart rate to increase.
If you want to get the same results in about half the time, you can step up your pace to vigorous exercise such as jogging. You should do this for about 20 minutes per day for 4 days out of the 7. If you’re already fairly fit, but you’re not quite ready to jog, you can walk on your treadmill on an incline at a brisk pace. In addition, a vigorous workout on a rowing machine, elliptical machine, or stationary bike is also effective.
Moderate activity- that is, increasing your heart rate for 30 minutes at a time at least 3 times per week is also beneficial as it slows down the visceral fat that you will gain. However, if you want to get rid of the visceral fat you already have, you’ll need to step it up.
If you lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle right now, you’ll want to check with your physician before you get started on a new fitness program.
Contrary to what you may have been told, there’s really no such thing as a magical cure for losing belly fat. However, when you do start losing weight on any diet at all, belly fat will usually melt off first.
One thing that really makes a difference is making sure that you’re consuming enough fiber. One study revealed that those who get 10 grams of fiber per day and don’t make any other changes end up building less visceral fat over time than those that do not. This is as simple as eating a ½ cup pinto beans, 1 cup green peas, or 2 small apples.
Some studies have proven that getting adequate rest helps as well. One study indicated that individuals who were able to get 6-7 hours of sleep at night ended up gaining less visceral fat in a 5 year period than those who got less than 5 hours or more than 8 hours. Of course, sleep was not the only thing that contributed to the gain of visceral fat, but it did make a big difference.
Stress is simply a part of life- we all have it. The biggest difference is the way that you deal with it. Some of the best things you can do to deal with stress are to work out, get some counseling, relax with friends/family, and meditate. These activities will leave you in a better frame of mind and make it easier for you to make good choices.
In addition to these great tips, you’ll want to check out the Lean Belly Breakthrough to learn more about the health ramifications and belly fat cure.