Whatever you want to call it, belly fat is even unhealthy than the fat in other areas of your body! The worst thing about this extra fat isn’t the part you can grab on to, it’s the fat deep inside, surrounding your abdominal organs! Heart disease, high blood pressure, breast cancer, diabetes, and gall bladder problems, are just a few of the many health concerns attributed to too much belly fat! While hopping on the scale is important, measuring your waist size is just as important! To measure correctly, circle the tape measure around your waist at the navel.
Don’t hold your stomach in–just stand normally. The National Institute of Health reports that a waist size larger than 40 inches (males) and 35 inches (females) increases your health risks. Some research even indicates that anything more than 33 inches in females is dangerous!
Tips to Eliminate Extra Belly Fat
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- Your first line of defense against belly fat should be your diet. It’s important to eat healthy foods in healthy amounts. Focus on lean protein, veggies, fruits, whole-grains, low-fat dairy, and heart-healthy oils. Get plenty of fiber in your diet as fiber and protein are the two nutrients that will keep you full and satisfied the longest.
- Portion control is imperative! Your body can only process about 400-500 calories at a time, therefore, more frequent smaller meals are better than one or two large meals. While it’s tempting to severely restrict calories, too little fuel will cause your metabolism to become sluggish and your weight loss will slow down. Breakfast is an essential meal as it jump-starts your metabolism for the day. You can determine your daily calorie requirements using an easy formula.
- Keep track of your caloric intake with a food log or weight loss journal. Studies show that people who journal while dieting stay on their diets longer and lose more weight than those who do not.
- Severely limit your sweet intake. This includes not only sweets that you eat but also sweets that you drink! Even diet soda needs to be severely limited. Save these things for special occasions only. To satisfy your sweet tooth, consider having a weight loss shake as one of your snacks. Don’t forget that alcohol also slows weight loss.
- Drink plenty of water. This should be your main source of hydration! Not only does it keep you full and flushed, but it also aids in digestion and helps speed your metabolism.
- Do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio each day. Do it at an intensity that keeps you sweating, huffing and puffing! Activities that use the large leg muscles burn the most calories. These activities also tone the lower body quite effectively. Power walking, jogging, biking, skating, tennis, racquetball, basketball, swimming laps, jumping rope, dancing, and jumping jacks can all be very effective ways to burn calories and tone muscles. Keeping an exercise log can help keep you focused and motivated.
- Make strength training and stretching important components of your daily workout. Do a variety of exercises that target and strengthen your core.
- Find ways to reduce stress! The hormone cortisol is released during stress, and researchers believe that it stimulates the storage of fat around the abdomen and belly. They determined that a fat belly is most likely to develop in stressed men of any age, and older stressed women!
- Be patient! Belly fat won’t disappear overnight. Abdominal fat brought on by menopause may be especially stubborn. Be diligent and consistent with your diet and exercise. Stay focused and motivated to keep yourself on track. Remind yourself often of the many health benefits that you are achieving as a result of your lifestyle change.