Everyone has body fat, but some fat is healthier than others. Belly fat, also called visceral fat, is the bad fat. Visceral fat is stored in the belly, or the abdominal cavity, where your vital organs like the liver, stomach and intestines live. Storing all your fat in a big belly is more harmful to your health than a bit of extra padding in your hips and thighs.
You only have to look around you to see that many Americans now sport an apple shape, the most unhealthy kind of body shape. Storing so much fat in your waist is terrible for your health. Visceral fat increases your risk for life threatening medical conditions like diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. People with a pear shape are less prone to disease than an apple shape.
About 10 per cent of body fat is visceral fat. But how can you tell if you have too much belly fat? Harvard Health says that for women, if your waist is more than 35 inches, you have too much belly fat. For men, a waist over 40 inches puts you at risk for too much visceral fat.
It’s impossible to spot treat fat in a certain location. The only way to get rid of belly fat is to lose weight overall. Belly fat is lost through exercise and diet, specifically calorie reduced diets like the Military Diet. With every pound you lose, you lose belly fat too. On a calorie reduced diet like the Military Diet, you burn more calories than you consume, creating a calorie deficit, the only proven way to lose weight. Eating more calories than your body burns is the way you gained weight and accumulated belly fat in the first place.
Eating the right foods promotes weight loss. The Military Diet also includes foods that are proven to promote weight loss like eggs, lean meat, coffee, grapefruit and broccoli.
Three food types that you need to stop eating in order to reduce belly fat:
Sugar: Any kind of food that has added sugar like cookies, soft drinks, canned juices, candy bars increases belly fat.
White Flour: Anything made with white flour like bread, pasta, and pizza all contribute to belly fat.
Starchy food: Potatoes, rice and corn all contain starch, another culprit that creates belly fat.
Thirty minutes of exercise a day, especially cardio and strength training, keeps belly fat at bay. Aerobic exercise like biking, running and circuit training burn fat like crazy. And if you increase your muscle mass through strength training, your muscles become fat burning machines because muscles burn fat. And the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn.
When we’re stressed, we don’t get enough sleep, but did you know that lack of sleep causes weight gain? According to WebMD, not getting enough sleep causes weight gain. The stress hormone cortisol is released into the body when we’re under stress. This hormone increases how much belly fat your body stores. So if you’re stressed and trying to lose weight, it’s time to practise stress reducing activities like meditation, deep breathing, and walking.
Are some people more prone to belly fat than others?
Every body stores fat differently because of genetics, ethnic background, diet and lifestyle. For example, white men and black women tend to accumulate more belly fat than black men and white women. Women in menopause start collecting more belly fat according to the Mayo Clinic. Even if menopausal women aren’t noticeably gaining more weight, decreasing levels of estrogen change where their body fat is stored and distributed, in the middle.
If you’re concerned about belly fat and being overweight, get started on the Military Diet.