Belly fat is more dangerous than you think. There's two types of abdominal fat that we have to battle in order to stay healthy. Subcutaneous fat is stored under the skin and that's the fat that you can see and pinch. It's healthy to have some, but too much can lead to high blood pressure, sleep apnea, kidney disease and fatty liver. Visceral fat is located deep in your belly and it wraps around your vital organs, causing serious health problems like some cancers, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Getting rid of excess weight around the midsection is important for overall health and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who explain how to melt away belly fat. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Manage Your Stress
Jesse Nicassio, former NFL player and CEO of Juke Gyms says, "Stress causes belly fat accumulation by causing the adrenal glands to generate cortisol, often known as the stress hormone. According to research, elevated cortisol levels enhance appetite and promote belly fat storage. Furthermore, women with a larger waist tend to create more cortisol in reaction to stress. Cortisol elevation contributes even more to belly fat accumulation. Engage in stress-relieving activities to assist you in losing tummy fat. Yoga and meditation are both effective strategies."
Get 30 Minutes of Exercise a Day
Dr. Nikhil Kapoor, MD, FACC, FSCAI, a cardiologist with Dignity Health St. Mary, explains, "I typically recommend getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day for most people. But exercise and diet alone by themselves are not adequate. They should be done in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle to maintain a healthy weight. And when my patients ask me: 'what's an ideal weight?' It depends on one's height. In medicine and science we utilize body mass index (BMI) which incorporates both weight and height. An ideal weight is one which yields a BMI between 18.5 to 24.9 range. Since I am a cardiologist, I see a lot of patients with hypertension, diabetes type 2, high cholesterol and obesity. One should realize that these conditions are interrelated. As one exercises, eats right and loses weight, it leads to improvement in all the above conditions. As to how quickly should one lose weight? I recommend losing weight @ 5-10% of one's weight in 6 months and continuing this till one achieves an ideal BMI (18.5-24.9)."
Have Well-Balanced Meals
Dr. Suzanna Wong. a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic and health expert with Twin Waves Wellness recommends, "Eating balanced meals with protein, carbs and fats because This helps to reduce your cortisol levels – one of the hormones that makes you hold body fat on your tummy."
Isla Zyair, nutritionist, and plant-based nutrition expert at Obesity Controllers Association shares, "The reason why so many people fail in adopting a new dietary plan is that they try to completely change what they eat and how much they eat. A more sustainable way of changing your diet is by implementing gradual portion control. You don't need to eliminate certain foods from your diet right away. You just need to reduce consumption bit by bit until your body and taste buds gradually acclimate to your new regime."
Find a Support System
Zyair suggests, "Finding an accountability partner who will share that journey with you. You don't even have to do it in person. You can just as easily search for one in numerous fitness communities on social media. You don't even have to be on the same level because the point is not to compare your journeys but to take them together. What you need is someone who uplifts you and encourages you to pursue your goals. In return, you will be expected to do the same for them. Try it. You'd be surprised at how many people would actually want to do this with you."
Diet is Key, but Precautions Should be Taken for Anyone With Certain Medical Conditions
Dr. Kapoor says, "Of course, all the above recommendations are not applicable to everyone! If I have a heart patient who had a recent cardiac event or a heart attack, I may recommend starting an exercise regimen under supervision (~ like cardiac rehabilitation.)" He suggests, "For patients with hypertension, I typically recommend a low sodium diet (in addition a DASH diet has been shown to help reduce high BP but it should only be used under supervision of a medical provider since it entails a higher potassium diet which may not be safe for everyone.) Similarly for patients with coronary artery disease a mediterranean diet has been scientifically shown to help improve outcomes. In general, it's advisable to get input from your PMD or GP prior to initiating a specific dietary, exercise or lifestyle change. This is especially true if one has a pre-existing medical condition."