Overweight does not necessarily equal unhealthy. There are actually plenty of overweight people who are in excellent health. Conversely, many normal weight people have the metabolic problems associated with obesity. That’s because the fat under the skin is actually not that big of a problem (at least not from a health standpoint… it’s more of a cosmetic problem).It’s the fat in the abdominal cavity, the belly fat, that causes the biggest issues. It’s that deeper fat — called “visceral” fat — that may be the bigger problem, even for thin people. The truth is that burning fat is really 80% what you eat and only 20% how much you exercise, so in order to see quick results in your weight loss, 80% of your efforts should be in what you eat.
Deep Belly Fat:
You need some visceral fat. It provides cushioning around your organs. But if you have too much of it, you may be more likely to get high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers, including breast cancer and colon cancer. The fat doesn’t just sit there. It’s an active part of your body, making “lots of nasty substances,” says Kristen Hairston, MD, assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Wake Forest School of Medicine. If you gain too much weight, your body starts to store your fat in unusual places. With increasing obesity, you have people whose regular areas to store fat are so full that the fat is deposited into the organs and around the heart, says Carol Shively, PhD, professor of pathology-comparative medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
“What we’re really pointing to with the apple versus pear,” Hairston says, “is that, if you have more abdominal fat, it’s probably an indicator that you have more visceral fat.”
Thin People Have It, Too: Even if you’re thin, you can still have too much visceral fat. How much you have is partly about your genes, and partly about your lifestyle, especially how active you are. Visceral fat likes inactivity. In one study, thin people who watched their diets but didn’t exercise were more likely to have too much visceral fat. The key is to be active, no matter what size you are.
How Much Belly Fat Do You Have?
The most precise way to determine how much visceral fat you have is to get a CT scan or MRI. But there’s a much simpler, low-cost way to check. Get a measuring tape, wrap it around your waist at your belly button, and check your girth. Do it while you’re standing up, and make sure the tape measure is level. For your health’s sake, you want your waist size to be less than 35 inches if you’re a woman and less than 40 inches if you’re a man. Having a “pear shape” — bigger hips and thighs — is considered safer than an “apple shape,” which describes a wider waistline.
Steps for Beating Belly Fat
Avoid Sugar & Sweetened Beverages Like The Plague: Excess sugar consumption may be the primary driver of belly fat accumulation, especially sugary beverages like soft drinks and fruit juices. Studies show that it has uniquely harmful effects on metabolic health. Sugar is half glucose, half fructose… and fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in any significant amount. When you eat a lot of refined sugar, the liver gets flooded with fructose, and is forced to turn it all into fat. Studies show that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children… per each daily serving. Make a decision to minimize the amount of sugar in your diet, and consider completely eliminating sugary drinks.
Cut Carbs From Your Diet: Carb restriction is a very effective way to lose fat. When people cut carbs, their appetite goes down and they lose weight. Low-carb diets also lead to quick reductions in water weight, which gives people near instant results… a major difference on the scale is often seen within a few days. Low-carb diets specifically target the fat in the belly, and around the organs and liver. What this means is that a particularly high proportion of the fat lost on a low-carb diet is the dangerous and disease promoting abdominal fat.Just avoiding the refined carbs (white breads, pastas, etc) should be sufficient, especially if you keep your protein high. However… if you need to lose weight fast, then consider dropping your carbs down to 50 grams per day. This will put your body into ketosis, killing your appetite and making your body start burning primarily fats for fuel. However, in that low carb diet, you must have to drink plenty of water i.e more than conventional 2 liter water. I recommend 3-4 liter water/day.
Low Calorie Protein Dense Diet: The Best Long-Term Strategy to Reduce Belly FatEating enough protein is a very effective way to lose weight. Protein is particularly effective against belly fat accumulation. Protein is the most important macro nutrient when it comes to losing weight. It has been shown to reduce cravings by 60%, boost metabolism by 80-100 calories per day and help you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day.If weight loss is your goal, then adding protein to your diet is perhaps the single most effective change you can do. Not only will it help you lose… it can also help you avoid re-gaining weight if you ever decide to abandon your weight loss efforts. There is also some evidence that protein is particularly effective against belly fat.Make an effort to increase your intake of unprocessed eggs, fish, seafood, meats, poultry and dairy products. These are the best protein sources in the diet. If you struggle with getting enough protein in your diet, then a quality protein supplement (like whey protein) is a healthy and convenient way to boost your total intake. Consider cooking your foods in coconut oil… some studies have shown that 30 mL (about 2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day reduces belly fat slightly.
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Eat Foods Rich In Fibre: There is some evidence that soluble dietary fiber may lead to reduced amounts of belly fat, which should cause major improvements in metabolic health. Dietary fiber is mostly indigestible plant matter. It is often claimed that eating plenty of fiber can help with weight loss. This is true… but it’s important to keep in mind that not all fiber is created equal. It seems to be mostly the viscous fibers that can have an effect on your weight. These are fibers that bind water and form a thick gel that “sits” in the gut. This gel can dramatically slow the movement of food through your stomach and small bowel, and slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The end result is a prolonged feeling of fullness and reduced appetite. The best way to get more fiber is to eat a lot of plant foods like vegetables and fruit. Legumes are also a good source, as well as some cereals like oats.
Sleep: Getting the right amount of shut-eye helps. In one study, people who got 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night gained less visceral fat over 5 years compared to those who slept 5 or fewer hours per night or 8 or more hours per night.
Aerobic Exercise is Very Effective at Reducing Belly Fat: Exercise can be very effective if you are trying to lose belly fat. Exercise also has a number of other health benefits. Exercise is important for various reasons. It is among the best things you can do if you want to live a long, healthy life and avoid disease.
Stress: Everyone has stress. Howyou handle it matters. The best things you can do include relaxing with friends and family, meditating, exercising to blow off steam, and getting counseling. That leaves you healthier and better prepared to make good choices for yourself. “If you could only afford the time to do one of these things,” Shively says, “exercise probably has the most immediate benefits, because it gets at both obesity and stress.
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