Posted on Oct 21, 2019, 7 p.m.
The spare tire, personal flotation device, beer baby, love handles, muffin top, whatever you call it these words are all referring to belly fat, which is the most common type for men.
As men gain weight the legs, thighs, and arms usually don’t change much while the fat tends to accumulate around the stomach, chest and neck. Women tend to store fat a bit lower around the thighs and butt. No matter where it is stored fat is a pretty clear indicator of being out of shape, this can affect you negatively both physically and mentally.
Having belly fat increases your risk of developing a number of serious health conditions which are more than capable of killing you including but not limited to high blood pressure, diabetes, colorectal cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Belly fat comes in two varieties visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fat that is found just under the skin that you can pinch between your fingers and is a clear sign of needing to lose weight. Visceral fat is found deep inside the body and surrounds many of the internal organs and can’t be seen with the naked eye. Visceral fat pumps cytokines into the bloodstream which causes inflammation and leads directly to health risks such as high cholesterol, inflammation, liver problems and much more.
Visceral belly fat is a threat to health that should be taken seriously, and getting rid of it isn’t exactly easy. One of the best ways to combat this dangerous fat is to not be sedentary and get more exercise. Not all exercise is equal when it comes to visceral fat, cardiovascular activities that get the heart rate up are the most effective. For starters begin easy with brisk walks, and taking the stairs more, then as your fitness level increases move to swimming, rowing, biking, running and so forth. Picking activities that you enjoy increases the chance of you sticking with it and reaching your goals quicker.
To go along with the physical activity you will also need to change your diet. There is no need to starve yourself, rather making sustainable lifestyle choice changes that you can stick with. The goal is to have a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, high in fiber, whole grains, and limited red meat. Try to limit your fat intake, cut out as much trans fats as possible, avoid added sugars, and cut out processed foods. Try to read labels on products so you know what you are putting into your body.
Changing your diet is not just about the food you eat it is also about how much you eat at one time. Portion control is important, most Americans eat double sized portions at every meal. Most people have been conditioned to think that a meal should stuff you to the point of being overfull, but this is not true. Try to control your eyes and limit the portion size, eat slowly and chew your food before you swallow, and make sure to stop eating when you are not hungry. Often a person will eat when they are bored, try to learn the difference, by perhaps drinking some water first to see if the feeling persists. Snacking is another difficulty, try to reach for fruits and vegetables rather than cookies, chips, and such.
You can drop the unwanted fat, but it will not be easy. You may have setbacks, but don’t let this stop you from reaching your goals. Setbacks are opportunities to learn from and continue moving forward in your goals. Setbacks are not failures, the only failure is if you actually give up. You can lose weight, you are worth it, and the benefits that come along with it. If you are uncertain how to shed that unwanted fat consult your doctor who can help you design a plan.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.