Listen, we’re all about body positivity. We love it when people are secure with their size and how they look and we definitely think that people who rock their curves are something to aspire to, but there’s a fine line between body positivity and being reckless with your health. The fact of the matter is that fat can kill and it’s even more detrimental to your health if the fat is located around your stomach. Want to know the truth about belly fat? We’re taking you through some of the gritty things that people may not be telling you and how to combat this sneaky but devastating kind of fat.
It’s the Worst Kind of Fat to Have
When it comes to affecting your health, it doesn’t get any worse than belly fat. Sure, belly fat doesn’t make the best of beach pictures and it’s responsible for the dreaded muffin top, but it does much more damage to your health than it ever will to your physical appearance. Deep fat in the belly, or visceral fat, is responsible for producing hormones and proteins that can really turn a bad situation into a terrible one. For example, it increases the bad cholesterol in your body (LDL), it can spike your blood pressure and blood sugar, and it will throw your triglycerides count through the roof. Belly fat also increases your body’s resistance to insulin and can make any existing inflammation even worse than it already is.
Sitting Can Make Matter Worse
We all know that exercise and movement is an important part of getting fit and healthy, but did you know that staying sedentary doesn’t just increase your chances for weight gain, it actually makes you more prone to putting belly fat on? Belly fat builds the more you sit, so if you want to make sure that you stop putting on more fat around your waist and start burning it off, it’s important for you get up and get moving. Even just 3 hours of aerobic exercise in a week can help you keep the belly fat off. However, it’s always best to get as much movement into your day. Whether you choose to start taking the stairs when you’re going up one or two floors or you get up to pace around every 20 minutes, it really doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you move regularly and that you don’t give your belly fat a chance to start increasing.
It’s Not About How Many Crunches You Can Do
Sure, crunches are great for toning up your muscles under the fat and they’re also really great at developing a solid core strength. We also agree that doing so is incredibly important for reasons like endurance. However, crunches aren’t going to do much for you if you’re trying to burn belly fat. This is disappointing news to many, but that doesn’t make it any less true. If you want or need to burn belly fat, the best way to do it is by eating a low carbohydrate diet and getting consistent aerobic exercise in. Walking is a great aerobic exercise that people tend to overlook, but so is swimming, hopping on the elliptical and boxing. If you really want to eviscerate your belly fat, one of the best ways to do so is by incorporating intervals into your aerobic work outs. Trying to double up on your aerobic work outs and adjusting your diet if you feel like you’re not losing as much belly fat as you should be. You can also try high intensity interval training if you’re looking for a real challenge.
Stress is A Sneaky Culprit
There are likely tons of reasons people are putting on belly fat, but one of the sneakiest and most devastating one of them all is really stress. We’re not over exaggerating this one folks. Science and a ton of research will back us up on this: there is a direct connection between people who deal with a lot of stress and people with larger waist lines. What makes stress a breeding ground for deep belly fat is a hormone called cortisol. Stress produces this hormone in high amounts and, unfortunately for many of us, cortisol induces cravings for high-calorie snacks. It goes without saying that this triggers a brutal cycle of storing even more fat in your belly, which just means more cortisol and more hard-to-beat cravings. Many life coaches and health experts will tell you that it’s crucial to find an effective way to deal with stress especially if you work in a demanding job and are trying to zap your abdominal fat away. Our recommendation? Try a high-intensity sport like boxing or, if you’re more of the quiet type, try a relaxing hour of yoga. They’re both great at helping you relieve stress and, as an added bonus, they’ll give you a great aerobic workout. Killing two birds with one stone? Excellent.
Ditch the Scale, Grab the Tape Measure
In terms of measuring success, you are really going to want to ditch the scale and switch it up with a tape measure. Fat is lighter than muscle, so if you’re coupling your aerobic workouts with strength training (as you should), you might not be seeing a good measure of how effective your efforts are. Also, you could be losing weight in other places but are barely making a dent in the belly fat. For this reason, it’s best to track your progress in inches. You’ll get a better idea of how much fat you’re actually losing and you won’t be bogged down if you don’t see the number you’re expecting on the scale. Tracking progress with a tape measure is actually preferred method by many weight loss experts because weight can fluctuate easily due to reasons like water retention or even how big of a lunch you’ve had. Besides, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the inch count grow and your waist line physically shrinking at the same time.