So, you recently met a friend after a long time and saw his new, slim look. Cue your mixed feelings of amazement and envy to see his transformation from a big fat belly to a flat belly, and maybe now you’re inspired you to tame your tubby tummy as well.
But wait! Why do you want a flat belly? Just to look good!?
Well, there’s so much more to it than just looking good, as it transforms your health inside out. Save yourself from the dangers of several health problems; read on to know the harmful effects of abdominal fat and learn about the natural ways to deal with it.
How Harmful Is Abdominal Fat?
There are two types of abdominal fat – visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. Don’t let jargon scare you, we are here to clear the clutter and tell you all you need to know.
This is stored within the abdominal cavity and around your internal organs in your abdominal region such as liver, pancreas, and intestines (1). Storing higher amounts of this type of fat is associated with an increased risk of various health problems such as diabetes, heart problems or other metabolic disorders (2, 3, 4).
This type of fat is stored directly below your skin, and is a type of fat that you can identify by pinching an inch from your belly, arms or thighs or anywhere else on your body (5). Again, if your body is storing too much of this fat, then it may increase the risk of health issues such as fatty liver and high blood pressure, etc. (6, 7).
Now that you know excess storage of abdominal fat may be harmful to our health. What would you like to do about it? Control it or let it control you? If you want to save your body from the risk of health issues, here are some tips that may help manage your abdominal fat…
Combat abdominal fat with exercise and dietary tips
The first thing that can help combat your abdominal fat and bring your weight under control is moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes daily (8). Below is a list of some exercises that may help manage your belly fat…
- High-intensity intermittent exercises have been shown to be more effective at reducing abdominal fat than other exercises (9).
- Aerobic and resistance training may reduce abdominal subcutaneous fat. A combination of both may help in greater improvements in fat content (10).
- Strength training may also help fight abdominal fat and control weight. If you are already doing aerobic exercises, then try to add moderate strength training, too, as it may help build lean muscle mass. This, in turn, may help you burn more calories throughout the day even when you are at rest. (11)
- Moreover, you can think of incorporating abdominal exercises such as Pilates or spot exercises, too (8). You can even use exercise balls in various ways to help improve balance while targeting abdominal muscles (12).
These exercises may prove to be highly effective in fighting belly fat. Push yourself a bit and start incorporating these exercises in your daily routine.
Hey! Remember; exercise is not a punishment for eating, if you eat right. It is also important to watch what you eat. Read on to pick up some dietary tips that you may want to follow…
Diet is as important as exercise when you are focusing on fat loss. Pay attention to portion size. Opt for complex carbohydrates present in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You may include lean proteins as well in your diet. Try to avoid simple carbohydrates such as white bread, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks. Replace saturated fats and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats. (8)
If diet and exercise are the wheels of weight loss or maintenance, motivation and support from your friends and family are the pedals to ease your journey. People often give up in the middle of their weight loss journeys as they may feel demotivated & disappointed. At this stage a good weight loss community is like manna from heaven! It may help you stay motivated towards your weight loss journey plus you may get some extra information, tips and hacks on weight management.
“My Fat Belly Gotta Go Party” is one such community that may help you discover ways to face the challenges by connecting with weight loss experts and connecting with those who have been there and done that!
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Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements and/or product(s) described in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease, illness or health condition. It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or dietary supplement program.
- “Visceral Fat (Active Fat)”. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/body/visceral-fat.html
- Jung, Suk Hwa et al. “Visceral Fat Mass Has Stronger Associations with Diabetes and Prediabetes than Other Anthropometric Obesity Indicators among Korean Adults.” Yonsei medical journal vol. 57:3 (2016): 674-80. doi:10.3349/ymj.2016.57.3.674 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4800358/.
- Després JP1.“Cardiovascular disease under the influence of excess visceral fat”. Crit Pathw Cardiol. 2007 Jun;6(2):51-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17667865
- Richard N. Bergman, Stella P. Kim, Karyn J. Catalano, Isabel R. Hsu, Jenny D. Chiu, Morvarid Kabir, Katrin Hucking, Marilyn Ader. “Why Visceral Fat is Bad: Mechanisms of the Metabolic Syndrome”. Obesity. 2012. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/oby.2006.277
- RACHEL GRICE . “How to Burn Visceral Fat”. https://www.livestrong.com/article/173780-how-to-burn-visceral-fat/.
- Jang, Seonah et al. “Correlation of fatty liver and abdominal fat distribution using a simple fat computed tomography protocol.” World journal of gastroenterology vol. 17:28(2011): 3335-41. doi:10.3748/wjg.v17.i28.3335 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3160538/
- Zhang YX1, Wang SR. “Distribution of subcutaneous fat and the relationship with blood pressure in obese children and adolescents in Shandong, China”. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2:2015:156-61. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12178. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25683056
- “Abdominal fat and what to do about it”. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it
- Boutcher, Stephen H. “High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss.” Journal of obesity. 2011:2011: 868305. doi:10.1155/2011/868305. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639/
- Alberga AS, Prud’homme D, Kenny GP, Goldfield GS, Hadjiyannakis S, Gougeon R, Phillips P, Malcolm J, Wells G, Doucette S, Ma J, Sigal RJ.“Effects of aerobic and resistance training on abdominal fat, apolipoproteins and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in adolescents with obesity: the HEARTY randomized clinical trial”. International Journal of Obesity. 39:10 (2015):1494-500. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.133. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26202452
- “8 Ways to Lose Belly Fat and Live a Healthier Life” https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/8-ways-to-lose-belly-fat-and-live-a-healthier-life
- “Abdominal muscles”. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/abdominal-muscles