Everyone knows at least vaguely what belly fat is; generally speaking, people associate belly fat with being fat and the cosmetic baggage that goes with it. It is belly fat which drives many to diet and drives others to despair. In order to truly get rid of belly fat, it is necessary to first understand what it is one is dealing with when the Gut Questions arise. Once an understanding of what belly fat is, how it got there and why it is so dangerous is reached, then it is time to blast it with a combination of exercise and proper diet. It sounds simpler than it is, but a foundation in knowledge will go a long way towards reaching healthy goals and getting rid of belly fat.
What is Belly Fat?
Everyone knows where belly fat comes from: poor diet and not enough exercise! But is belly fat really as simple as a spare tire on your stomach?
Belly fat can be divided into two groups: the subcutaneous fat and the visceral fat. The subcutaneous fat is what one generally thinks of in conjunction with belly fat: it is the visible layer of fat just beneath the skin. While aesthetically displeasing, subcutaneous fat is not the real problem.
The true problem lies with the visceral fat which is the layer of fat that surrounds internal organs and causes health problems like heart problems, liver problems, and kidney problems. It is the visceral fat which contributes to problems like high cholesterol, problematic insulin levels, and higher blood pressure. Worse still, visceral fat has been linked to premature deaths, usually from cancer and stroke. It is the subcutaneous fat which drives many people to the gym to work out and lose weight, but it is the visceral fat one should really be concerned with.
Measuring Belly Fat
Measure belly fat by wrapping a tape measure firmly around the stomach just above the hip bones. Make sure the tape is tight, but not so tight that it digs into the skin. For women, a reading of over thirty five inches means that there is too much belly fat for health.
For men, that number sits at forty inches or more. There are other ways to measure belly fat such as through the BMI (Body Mass Index) Calculator, but the measuring tape gives a good idea of where your abdominal health stands.
Too Much Belly Fat! Now What?
If the measurements have come up over the safe line and furthermore, you are unhappy with your appearance, it is time to get rid of belly fat. Getting rid of abdominal clog is a task which many people have made a lot of money off of by selling systems, e-books, exercise equipment and recipe books, but the method boils down to diet and exercise. The tricky part is managing both so that they become effective and the belly fat is lost.
Keep in mind that most of those fancy gimmicks you see on television and on the internet are not going to help you if you solely rely on them, no matter what anyone says! The best place to start is with your cupboards and with your exercise routine.
Diet for Belly Fat Loss
In order to start losing that belly fat, it is important to take a good look at your cupboards. Get rid of foods that are high in:
- Simple sugars
These things are found in many of the foods we eat, such as deli meats, crackers, some breads, snack foods like packaged pastries, fried foods, and a range of other foods besides. When in doubt, go as simple and natural as possible. For example, a baked potato will trump french fries any day in terms of health and a whole apple will beat out apple juice or apple sauce.
If you are looking for gut busting foods, try stocking your cupboards in foods that are high in:
- Complex carbohydrates
- lean proteins
- Polyunsaturated and monosaturated foods (in moderation)
Foods that are high in these things include whole grain bread, fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken, turkey, nuts and low fat dairy. These foods not only reduce belly fat, but also give you more energy and may even help to fight chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.
Exercise for Belly Fat
One of the most important myths to bust along with the belly fat here is the myth that you can exercise specifically to target your abdominal region. You can’t. However, simple exercises like the bicycle crunch, reverse crunch, and trunk twists can tone your abdominal muscles and help burn belly fat.
Keep in mind that you still have to do a full exercise routine for your entire body in order to get the maximum effect. The abdominal workout is only going to be one part of your entire workout routine because working out your entire body will improve your metabolism, burn more calories and lose weight in a more sustainable and effective fashion, including your abdominal region! And remember:
Never work out your abs every single day or you could end up hurting yourself. Instead, concentrate on doing your abs workout about three to four times a week, alongside cardio and general strength training. That way, you give your body a chance to rest and grow muscle on your off days and reduce stress from working out.
Belly fat is not easy to shed, but for the sake of your health and well-being, it is very important to try. A combination of the right foods, regular exercise and an understanding of what belly fat is will go a long way towards helping you shrink that belly fat back down to normal, healthy levels. With some effort and some care, belly fat can be taken out of your body safely, leaving you with a healthier body that will last longer and feel better.