Belly Fat and How to Manage It
“You are fat!” Many amongst us dread this three letter word with every fiber of our being. The word ‘fat’ itself conveys an unpleasant connotation and most of the time, we try to avoid any association with it. The word itself is seen as a taboo and to use that to describe a person is degrading, which is why body positivity activists shunned the use of such terminology.
Being fat does not necessarily mean that a person is unhealthy, and being skinny does not automatically make one healthy too. Just as American author, Ray Bradbury used to say
Too much of anything isn't good for anyone
This implies that moderation is the way to go. Today, we are here to find out how much is too much and in what way the extremes can have an effect on our lives.
The subject of today’s scrutiny is in terms of belly fat. An ample protruding belly is a sight that most of us despise. We find ways and means to have a flat belly as it seems to convey a much positive body image. Belly fat is not necessarily a bad thing, but first, it is important to understand the term before jumping into any conclusion.
What is belly fat?
Belly fat can be a result of both subcutaneous and visceral fat. Our bodies need visceral fat as it provides cushioning for our vital organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines. Research also proves that it plays a distinctive role in influencing hormone function as well.
However, having excessive amounts of it is associated with increased risks of health problems including Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, dementia, and certain types of cancers.
What is subcutaneous and visceral fat?
Subcutaneous fat sits under our skin, while visceral fat is belly fat which stored around a number of important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines
So, how do we determine whether we have sufficient belly fat or is it over the border?
One of the ways to determine it is by measuring your waist diameter and you can do it on your own at home. The only thing you will need is a measuring tape - wrap the tape around your bare stomach, just directly above the hip bone and ensure that it is snug but not too tight. For females, a measurement of fewer than 35 inches is ideal; a reading beyond that indicates an unhealthy composition of belly fat. For males, the reading should be less than 40 inches to be considered ideal.
What leads to the deposits of belly fat?
There are instances where it may be genetically predisposed, but there are also other contributing factors that can lead to the accumulation of belly fat. One of the causes could be a sedentary lifestyle, whereby we tend to eat too much but move too little. Hormonal changes due to stress also inhibit the breakdown of fats effectively, which is linked to the accumulation of fat in the mid-region.
Additionally, aging is also perceived to lead to excess accumulation of belly fat; our total body fat increase gradually due to the slowing down of our metabolism. Other key factors may include a poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of sleep and the habit of taking one puff too many.
How to get rid of the excess?
It is worrying and alarming that we recognize most of the factors, but the good news is that we have control over it.
So, what is the best way to get rid of excess belly fat?
The best combo would be getting sufficient exercise and sleep as well as proper diet management.
Being active helps burn excess calories and fats that are not needed by the body. If we consume more calories than we burn off, we gain weight easily and the lack of movement makes it even harder to get rid of excess belly fat. To begin, make it a habit to incorporate exercise into our daily or even weekly routine.
At most, try to aim for half an hour of vigorous aerobic exercise, at the very least four times a week. Some recommended exercise would include jogging, brisk walking, and biking. Other moderate forms of exercise like a walk in the park is also a good alternative.
The accumulation of belly fat is highly correlated to our diet pattern and eating habits. By adhering to a healthy and balanced diet regime, we can control the ratio of belly fat that deposits in the body. If you have indeed exceeded the ideal belly fat recommended, managing your diet can also help to rid of any excess.
A diet that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates is an effective way to reduce the amount of visceral fat build up. The ideal meal plan should include healthy fats like avocado, salmon fish and olive oil as well as plenty of lean meats, poultry and lots of vegetables and fruits.
Getting a good night’s sleep plays a vital role in ensuring good health and contributes to our overall well-being. Good quality sleep is critical for physical and mental health as well as improving one’s quality of life. Not only that research also discovered that people who get at least six to seven hours of sleep every night tend to have lower measures of belly fat.
This is because, when we get enough sleep, our body tends to have a better metabolism that will help burn fat more efficiently. The rationale behind this is that a body that is deprived of sleep burns calories at a slower rate to preserve energy.
In conclusion, belly fat is not something to fear but also not to be taken lightly. As emphasized in the opening, it is best to practice moderation and be responsible for our health. Ultimately, getting a head start in cutting down on belly fat now can save you from many health risks later in life.