Losing belly fat can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. With a few positive lifestyle changes and hard work, getting rid of that unwanted abdominal can happen. And for many Americans, that loss can be a matter of life or death, since having excess belly fat is a dangerous health issue that isn’t talked about enough. Dr. Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA explains, “There are two types of fat in the body: the softer kind that’s right beneath the surface is called Subcutaneous fat. This is the kind you can pinch. Then there’s the harder kind that’s stored deeper in your abdomen and wrapped around organs called visceral fat. Visceral fat is the kind you have to be concerned about since it’s connected to a slew of health issues like insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of cancer.” Eat This, Not That! Health talked to several experts who revealed proven methods that help decrease your waist size and you get back to your target weight. Read on for all six—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Dr. Sepehr Lalezari Surgeon and Weight Loss Specialist with Dignity Health St. Mary in Long Beach states, “Visceral fat is an important topic to discuss. It is associated with a wide array of health problems and is linked to several deadly and dangerous diseases like metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There are differences in fat deposition. Subcutaneous fat is the fat that is under the skin and visceral fat is the fat that is deep inside of the abdomen and envelops our vital organs and there is even a veil of fat that covers our intestines and serves as the body’s defense mechanism to bowel injury or infections.”
Erin Mahoney, a personal trainer and founder EMAC Certifications explains, “Research states that any lifestyle change that promotes total body fat will also result in the loss of visceral fat. However, age, gender, and other less controllable factors will determine the percentage of total fat loss compared to visceral fat loss. Therefore, when attempting to lose visceral fat loss, it can be argued that healthy lifestyle changes that an individual finds enjoyable and can be sustained prevail in terms of visceral fat loss. This is because it translates to consistency and long-term adherence. For example, a calorie restriction diet that works with an individual’s lifestyle and food preferences is more preferable than a short term diet plan. Similarly, exercise that someone enjoys and even looks forward to completing because it promotes feelings of mastery and self efficacy will offer intrinsic motivation, making it more likely to continue the exercise.”
Mahoney states, “There is research that supports the applications of high intensity interval training on visceral fat loss. Most of the research suggests the impact of HIIT on visceral fat loss is related to the time efficiency of the exercise. However, HIIT can also promote the development of lean body mass (muscle) which can have a positive effect on the reduction of visceral fat. Another positive benefit of HIIT is its impact on appetite (satiety). HIIT training has been shown to decrease caloric intake on days where this type of exercise is performed.”
Sandy Younan Brikho, MDA, RDN, a Registered Dietitian with The Dish On Nutrition says, “We can all make 100 changes to our lifestyle or our diets, but if you focus on too many at the same time, it will be challenging to keep up with them all, especially when you are already so busy. The biggest recommendation I can make is to focus on only ONE small change you want to make, master that by making it into a new habit, and then, pick your next small change. That is the secret to getting long-term results that LAST!”
According to Hutchinson, “Not getting enough sleep can cause fluctuations in your hunger hormones resulting in sugar and carbohydrate cravings. This can lead to more unwanted abdominal obesity making it hard to get rid off.”
Sylvia Klinger, DBA, MS, RD says, “As a dietitian with a passion to really help my clients who struggle with obesity and overweight, I wish there was a food or foods that can directly burn fat. But, in reality there is no such food. However, what we know is that a combination of foods and lifestyle habits can help you lose weight and ultimately reduce belly fat. With that in mind here is a list of foods that can help you lose weight resulting in a reduction of belly fat. That said, Cereals with more than 3 grams of fiber per serving are considered an excellent source of fiber. Why is fiber so important for losing weight? First, the fiber helps you feel fuller for an extended time resulting in a calorie intake reduction. Fiber also improves digestion, has been proven to lower cholesterol, and is linked to lower a number of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease.”
She adds, “Fruits are a powerhouse of nutrients such as potassium, fiber, and vitamin C, which are some of the top nutrients found in fruits. Some people worry about the “sugar” content, but there is nothing to worry about. The small natural sugar content is actually beneficial to us and provides the energy our body needs to function properly. Most fruits have a small amount of natural sugars, which doesn’t compare to a piece of candy. And the nutrients can help you to keep your weight within range while boosting your immune system.”
And according to Klinger, “Beans, lentils and other beans are another way to increase your fiber intake. Beans also pair really well with many foods and the benefits are endless. Adding beans to a weight loss diet is a smart move. Research on beans has proven that not only do you get protein, iron, fiber, many important vitamins and minerals, they also may help you live longer. The Blue Zones study demonstrated that centenarians ate about a ½ cup of beans regularly, which played a significant role in their longevity and overall health, which included a weight within range.”
Hutchinson suggests cutting out sugar and offers ideas on how to eliminate it.
- “Sugar is a very dangerous product and we tend to over consume it more than usual in the U.S.
- Infused water instead of sodas and juices because those products have added sugars that can spike insulin levels that will cause weight gain long term.
- Make your own salad dressing with olive oils and vinegars instead of store bought with added sugars and preservatives. Great way to cut belly fat.
- Dark Chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Milk chocolate has way too much sugar
- Sub in sweet potatoes and quinoa for white rice, breads, and pasta because they contain spike insulin levels and create fat storage.” And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.