The problem of how to lose belly fat is really one of insulin resistance and cortisol control, rather than of abdominal exercise or certain foods. While there are many gimmicks about how to get rid of unflattering belly fat, there’s no “magic bullet” that targets abdominal fat in particular. This article explains the causes and cure for an expanding waistline.
What are the risks associated with abdominal fat?
Belly fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Visceral Fat is the deepest layer of belly fat (the fat you can’t see or grab) and poses greater health risks than fat in other places. These giant fat cells sit between organs in your abdomen producing hormones and other substances that increase risks of insulin resistance, breast cancer and heart disease. Sitting next to the liver, they can cause a fatty liver – a risk factor for insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes
Research shows a waist measurement of more than 35 inches (women) and 40 inches (men) is one of the insulin resistance symptoms.
Belly fat is often part of a bigger weight loss problem, though not always. Losing weight on it’s own, doesn’t always address the problem.
Get rid of it for good
Generally, people try to spot burn their belly fat with sit-ups and crunches. But stomach fat is not caused by lack of muscle tone. Aerobic exercise will facilitate fat loss all over your body, including your belly, and it’s usually the first to burn off when you exercise, regardless of your body shape.
Increased oxygen from increasing aerobic capacity improves insulin sensitivity and therefore gets to the core of the problem.
Weight training exercise
While toning up abdominal muscles does little to directly target belly fat, increasing muscle mass overall does increase metabolism and speed up weight loss. It also reduces stress levels and improves cortisol control.
Change your diet
Because controlling insulin is key to how to lose belly fat, steering away from simple carbohydrates will make a big difference. Of course if you are overweight as well, reducing calories overall is important.
Swap refined grains for whole grains and include fruit and vegetables, protein and good fats. These foods burn more slowly, allowing the pancreas to control the release of insulin, preventing insulin spikes. When insulin no longer floods the body, it can gradually respond better and become more sensitive again.
Including monounsaturated fats (avocados, nuts, seeds, olives) slows down insulin release and satisfies hunger. In fact, fats don’t trigger insulin at all. Omega 3 fats reduce triglycerides and help protect the liver from becoming fatty (insulin resistance symptoms). They also help to reduce cortisol.
Trans fats (in margarine and partially hydrogenated oils) increase the risk of fatty liver and abdominal fat.