Excess weight gain of any kind can be unhealthy, however, weight gain in the midsection can be dangerously unhealthy. Belly fat is linked to a variety of serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. However, the road to losing this stubborn “visceral” fat is not impossible. Developing a healthy diet, exercise routine, and getting enough sleep all play a major role in effectively reducing belly fat.
Determining Your Risk Factor
A simple test can reveal whether or not your belly fat falls into the danger zone. Simply measure your waistline starting at the top of your hip bones. For women, the measurement should not exceed 35 inches, for men, no more than 40 inches. If you measure above 35 or 40 inches don’t panic, losing the extra belly fat is still very doable. The perfect combination of eating the right foods and moderate exercise is your simple antidote.
Diet is a key component to successfully losing belly fat. A balanced diet will not only reduce the extra fat in your midsection but also help reduce inflammation and your chances of developing heart disease. Foods with monounsaturated fats are a healthier choice to help reduce belly fat. Additionally, choosing low-glycemic foods that do not cause spikes in your blood sugar levels are also a good choice. The glycemic index is a rating with a range that tops out at 100. Foods with a rating of 55 or less are considered good, low glycemic choices. Low glycemic foods keep blood sugar levels stable, conversely, foods that have high glycemic levels spike blood sugar and trigger the release of cortisol. Cortisol is instrumental in the production of excess belly fat.
The Sleep Factor
Lack of sleep is another producer of excess belly fat. When you don’t get enough sleep you produce a hormone called ghrelin which in turn creates sugar craving as well as cravings for other high-fat foods. At least 7 hours of sleep nightly should be the goal. The stress hormone cortisol is produced when your body is tired which negatively impacts belly fat.
Although many people think that crunches, sit-ups, and other exercises that target the midsection will whittle away belly fat, this is untrue. Exercises that utilize many muscle groups are actually more effective at burning belly fat. Even an exercise as simple as walking several times a week is effective at reducing belly fat. If a busy schedule makes it difficult to get exercise utilize every opportunity you can to walk and stretch. Even changing golf cart shocks provides an opportunity to get a little exercise.
It doesn’t take a fancy diet or extreme exercises to lose belly fat. Developing a healthy diet and consistent, moderate exercises that utilize multiple muscle groups can be very effective. Add a healthy lifestyle choice like getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night and you are on your way to a slim and healthy midsection.