Look around and you’ll see uncountable people trying to trim down their belly fat through dieting or rigorous “belly-reducing exercises”. Most of the time, the calling is to look better. Having said that, reducing belly fat has some real health benefits, a long life is one of the many. But did you know shedding belly fat is easier than you think? Here we shed light on the always-so-hot topic of belly fat!
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What’s Behind Your Prospering Belly!
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about belly fat.
Q: Is belly fat different from the fat found elsewhere in the body?
Yes. While the fat found on your arms, hips, and most of the body is subcutaneous, belly fat is more likely to be visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the “PINCHABLE fat” that you can see, it’s located just between the skin and the muscle. Whereas, visceral fat is “HIDDEN fat” that wraps around your abdominal organs. Visceral fat is notorious as it interferes with hormonal balance and normal body functioning.
Q: Is belly fat hard to lose?
Not really. The visceral fat is in fact the first fat you lose. This is because the area around the belly is in proximity to the liver and thus has a faster metabolism.
Q: What is one thing that I must do to lose belly fat?
Sit less and move more. Find ways to get moving. Set a timer on your phone to remind you to get up every hour or so. You don’t need to do complicated workouts. Even brisk walking can help.
Along with exercise, a diet that’s tailored according to your food choices and health status can make it easier to reach your weight loss goals.
Q: Is it possible to target belly fat specifically?
The concept of focussing only on troublesome body areas, rather than exercising the entire body is called spot reduction. It follows the false belief that engaging a specific muscle will lead to fat loss in that area of the body. However, most scientific evidence shows that targeting belly fat only is not effective and overall weight loss is the most ideal way to lose belly fat.
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Q: Can skinny people have belly fat too?
Yes. You can look skinny or have a healthy body mass index but still have fat accumulated around your belly. Fat is visible in most people. However, research shows that MRIs and CT scans have shown that many skinny people have hidden layers of belly fat too.
Your Checklist To Get Rid of Belly Fat
1. Cut down on trans fats (packaged foods)
Fats are important for the normal functioning of the body but getting them from packaged foods is not a good idea. Instead, keep taking healthy fats like nuts, seeds, etc to manage weight. Also, replace bread, sodas, and all such packaged foods with low-carb, high-fiber options such as vegetables, lean meat, and whole grains.
2. Practise mindful eating
Thanks to our bust lifestyle, we don’t even have time to eat our meals peacefully. Most often than not we grab our meal as we chat on the phone or scroll through our mobile which can affect your aim of healthy weight control. Make sure to chew your food and taste it which not only helps you to eat to the fullest but also avoid unhealthy cravings and aid in weight loss.
3. Exercise for at least 30 mins for 5 days a week.
The best way to lose belly fat is by following a simple, effective 15-minute high-intensity exercise regimen. High-intensity workouts like burpees, squats, lunges, etc which combine cardio and strength training can help you burn calories in a short span of time. It also helps in improving metabolism and endurance. If not, then you can even try simple exercises like brisk walking for 30 minutes or indulge in any sports or swimming to sweat it out.
4. Get enough sleep to boost your metabolic rate.
Did you know lack of sleep or sleeping on an altered schedule is an independent risk factor for gaining weight? This is because, when you are sleep deprived, you tend to eat more calories, mostly from carbohydrate-rich snacks rather than meals, causing you to gain weight. So make sure you get your daily dose of beauty sleep to keep your weight in check.
5. Learn stress management
Believe it or not, stress decreases chances to manage weight loss as it triggers stress eating and increases the production of the stress hormone Cortisol, which also increases belly fat storage leading to an increase in weight. To manage stress listen to music, try meditation, opt for breathing techniques, try yoga, or indulge in a hobby.
Remember, losing belly fat can reduce your risk of several long-term health conditions including diabetes and heart disease. Be wary of the false facts and aim for healthy weight loss in the right way.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)