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Are You a Man With "Too Much" Abdominal Fat? Here's How to Lose it

Here's four ways to tighten up your waistline. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Putting on weight is one of the easiest things to do, especially during the last couple of years when our lives were completely disrupted. The 'Quarantine 15' is real and John Morton, MD, MPH, MHA, medical director of bariatric surgery at Yale New Haven Health System says, "We are definitely seeing weight gain," Dr. Morton says. "You can put on 30 pounds really quickly—you can do it in three months." That said, it's time to get back into shape and drop the excess weight. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Hector Perez, a board-certified general and bariatric surgeon with Bariatric Journal who shares how much belly fat is too much for men and how to lose it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


How to Measure Abdominal Fat and What's Too Much

Doctor measuring obese man waist body fat.

Dr. Perez explains, "A common way people use to judge if they have too much abdominal fat is to measure their waistline with a tape measure. Men are considered to have too much abdominal fat if they have a waist measurement of more than 40 inches, while women are considered to have too much abdominal fat if they have a waist measurement of more than 35 inches. Having these measurements is generally considered unhealthy and puts you at greater risk for various health conditions.

To get more accurate results, however, you can get a CT, MRI, or DEXA scan to measure your abdominal fat. These are generally considered more accurate methods, but they're also more expensive and not as readily available. Doctors will usually only recommend these tests if they suspect you have a serious health condition related to your abdominal fat."


Why Belly Fat is Unhealthy


Dr. Perez tells us, "Carrying too much abdominal fat is generally considered unhealthy because it's associated with a greater risk of developing various health conditions. These include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Abdominal fat also produces hormones and substances that can contribute to inflammation, which has been linked to a variety of health problems."


A Healthy Diet

eat fiber foods

Dr. Perez reminds us, "Fixing your diet is one of the most effective ways to lose abdominal fat. Eating a diet that's high in whole foods, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, and low in processed foods can help you shed pounds all over, including from your belly. Make sure to also limit refined carbs, sugary drinks, and excessive alcohol intake, as these can all contribute to excess abdominal fat.


Regular Exercise

mature couple jogging outdoors

"A healthy diet alone isn't enough to lose abdominal fat," Dr. Perez emphasizes. "You'll also need to incorporate regular exercise into your routine. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio per day, and include strength training a few days per week as well. These activities help burn calories and can lead to overall weight loss, which will reduce the amount of fat stored in your abdomen."


Get 7-9 Hours of Quality Sleep

man sleeping in bright room

According to Dr. Perez, "One of the most important but often overlooked aspects of losing abdominal fat is getting enough sleep. Most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night, but many people get far less than that. When you're tired or have low energy levels, you're more likely to make poor food choices and be less active, both of which can contribute to weight gain. So make sure you're getting enough shut-eye each night to help support your weight loss efforts."



man experiencing high stress doing work, panic attack

Dr. Perez says, "Experiencing high levels of stress can also lead to weight gain. When you're stressed, your body releases cortisol, a stress hormone that can trigger your appetite. This is why people often turn to food for comfort when they're feeling stressed. Find ways to manage your stress levels through relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation, and make an effort to reduce the amount of stress in your life."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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