Tips for Women Who Want to Lose Abdominal Fat
Having a slim waistline doesn't just make you feel good, but it could help you live longer and here's why. There's two types of belly fat: subcutaneous, which is the fat you can see and pinch and visceral, which is considered more dangerous because it wraps around your organs leading to major health issues like stroke, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and more, Getting rid of visceral fat is important for maintaining overall good health and while melting away stubborn belly fat can be more challenging for women, it's not impossible. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with health experts who give tips for women wanting to lose abdominal fat. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Why it's Harder for Women to Lose Belly Fat
Reda Elmardi, a Registered Dietician, Certified Nutritionist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Trainer and owner of thegymgoat.com explains,
- "Women have a higher percentage of body fat than men. This means that they are more likely to store fat around their midsection.
- Men tend to burn calories at a faster rate than women. This can lead to weight loss.
- Women's bodies produce less testosterone than men's bodies. Testosterone has been linked to increased muscle mass and decreased fat storage.
- Women have smaller muscles than men. Smaller muscles mean less calorie-burning potential.
- Women have a lower metabolic rate than men. This means they need fewer calories to maintain their current weight."
Why Visceral Fat is Dangerous
According to Elmardi, "Visceral fat is simply defined as fat that surrounds your organs, including your liver, kidneys, heart, pancreas, spleen, stomach, intestines, etc. Visceral fat is the type of fat that can cause serious health problems. This kind of fat is metabolically active and produces hormones called adipokines. Adipokines are chemicals that affect how your body uses food, burns calories, controls blood sugar levels, regulates inflammation, and even affects mood. In other words, visceral fat has a huge impact on your overall health and well-being. The good news is that visceral fat is not permanent. You can lose it through exercise and diet changes. But if you don't do anything about it, it will just keep coming back. And once again, this fat is metabolically active. So it's like having a second layer of skin that keeps getting thicker over time."
What's Considered Too Much Belly Fat and How to Measure it?
Elmardi says, "Waist measurement is used to determine if someone has too much abdominal fat. To do this, wrap a tape measure tightly around your abdomen at the level of your natural waist (the narrowest point). Your natural waist should be about 1 inch above your hip bone. If your waist size is larger than 35 inches, then you have too much belly fat. Also, the body mass index is a calculation based on weight and height. It is used to determine whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal; 25-29.9 is overweight; and 30 or higher is obese. The amount of belly fat you have is determined by two factors: 1) Body mass index (BMI), and 2) Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. A BMI of 25 or higher indicates obesity. WHR is calculated by dividing your waist circumference by your hip circumference. A WHR above 0.9 indicates excessive abdominal fat."
Have a High Quality Source of Protein at Every Meal and Snack
Roxana Ehsani,MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics emphasizes, "to spread out your intake of protein evenly throughout the day and into each meal and snack you consume. People tend to eat small amounts of protein for breakfast and lunch, then a big portion of protein at dinner, but to lose belly fat, it's important to spread your intake of protein out evenly. Our bodies don't store extra protein, so if you eat too much protein in one sitting it will be stored as fat. Protein keeps you full for longer, it has a satiating effect. It takes longer for your body to digest, and actually requires you to burn calories to digest it! So eating it throughout the day and at each meal time will ensure you stay full for longer, which can help you lose weight AND will help you burn more after eating it too!"
Find an Activity you Enjoy and do it Regularly for Exercise
Ehsani says, "Oftentimes we push ourselves to do something we don't enjoy to do exercise, but that never lasts long. It's best to find an activity or form of movement you enjoy so you can stick to it and do it often! Staying active regularly is key to losing unwanted belly fat."
Elmardi adds, "Exercise daily. You don't have to go to the gym or do any kind of strenuous exercise. Just get out and walk around. Walk briskly for 30 minutes at least three times a week."
Eat More Fiber Rich Foods
According to Ehsani, "Fiber keeps us full for longer, supports a healthy gut and when incorporated into each meal and snack, can help you lose unwanted belly fat too! Eating foods rich in dietary fiber is essential for keeping you full for longer, which can help you lose belly fat. You don't need to add a fiber supplement or eat foods with added fiber, but choose foods naturally high in dietary fiber. When choosing grains, choose whole wheat bread, brown rice and whole wheat pasta to get more fiber. Adding more variety of fruits and veggies into each meal and snack you are eating. Fruits and veggies are our lowest calorie food, dietary fiber rich and high in volume, so you can eat many servings of it, and fill up on it. Also adding more beans, lentils, nuts and seeds into your diet is a great way to increase your fiber consumption too!"
Drink More Water
Elmardi emphasizes, "Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush toxins from your system and keeps you hydrated. Try drinking 8 glasses of water a day."
Get Your Stress in Check
Elmardi says, "Stress causes cortisol levels to rise, which increases appetite and makes you want to consume food. When you feel stressed, take deep breaths and relax."