Ways to Fix Your Belly Fat Fast
Has your belly fat crept up over the years? If so, don't panic—you're not alone. "Although obesity rates in the United States have stabilized somewhat in recent years after decades of increase, belly fat is becoming more common among U.S. adults," says James de Lemos, MD. "Belly fat is the most dangerous kind of fat because it develops in the abdominal region and can surround internal organs. Research at UT Southwestern, which was led by my former colleague Dr. Ian Neeland, has shown that this kind of fat puts people at greater risk for developing several kinds of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, liver problems, some types of cancer, and risk for sudden death." That sounds scary, but there are absolutely ways within your control to get rid of belly fat—fast. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Curb the Carbs
If your diet consists of junk food, sugar-laden products and excessive amounts of alcohol, visceral fat is practically a given. Kerry Stewart, Ed.D. , director of Clinical and Research Physiology at Johns Hopkins recommends restricting carbs to lose fat. "When Johns Hopkins researchers compared the effects on the heart of losing weight through a low-carbohydrate diet versus a low-fat diet for six months—each containing the same amount of calories—those on a low-carb diet lost an average of 10 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet—28.9 pounds versus 18.7 pounds," Stewart and Johns Hopkins Health explain. "Ultimately, you need to pick a healthy eating plan you can stick to. The benefit of a low-carb approach is that it simply involves learning better food choices—no calorie-counting is necessary. In general, a low-carb way of eating shifts your intake away from problem foods—those high in carbs and sugar and without much fiber, like bread, bagels and sodas—and toward high-fiber or high-protein choices, like vegetables, beans and healthy meats."
Move It To Lose It
One thing belly fat really responds well to? Exercise. "The single most important thing people can do to prevent the buildup of belly fat and get rid of existing belly fat is commit to physical activity, and better yet, a physical lifestyle," say endocrinologist Rasa Kazlauskaite, MD, and physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist Sheila Dugan, MD. "For both men and women, the first fat you lose when you exercise is visceral fat. In a way, moderate-intensity physical activity is that 'magic pill' a lot of people are looking for, because the health benefits go beyond keeping your waistline trim: Not only can it reduce your risk of cancer, stroke, diabetes and heart attacks, but studies have shown that physical activity can significantly improve the moods of patients with major depressive disorders."
Change Your Attitude
"Losing weight begins with a mental challenge," says certified personal trainer Eric Samaniego. "You must first make the decision to want to work at this. Also, think of attitude as a synonym for 'willpower,' 'stress management' and even 'mindfulness.' Our mental capacity of influencing a lifestyle change plays an enormous role in our ability to succeed. Don't underestimate the need for a truly strong positive attitude. This is an endurance event, not a sprint."
Let Go Of Stress
Stress creates cortisol, and cortisol helps add inches to your waist. "When you feel stressed, it's because something in your life is going on and you simply can't let go of it until it's resolved," says certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist Fred Sassani. "Unfortunately, when you don't let go of stress, fat doesn't let go of you. It's due to the chemical cortisol, which is released by your body when you're facing stress. Harmless as a hormone may seem, this one kicks your appetite into gear and may even make it harder for your body to shed fat. So relax and help your waistline slim down."
Sleep More, Weigh Less
"Going to sleep is not exciting. Doing it feels like you're doing nothing. But when you're in the battle against the belly bulge, getting quality sleep every night is key," says Sassani. "How important is it? When researchers concluded 16 years of research into the health of nearly 70,000 women, they saw that the women who slept five or fewer hours every night were at a 30% increased risk for gaining 30 pounds than those who got seven hours of shuteye on a nightly basis." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.