One of the things I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older is my belly fat just doesn’t want to budge. First, I noticed the fat creeping up my waist in my forties. It’s like it took on a life of its own. Then it started moving up my back, like the length of my back was getting shorter. No matter how much I’ve exercised and how much weight I’ve lost, the middle part of my body just doesn’t seem proportionate with the rest of my body anymore.
So after doing a lot of research on the Internet and on academic databases, I’ve learned there are a few things people can do to burn belly fat. Although they’re probably things you’ve already heard before, I’m going to list them here anyway.
Many health experts suggest you cut your caloric intake by about 250 calories a day and divide the three meals you’re eating into five to six smaller meals. Eating smaller meals throughout the day will help keep your metabolism working efficiently.
Meals should consist of mostly complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and a few nuts. Avoid bad carbohydrates like processed foods, sugar, and white flour. Choose from lean sources of protein such as low-fat or non-fat dairy and lean cuts of meat.
Exercise More and Do Strength Training
To see a flat stomach, be sure to get at least 60 minutes of exercise five days a week. Doing spot exercises to reduce stomach fat will probably not help you lose visceral fat from the middle. However, exercises like sit-ups will help tone the muscles you have.
Be sure to life weights a few times a week. As you age, you’re likely to naturally lose muscle, and strength training will help you increase muscle mass.
Take Vitamin Supplements
According to the Livestrong article “How to Lose Belly Fat If You Are Over Fifty,” taking a daily omega-3 supplement and a multi-vitamin daily will help control leptin levels, which will help you lose weight. Before taking any supplements, make sure to check with your doctor first, especially if you’re taking any prescription drugs.
Why Do I Have Belly Fat?
According to a Harvard newsletter article “Abdominal Fat and What to do About It,” as people age they just become more naturally fat around the middle. Middle age women especially experience a change in their body shape even if they don’t gain any weight. The change in their body shape also has a lot to do with changing hormones.
Unfortunately, as the body ages and waistlines grow so do the health risks. Visceral fat, the fat that usually accumulates around the waist and around the organs, is a major concern because it has been linked to metabolic problems and increased risk for type II diabetes and heart disease. In women, there is an increased risk for breast cancer and gallbladder surgery.
Subcutaneous fat–the stuff you can pinch–is not as much as a health risk compared to visceral fat, though it’s still ugly and uncomfortable.
If you want to read more about belly fat, check out the Harvard article by clicking here. There is a lot of interesting information about lower belly fat and visceral fat. There is also information about how to calculate hip to waist ratios to determine what health risks you may have.
How do you feel about stomach fat and its health risks? Do you have any suggestions for getting a flat stomach?