Belly fat, a common culprit in the fitness world. Although, many of us may never experience the eluded “six-pack” it is not impossible to cut down your waist size. However, in order to do that, you must understand where visceral fat (commonly known as belly fat) derives from. Why do some people struggle more than others?
Genetics plays the primary role
Your body type, shape or structure will dictate how easily it is for you to attain fatty tissue in the abdominal area. Broadly speaking, there are two main body types: pear and apple. A pear shape body is more susceptible to putting weight on in the lower body (hips and thighs) where the apple shape body is more prone to adding weight around the abdomen- visceral fat. Unfortunately, this is the more dangerous type of fat because visceral fat contributes to insulin resistance and inflammation and is linked to diabetes and heart disease although it is not quite understood why. For those that are more susceptible to belly fat, maintenance and control are key.
We cannot isolate where we burn fat
It is a common misconception that by doing extra core work we can trim down our belly size. While it is true that exercise reduces fat, we cannot pick and choose where we lose the fat from. Our body breaks down that fat somewhat evenly, although our central region is usually last. Core exercises play an important role in creating a trimmed down shape and are highly important for maintaining posture and reducing low back pain. Don’t get discouraged, continue with your core exercises but understand that there are more steps to reducing belly size than that.
Stress causes visceral fat
A hormone called cortisol that is released when our bodies experience stress relocates fat cells to the abdomen, increases appetite and cravings for sugar. When the body reacts to stress it releases several hormones to regulate the body in preparation to fight or flight. In short term this is a survival mechanism and relatively harmless but if the body remains in the sympathetic mode- aka chronic stress- our bodies react negatively. Although we do not have control over the events that happen to us, we can choose to control how we respond. Take time out to re-balance through yoga or meditation and remember to take 10 slow, deep breaths before reacting to something that may spike your stress levels.
Diet makes up 80% of your fitness goals
Do you want to lose that fat around your belly? It starts in the kitchen. Greasy, fatty and sugary foods only add to the storage of fat. Making healthy food choices will change your life drastically and not just by losing weight. So when the question comes up, “how do i lose my belly fat?” the truest answer is, “be mindful of what you eat.” Yes, food can be delightful and fun and a great way to keep in touch with each other, but remember that modesty is key. Each time you sit down for a meal ask yourself whether this is for fuel, entertainment, or if there is some other underlying factor such as boredom or depression. It is important that you enjoy yourself but your body needs fuel and it is even more vital that we eat the right foods to keep our bodies trim and running effectively.
Workout of the month to target belly fat
*Practice daily and work up to 1 minute each
- leg lifts
- Swiss ball oblique crunches, hip raises, and pikes