Men or women, no matter what body shape you possess, excess fats is bad news. Besides fats residing in our thighs and hips, excess fats surrounding our mid section in particular, contains substances that poses serious health risks. We are talking about the deep layer of intra-abdominal fat or visceral fat that lies beneath the soft layer of body fat (subcutaneous body fat). If you poke your belly, the fat that feels soft is subcutaneous fat. Visceral or intra-abdominal fat beneath the firm abdominal wall is found in the spaces surrounding the liver, intestines, and other organs. This layer gets harder and thicker as it fills with fats. Some of the health issues associated with visceral fat include:
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Disrupted energy balance
Ways to Keep Visceral Fat at Bay
Just Keep Moving!
Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days, take a brisk walk, or slow jog, cut down on screen time (unless you are up on your feet!). Cardiovascular workout helps trim visceral fat or prevent its growth with both aerobic activity and strength training (exercising with weights, including bodyweight). There is, however, no such thing as spot reduction - exercises such as sit-ups (aka chest lifts in Pilates classes), can tighten abdominal muscles but won't get at visceral fat. Go for total body workout. Check out our Wire Waist Workout Plan.
Kilojoules In, Kilojoules Out.
Choose a balanced diet that matches your activity level to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Kilojoules in, kilojoules out - it is as simple as that. Cut down products that seem to encourage belly fat deposition, including alcohol, snacks full of trans fats, fructose-sweetened foods and beverages. I understand these can be important mood elevators to some, but the key phrase here is cut down.
Get Your Beauty Sleep.
Too little is bad and too much is not good either. Knowing how much sleep you need for your age is crucial. A study found that adults under age 40 who slept five hours or less a night accumulated significantly more visceral fat and young adults who slept more than eight hours also added visceral fat. Observing good sleep hygiene like turning off all electronics when it is time for bed, avoid eating a full meal just before bedtime, stretching and releasing your tension spots may also help.
Mind Your Mood.
Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol were associated with a buildup of visceral fat. Anger is the other powerful emotion that renders many individuals out of control and detached from their normal and orthodox behaviors. Try practicing mindful breathing and movement, meditate, etc.
Forget Quick Fix.
Liposuction for cosmetic fat removal doesn't reach inside the abdominal wall. Not to mention hundreds and thousands of meal plans/drinks with phony weight loss claims.
Here's a 5-minute Gut Check: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy WHR is: 0.9 or less in men. 0.85 or less for women. How do you measure? Use your waist measurement and divide it by your hip measurement.