I discovered about a year or so ago what belly fat ACTUALLY was and I was simply amazed. Recently, I decided to research this topic a little more and was shocked to find what I had learned. The truth is, belly fat is actually the layer of fat that is below the skin, AND it’s visceral fat, which is located only in the abdomen, and surrounds your vital organs. Visceral fat is some pretty nasty stuff.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat that we always think about; it’s the layer of fat just under the skin. This fat has the cellulite, gives us a pear shape, flabby arms—you get the picture. Many of us think it’s unpleasant to look at on our thighs, for instance, but, in comparison to visceral fat, it’s pretty harmless. When people are using the famous body wraps to get rid of fat, it is subcutaneous fat that they are getting rid of. You can get rid of subcutaneous fat by exercising, including weight training, eating healthy, and/or body wrapping.
On the other hand, visceral fat is deadly. Seriously, no jokes at all—visceral fat is a killer. When all these medical reports come out talking about belly fat increasing your risks for stroke and heart attack, they are referring to visceral fat. This fatty tissue wraps itself around the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas–all of your internal organs and it is even laced through muscle. And here’s the clencher–this nasty belly fat secretes toxins into the bloodstream! AND it increases production of cortisol, which is the hormone that is secreted when we are stressed.
Even in people who are of normal weight for their age, sex, and body type, increased belly fat (some subcutaneous, but mainly visceral) has still been linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insomnia, depression, sexual dysfunction, type II diabetes, some cancers such as breast cancer and colorectal cancer, and premature death. And it gets worse with age. By the time we reach age 30, we need to be concerned about keeping belly fat to a minimum, and definitely by age 50. Some researchers say that there is an easy way to tell if you most likely have too much belly fat—measure your waistline. Women with waistlines 35 inches or more and men with waistlines 40 inches or more most likely have too much belly fat (regardless of their weight).
So, if you always feel bloated, maybe you’re not bloated because of food, gas, or decreased elimination. Maybe it’s visceral fat. If you’ve done plank after plank and crunch after crunch and still have belly fat, maybe it’s visceral fat. If you have wrapped yourself silly, but haven’t made any other lifestyle changes, you probably have lost all the subcutaneous fat you’re going to lose, and now you need to get rid of the visceral fat.
If you eat a high fat diet, high sugar diet, and/or a lot of cheese and a lot of butter, you are mostly likely GROWING your belly fat.
So, assuming you want to get a handle on your love handles and eliminate unnecessary belly fat, here are some natural remedies for combating belly fat (check with your doctor before trying any):
1. A low-fat, high fiber diet has been known to help. Lemons, apples, bananas, green tea, fish, nuts, cayenne pepper, vinegar, and vegetables, have all been sited as helping to decrease and control belly fat. Sugar, however, is not your friend.
2. Aerobic activity of at least 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes a day/5 days per week helps to eliminate visceral fat quickly–actually, IMMEDIATELY (within a half and hour of starting aerobic exercise). How? Visceral fat, as bad as it is, goes through metabolic changes when you engage in aerobic activity and it is then used as energy. Then, when you reduce your calories, visceral fat begins to be digested. And, by the way, total visceral fat isn’t measured in inches, it’s measured in volume, so the loss isn’t seen right away, but it IS happening. (Or you can take your chances with liposuction.)
3. Strength training helps to build the core, and the resistance helps to build abdominal muscles and burn subcutaneous fat. This may not help to decrease visceral fat, but when combined with aerobic activity, can decrease your waistline dramatically. (That’s what most of us want anyway, right?)
4. Portion control is important. Even if someone eats something really healthy, the calories can still add up.
5. If you’re overweight, select a plan for losing the extra pounds—today.
I hope this helps.
To health & happiness,
If you liked this post, check out this post: Ladies, Is Your Man In A Funk?
And, be sure to check out my book: Grown & Virtuous: 28 Simple Lessons To Unveil the Spiritual Diva In You.