Everyone has some belly fat, it’s natural, yet we all want to know how to lose belly fat, usually because we feel uncomfortable in our clothes or unsightly when undressed. The truth is belly fat can affect our health in a way that other fat doesn’t. Some of our fat is right under our skin. Other fat is deep inside, around our heart, lungs, liver and other organs. This deeper fat is called ‘visceral fat’ and having too much of it puts us at risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and some cancers. The fat doesn’t just sit there; it is busy making lots of nasty substances that attack our health.
How Much Belly Fat Do You Have?
When we gain too much fat our body starts to store our fat in unusual places. When the regular areas are too full of fat the fat is deposited into the organs and around the heart. To measure your own fat wrap a measuring tape around your tummy at the belly button and check your girth, while standing. For health’s sake your waist size should be less than 35 inches for a woman and less than 40 inches for a man.
Fight Fat with Food
The first step to losing belly fat is eating the right foods. Exercise is also important and I will write about the best exercise to do in my next blog, How to Lost Belly Fat-Part Two, however flat abs start in the kitchen, not in the gym. Obviously we want to keep our calories in a healthy range and avoid foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar. Research also shows that eating more of certain foods can help us to burn excess visceral fat and pave our way to a smaller, flatter middle.
We do need healthy fats in our diet. They provide essential fatty acids, keep our skin soft, deliver fat-soluble vitamins, and are a great source of energizing fuel. Polyunsaturated fats increase levels of two hormones that signal our brain when we’re full, reducing the urge to over eat. Research shows that people who eat more monounsaturated fats gained no visceral fat over the course of the study, while those who ate less monounsaturated fats and more carbs added fat to their midsections. Polyunsaturated fats are found in oily fish, walnuts, pine nuts and soy milk. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, peanut butter and peanut oil, nuts and avocados. Reduce Saturated Fats, which will increase our waist size and are contained in the skin of chicken, full fat dairy, lard, ice-cream, sausages and franks. Avoid Trans Fats, which are incredibly unhealthy for us, found in commercially baked pastries, cookies and doughnuts, margarine, fried foods, candy bars and processed/frozen meals.
Low Fat Dairy
When our body is low on calcium it produces a hormone that signals the body to store visceral fat. Meeting our recommended daily calcium needs, (1,000mgs for adults) can help reduce this hormone. Calcium helps to break down fat and may even stop it from forming. Choose fat free/skimmed milk and low fat yogurts and cheeses. Feta, Goats cheese and Parmesan are all naturally lower in fat than other cheeses. Have a cup/ ½ pint/284mls of fat free milk a day, along with one cup of low fat natural/0% Fat Greek yogurt and 2ozs/60g of low fat cheese.
A diet rich in whole grains changes the glucose and insulin response in our body to hasten the fat burning process. The right kinds of carbs are good for us and can help us to lose belly fat. Choose carbs that are high in fibre as they fill us up for longer. The key word to look for is whole! Whole wheat, whole meal, whole grain, for bread, pasta, rice and noodles. Avoid white grains.
Eggs contain vitamin B12, which our body needs to metabolize fat. In fact research found that people who ate eggs for breakfast every day lost more belly fat than those who skipped breakfast or ate cereal at breakfast time. For more information on eggs and how good they are for us check out my article http://veras5.com/eggs-good/.
Consistently drinking water throughout the day can lead to a more active metabolism. Drinking more water also helps our body to flush out waste/toxins and improves our overall health. Aim to drink at least 2lts/5 large glasses of water per day. Carrying a water bottle with you can help to remind you to drink water. If you are serious about finding out how to lose belly fat I also recommend that you reduce the amount of tea and coffee you drink to no more than four cups in total per day, avoid sugary, fizzy drinks, including diet sodas.
This is the first in a serious of 3 blogs I have written on How to Lose Belly Fat. Following the tips in this article will help you to achieve fat loss, however we want to achieve permanent fat loss therefore it is not all about the food. Watch out for my next blog How to Lose Belly Fat-Part Two.
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