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Fat to flat

8 Sep 2021 By P CHANDRASEKR

Causes for gaining belly fat are many, including poor diet, lack of exercise, and stress. The solution lies there inself – improve nutrition, increase activity, and make other lifestyle changes

If you are accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle, you are bound to carry evidence of it around your belly. Some people also reach for food for comfort when they feel stressed. And cortisol (a steroid hormone that regulates a wide range of vital processes throughout the body) causes those excess calories to remain around the belly and other areas of the body for later use.

Fat accumulated in the lower body is subcutaneous, while fat in the abdominal area is largely visceral. Where fat ends up is influenced by several factors, including heredity and hormones. Researchers and clinicians are, however, trying to measure it, correlate it with health risks, and monitor changes that occur with age and overall weight gain or loss.

Do a simple test – the fat you can pinch around your belly is subcutaneous fat. The fat inside your belly (the visceral fat) can be seen and measured, but not pinched.

Muscle decrease, fat increase

As people get older, it’s common to see an increase of belly fat around the waistline. This is usually because muscle mass decreases with age as fat increases. Belly fat can, indeed, make you feel self-conscious or even cause you additional stress.

As for dietary factors, low-protein, high-carb diets may also affect your weight. Protein helps a person feel fuller for longer, and people who do not include lean protein in their diet may tend to eat more food overall.

Trans fats, in particular, can cause inflammation and also lead to obesity. Trans fats are present in many foods, including fast food and baked goods like muffins and crackers. So if you avaid dinner and snack all day on these, you might actually be inviting more belly fat.

The American Heart Association recommends that people replace trans fats with healthy whole-grain foods, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Also, short duration of sleep is said to be linked to an increase in food intake, which may play a part in the development of abdominal fat.

Action to take

There are many exercises and activities you can take up to diminish your sedentary lifestyle. Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine is a great way to burn off unwanted belly fat. Some common exercises for burning belly fat include brisk walking, running/jogging, biking, rowing, cycling, swimming as well as varied group fitness classes.

One must first set a goal and an achievable target before embarking on an exercise plan. It is good to set reasonable targets that can be achieved rather than aiming for dashboard abs overnight or a flat tummy within a month. This way, you might lose interest when results are slow to show up. Instead, keep a long-term goal in mind but a short-term target that doesnt seem scary to start with.

Effective exercises to melt belly fat

Crunches

The most effective exercise to burn stomach fat is crunches. Crunches rank top when we talk of fat-burning exercises. You can start by lying down flat with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Lift your hands and then place them behind the head. You can also keep them crossed on the chest. Keep a check on your breathing pattern. This exercise will also help in building abs while melting belly fat.

Walking

A very simple cardio exercise which helps you lose belly fat and stay fit is walking. Brisk walking along with a balanced diet can do wonders if you are trying to shed off the extra kilos. A brisk walk for even thirty minutes in the fresh air can help reduce fat around the belly. In addition, it also has a positive effect on your metabolism and heart rate.

Zumba

Workouts are not a punishment and therefore, some fun workouts can also do wonders for your health. Zumba workouts are high-intensity exercises which  help improve cardiovascular fitness, lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and melt belly fat quickly. So, put some music and start with some zumba workouts right away.

Cycling

Cycling is also an effective way to burn belly fat. Cycling helps get  your heart rate up and also has the capacity to burn a significant number of calories. Cycling helps one lose weight around the thighs and waist. You can start cyling as a hobby or for commuting to nearby places. If you are regular, cycling can be really effective in cutting down belly fat.

Quick solution

If you cannot get yourself to take up exercise but are looking for a quick solution to burn belly fat, try some immediate changes in your diet for significant results:

  • Cut out sugar, the main culprit for belly fat. Studies show that sugar can lead to increased accumulation of belly fat. Juices and sodas contain large amounts of fructose that enhances your waistline.
  • Incorporate more protein into the diet. Protein reduces levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin and people who consume a protein-rich diet have less abdominal fat.
  • Avoid carbs. This is the fastest way to lose belly fat. Replace refined carbs (cookies/cakes,) with unprocessed whole carbs to improve metabolic health and get rid of belly fat.

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