The Skinnyfat

In recent studies, scientists have come to realize that it isn’t really how much a person weighs — it’s the amount of body fat that truly indicates obesity.

Usually, belly fat is subcutaneous fat, which is underneath the skin. If you have problems with abdominal fat, it may also be visceral fat. This is also known as organ fat that is packed between your internal organs. This is also known as the “pot belly” or the “beer belly.” It is associated with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colorectal cancer.

Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s imaging techniques were developed that helped improve the understanding of exactly how many health risks can be associated with the accumulation of body fat. These include tomography and magnetic resonance which help divide masses of tissue in the abdominal region.

For women, belly fat is more common after menopause. Sometimes, those people who just think this goes hand-in-hand with getting older, and don’t realize the danger it can cause. While women feel like it is just something that makes them go up a size in their jeans, it does carry health risks.

A person with a blue jacket is jogging on a bridge, running away from the camera.

Like fat in any other area, it is determined by balancing your calories you take in with the energy you burn. In other words, if you eat too much and burn too little, you’ll have excess fat. As you get older, your muscle mass reduces. Your fat, however, increases. When your muscle mass reduces, it also reduces the rate your body uses calories. This can make it even more difficult for people to maintain a weight that is healthy as they age.

Am I in trouble?

Do you want to if the belly fat you carry is a health risk? Just measure it. Use a tape measure and place it around your bare stomach. You want it to be snug, but not cut into the skin. For women, if your measurement is over 35 inches, you’ll be at a greater risk for health problems. For men, the measurement of concern is around 40 inches.

You should realize that you don’t have to lose weight if you’re not actually overweight. More important than weight, is the amount of fat content you have in your body and where that fat has accumulated. Sometimes, you have weight gain because you’ve started working out and developed muscles. Muscles are heavier than fat, so don’t be shocked if all that exercise has reduced inches but increased weight. If this is the case, there’s no problem at all and you don’t have to worry about losing that weight.

Excess belly fat can be eliminated or reduced by the same means that other fat can. It just takes the right combination of diet and exercise. There are, however, other factors that can hinder weight loss and cause you to retain belly fat. Below are tips that can help you reduce that belly fat and have visible abs:

Lock your aim psychologically by telling friends or family that you’re dieting

By telling others that you’re dieting, you have them to help keep you in check. Of course, you’ll hear things like, “You’re dieting aren’t you” or “Are you supposed to be eating that,” but it will help you stick to your diet. You’ll also hear things like, “How much have you lost” or “You’re looking so good.” Those things can be very encouraging. Once you’ve made the proclamation that you’re dieting, you’ll feel like you have to prove you can do it, so you’re more apt to stick with it and achieve success.

Eat healthier and well

I know it may seem like a counterproductive measure, but it isn’t. Eating is important when you’re trying to reduce your weight, including trying to lose your stubborn belly fat. Breakfast is extremely important when you’re dieting. Many people will skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight, but that’s one of the worst things you can do. It has been proven that eating about an hour after you wake up can keep your insulin levels steadier and aid in keeping your weight steadier. You don’t want to eat a whole pig and a dozen eggs, but eating a breakfast that is high in fiber and protein can really boost your body metabolism and help you burn fat. Foods like eggs, fresh fruits/vegetables, or peanut butter are better for you than the more sugary things such as breakfast cereals, pancakes, or pastries.

Recognize in yourself: do you have a habit of emotional eating?

Sometimes people use food as a comfort. When you’re hurt or upset, you turn to food to make you feel better. When you feel like eating just to eat and you know you’re not hungry, substitute it with something else like going on a bike. If you must eat something, make it fresh fruits or vegetables.

A woman with long hair is exercising outdoors. She has a determined look on her face.

We’ve walked for thousands of years

Try to get in at least 10,000 steps each and every day. If you have a sedentary job, this may be difficult for you. Schedule a time and place to do brisk walking every day. If you can’t, then choose a few other walking activities like parking at the far end of the parking lot at work or when you go to grocery or department stores. Take the steps instead of the elevator.

Learn to maintain good posture

Although you might not realize it, you use many core muscles simply to hold yourself up straight in good posture. Keeping good posture while tightening your stomach muscles can strengthen both the back muscles and the abdominal muscles. To tighten those muscles, lay flat on your back. Raise your feet about two inches off the ground and hold it to a slow count of ten. Lower your feet and then do it again. Try to do this at least 10 times a day. It is a simple basic way to begin to strengthen weakened abdominal muscles.

Consider exercising in small, explosive bursts

Alternating bursts of energy, just small ones, with brief resting periods can not only improve your muscle tone and burn calories, but it can also build endurance. This is a good way to get started and build up to the more serious exercises. You might try sprinting. Just run as fast as you can for around 20 seconds. Walk until your breathing returns to normal, and do it again. If you do this for about 10 minutes a day, you’ll be on your way to a good start.

Fit some type of exercise into your normal work day

This can be difficult for some people. It all depends on the type of job you have. You might set aside your lunch hours for walking. If that’s not possible, plan five minutes out of each day for a power walk. Take long, brisk strides when you walk down the hall or, as said before: go up and down stairs instead of using elevator.

Stretch the sides of your waist

With one arm over your head, lean as far as you can to the opposite side. Then switch hands. This will strengthen the muscles of your waistline. It will tone them, and remember, muscle burns fat, so having good muscle tone is important.

Fix it for good

Losing “the blob” is only half the battle. Keeping the weight off can often be harder than losing it. If you want to keep it off, you have to make a commitment to a lifestyle change. If you go back to your old habits, you can gain all the weight you lost and more. You have to find new eating habits that you can live with. They have to be habits you can sustain for a lifetime.

If motivation is difficult for you, find someone who can give you support and encourage you. It may be your doctor, your spouse, a friend or another family member. This often helps you stay on track.

Sometimes it’s hard to make lifestyle changes that suit us. They need to go along with our physical fitness and overall state of health. You want to be sure to talk to your doctor. He/she can help you weigh all the options and decide what plan of action works best for you. Your goal is to have long-term success. You may have to try different options to find out what works for you.

Man in a gym doing some heavy lifting with an iron bar that makes his biceps grow.

But not much happens!

"I don’t look like the Adonis above." You may get stuck in your weight-loss process. You lose a certain amount of weight and just can’t lose any more. It’s important not to give up. You’ve set a weight-loss goal, and you want to reach it. In order to do so, sometimes all you have to do is make a few minor changes to what you’re doing. You can reduce your calories a bit or increase your exercise. Walk an extra mile. Whatever you can find that gives you that push over the edge and jump starts you again. Whatever you do, don’t give up. You’ll get excited about seeing your waistline reduce and be motivated to press on. If you get stuck, however, it can be a bit disheartening.

You may be motivated by health improvements. You can check your cholesterol levels. If they decrease, you know you’re reducing your chances of heart disease. You may see a regular blood pressure for the first time in years. Your breathing may improve and you’ll be able to do a lot more than you used to. These things are motivators to keep the weight off for many people. If you’re losing weight for health reasons, however, note that sometimes it takes a while for these interventions to kick in.

For unknown reasons, belly fat just seems to burn slower than the fat on the rest of your body. You didn’t get that belly overnight, and you won’t lose it overnight either. The good news is, however, that it does burn! It may take a few weeks to see progress, but keep it up and you will see it.

Sometimes eating healthier is easier than exercising. One good tip to keep exercising is if you’re having a bad day and you don’t feel like exercising, go halfway. Get in your car and go to the gym. Once you get there, you might not want to go in. That’s fine. At least driving yourself there is a step. Usually, you’ll think, “Well, I’m here, I might as well go in.” Once you do, those endorphins kick in and you find yourself enjoying the exercise and greatly benefiting from it.

Keeping your body’s metabolism running effectively and continuously burning calories is what will help you prevent that fat storage around your midsection and keep you from gaining weight again. When you eat healthy foods and exercise you’ll develop lean muscle mass which will allow you to intake calories and not gain weight because muscle helps burn fat.

If you’re really tired of belly fat and desperate to lose weight, please don’t take those desperate measures some people take. They might starve themselves, try every fad diet that comes out, or take expensive supplements that don’t work just because they all say you will lose weight immediately. Yo-yo dieting will only mess up your body’s metabolism and cause you to gain more weight than you lost in the first place. Starving causes you to binge at the first temptation of something you love to eat.

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