When clients talk to us about weight loss, belly fat is usually their number one concern. From a vanity standpoint, most of us covet a flat stomach and a trim waistline. But beyond aesthetics, it’s a good idea to target belly fat anyway. While being overweight is associated with a variety of health concerns, belly fat in particular is implicated in many disorders.
Because of its proximity to vital organs (as opposed to fat on your arms, legs, or bottom), belly fat is far more dangerous. If you tend to carry your extra weight around your midsection, you are at increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes.
Obviously, weight loss will help slash that risk. But the frustrating thing about weight loss is that you can’t control where the weight comes off. To some degree we are all prone to a particular body shape, due to genetics. But there are reasons fat tends to accumulate in the belly, and therefore there are things you can do to target it more specifically through your weight loss plan.
Avoid sugar and alcohol. Eating fewer calories is probably part of your weight loss plan anyway. But calories from sugars and alcohol are particularly likely to end up stored in your midsection. So avoid those, and eat a well-balanced diet based in lean proteins, fruits, and veggies.
Cardio exercise. Get your heart rate in the target range for 30 to 60 minutes each day. If you’re getting good and sweaty, and you’re comfortably (but not dangerously) breathing hard, you’re burning more of your belly fat stores.
Get more sleep. Your body responds to sleep deprivation by releasing certain stress hormones. These hormones are directly tied to weight gain, particularly around the midsection.
Address your stress. Speaking of those stress hormones, insomnia isn’t the only thing that triggers them. Take steps toward getting your stress under control. Try a regular yoga or meditation practice, find an activity that is relaxing, or schedule regular visits with a therapist. Doing this will boost your weight loss plan in numerous ways.
As always, give us a call with your questions. We can help you put together a weight loss plan that addresses your particular concerns, and helps you live a happier, healthier life.