Belly Fat 101 – What? Why? How?
Why Do We Get Belly Fat?
While a small amount of belly fat is normal, as it helps to cushion the bones and organs, and provides protection, too much of it can become a cause of concern. Don’t worry; you can be in control by doing exercise and following a healthy diet. There are a number of reasons why belly fat has become so prominent in teens and adults.
Scientists have discovered that the number of fat cells you will develop depends entirely on your genes. If your parents or grandparents had excess belly fat, you too might have the same. Yes, it is true genetics is a determinant of how the fat is distributed.
You may have apple-shaped or pear-shaped body structure. Accumulation of fat occurs differently for different people, it actually depends on the body structure.For those who are pear-shaped, the fat tends to accumulate in the lower part of the body, like the buttocks. But for those who are apple-shaped, your body tends to store fat around the middle section, thus resulting in fat accumulation around the belly. There are two types of belly fat, it is either visceral, which accumulates around the abdominal organs, or subcutaneous, which occurs between the skin and abdominal wall.
b. Weak metabolism:
According to Mayo Clinic reports, as we age, our metabolism slows down and this can cause belly fat. Women are more prone to belly fat than men.Weak metabolism is yet another reason.
You must have noticed that some of your friends eat a lot of sugar-based foods, fried foods or cold drinks. Yet they manage to keep a flat stomach. The reason being, they have a very high metabolism rate. If your metabolism is not good, you may have a bloated stomach. Thyroid conditions, diabetes and other medical conditions can be the reasons behind slow metabolism.
c. Hormonal Changes:
You might have heard the word ‘middle- age spread’. This means, as women progress towards their middle years, the ratio of body fat increases compared to the body weight.During menopause, when the levels of estrogen goes down and the amount of androgens or male hormones increase then there is an increased risk of fat accumulation in the waist.Hormones actually regulate the fat concentration in the body, and your figure depends entirely on it!
d. Stress and hypertension:
Stress increases the levels of cortisol in the blood and it leads to fat accumulating in the body.
Women suffering from diabetes, breast cancer, sleep apnea, colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, stroke and metabolic syndrome have fat accumulation in the belly.
f. Sagging muscles:
If the muscles around your abdominal area are saggy, they may lead to a fat belly. All you need to do is tone your belly to get slimmer waistline!
g. Poor posture:
Slouching is the main reason behind fat accumulation in the body.Learn to sit straight from your very childhood. Sitting with a curved back or spine may result in all the fat accumulation around your stomach area.
h. Sedentary lifestyle:
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the major causes behind the occurrence of belly fat. If you don’t indulge in any physical activity and spend most of the time sitting, watching T.V., reading etc., it is known as a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of regular exercise or not exercising at all can lead to fat storage around the belly area. In other words, being a couch potato will make you fat.
If you eat too much, that can also lead to weight gain and belly fat. Coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, it can have major consequences.
How to Measure Belly Fat:
Earlier belly fat was considered healthy, it was perceived a reservoir of adipose tissues that could be utilized when a person needed extra energy. With time the views changed, and now researchers state that excess belly fat triggers chronic cardiovascular diseases. So it is important to measure the belly fat and check how much you need to reduce. Here, are some parameters to measure your waistline.
a. Body Mass Index:
This is ratio of weight in kilograms to the square of height in meters. This parameter helps doctors to judge whether the person will suffer from heart disease or strokes. Since those having BMI of 25-29.9 is considered overweight and those with BMI of 30 are considered obese. They need to cut down belly fat to reduce the health risks. However, this parameter is not always accurate in measuring belly fat. In fact, you can measure your belly fat with a measuring tape in front of the mirror, and make your own targets to reduce belly fat. Looking at the mirror and checking belly fat will help youto feel motivated to lose that unhealthy fat lining your abdomen.
b. Waist to Hip Ratio:
Keep a calculator handy! To calculate your waists to hip ratio accurately measure the narrowest point of your waist and the broadest part of your hip. Now divide the values you obtained from the measurement and you have your ratio. The waist to hip ratio is a more accurate parameter to measure BMI. Those with waist to hip ratio of 0.8 are susceptible to cardiovascular disease and stroke. If you happen to have this ratio you got be careful.
c. Waist Circumference:
As said before measuring your waist with the tape is the easiest way to check belly fat. Measure your torso at the level of your navel. As per the official guidelines measure your abdomen from just above the hip bone or iliac crest just where it intersects the line dropping down from the middle of the right armpit. Breathe normally while taking the measurement and don’t hold the measuring tape too tight against the skin. Those with waist size more than 33 inches are at risk of developing chronic heart disease.
Food To Reduce Belly Fat:
You need to have high fiber foods to cut down your belly fat that is marring your appearance and confident. Just add these super foods to get an envious waistline you always desired.
It is rich in vitamin E and is high on dietary fiber. It will satiate your hunger and the calories present in almond will not affect your belly fat.
This attractive looking fruit will help you to lose belly fat effectively. So munch on apples!
The monosaturated fatty acids present in avocadoes helps to burn belly fat. The nutrient rich fruit is also high on fiber.
Stay cool with cucumber! The water content in cucumber is really low on calories making it a good choice for losing belly fat.
e. Green leafy vegetables:
It is low on calories and it full of fiber and essential nutrients that prevent water retention. So follow your mother’s advice and have green vegetables to reduce belly fat.
Having beans is a great way to have a toned belly. It also improves digestion and helps to strengthen muscles. Beans satiate your hunger and keep your tummy full, this prevents overeating.
This yummy fruit contains 82% of water and it is really low on calories. Have watermelons to get a desirable waistline.
Belly fat is in fact the colloquial term for abdominal fat. According to medical experts, belly fat can be potentially dangerous. Excess of it can lead to a number of health problems including heart diseases, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, a decrease in the level of HDL or good cholesterol, and can even lead to strokes or sleep apnea. You have to combat this problem before it gets too late.