When you take a look around at the waist lines of America, what’s the one of the main things you notice? For me personally, I notice that the “muffin top” is no more. Instead of a little extra fluff flowing over the sides, the whole stomach is round and solid. We’ve lost our top.
Did you know that the belly is actually the WORST place to store your fat? Fat stored here isn’t simply surface deep (also known as subcutaneous fat). Belly fat actually goes below the muscle line to build up around our organs (known as visceral fat).
Visceral fat is dangerous because it produces hormones and other substances that lowers your good/healthy HDL cholesterol, increases your bad/lousy LDL cholesterol (and remember that heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women!) It also raises our blood pressure, and makes it harder for our body to properly use insulin. All fat leads to cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or worse.
The real kicker about belly fat is even if your weight falls within the healthy BMI range, if you have a thicker midsection, then you have an increased chance of premature death.
To find out if you’re at risk, take a soft tape measure and wrap it around your waist just below your belly button. Relax and exhale. If your measurement is 35 or above for women, or 40 and above for men, then it’s time to trim the belly.
Get your blood pumping!
The quickest and easiest way to break up belly fat is to get moving. You need to feel your heart pounding and shortness of breath. Interval training is a great way to go about this. When exercising, try 4 minutes on, 4 minutes off. Run for 4 minutes, and then walk for 4 minutes. If you don’t want to time it, jog a song and then walk a song. Aerobics classes follow this timing technique and it proves most effective.
Take a look at your diet.
Juicing, blending and dehydrating are perfect place to start when it comes to lowering your belly fat. Those who eat primarily plant-based diets (fruits, veggies, and whole grains), lean proteins and calorie count are thinner in the middle. Whenever friends of mine are struggling with their midsection, I always suggest one other thing – cut out Partially Hydrogenated Oil and Hydrogenated Oils.
This food ingredient is created by adding hydrogen to oil. It’s done so to extend the products shelf life, which unfortunately leads to trans fat. This ingredient is being added to more and more of our food, yet most countries in Europe have now banned its use. Look for it in margarine, shortening, crackers, cakes, cookies, chips, peanut butter and coffee creamers (boo!)
Especially watch out for Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil because it depresses your thyroid, which lowers your energy. Also, look out for Mono-and Di-Glycerides, which is a fancy new name for trans fat that don’t have to be reported on the labels.
What are your favorite tummy trimming tricks? We’re all in this together, so leave me a comment below!