September 28, 2016 | 7 minute read
Published in Active Meaningful Years
Belly fat is caused by different things for both men and women. For women, they are more likely to gain excess belly fat deep inside the belly as they go through perimenopause and into menopause. That’s because as estrogen levels drop, body fat is redistributed from the hips, thighs, and butt to the abdomen. For men, it's a similar story. As they age, the natural reduction of testosterone means calories are often stores as fat, causing the aptly named 'beer belly'.
However, researchers have found that cortisol secretion might represent a connection between stress and belly fat. So that high stress job may actually be making you fat! (See: 10 Worst Eating Habits You Need To Break Now)
Before we get into how to lose 'belly fat' we need to understand what the various types of fat are, and what they do:
Structural Fat: This is the fat that fills in the gaps between various organs. It has an important role in protecting, or 'bedding' the kidneys in a soft elastic tissue. It also protects the coronary arteries and keeps the skin smooth and taut.
Essential Fat Reserves: Your fat reserves are essentially the normal reserve of fuel used when the body is facing dietary insufficiencies like a low-calorie diet. These reserves are found all over your body, and not centralized.
Belly Fat: The moment we've all been waiting for... Belly fat. Both structural and essential fats are normal, and important to our body, however, belly fat is abnormal and completely useless, as well as incredibly difficult to get rid of. Belly fat is essentially a fat reserve for the body, however, unlike your fat reserves, is not available for your body to consume in times of emergency. The worst part about belly fat is that it slows down your metabolic system causing you to retain more fat than you need. (See: 7 Metabolism Myths Busted)
Before you start dieting, there is one GOLDEN RULE that you MUST follow... that is to NOT start decreasing your fat intake. Not all fats are bad, and in fact, eating certain fats can help you reduce belly fat.
Make sure you are eating fish, avocados, olives and other sources of Omega-3. It has been seen that you can lose 2.2 lbs more weight in a month by including these essential fats (specifically x3 5-oz servings of salmon) every week.
Three tips to get started:
Want to have that shredded 6 pack look, stand up taller, and have better posture? Skip the crunches and sit-ups. If you're storing belly fat, you won't see your abs, and the increased bulk of these muscles may make your belly look bigger than it is. Instead opt for strengthening your back. Your posture will improve and pull in your belly.
Three ab exercises to get started: