Belly fat, beer gut, spare tyre….doesn’t matter what you call it – I’m pretty sure you’re not happy to own one!
And unfortunately, unlike in the Bodi tribe in Ethiopia, having the biggest belly in your village doesn’t make you a sexy!
(Picture by Eric Lafforgue)
What causes the beer belly?
Well – it’s not just beer – it can be any alcohol. In fact any excess calories from food or drink for you men will generally gravitate to your middle.
It’s a sad fact that as we get older, we begin to lose muscle which means we are less efficient at burning calories, so unless we are more careful with what we consume – our weight will go up.
Lifestyle habits play a part too, as we hit middle age, we tend to move less and eat more, the fat creeps on slowly and silently over time.
And your genes will play a part too, but it’s not a given and you can buck the family trend!
Whatever the cause – you want it gone!
Physically, you’re not happy –
The beer belly is often the subject of jokes, ‘banter’; you may even make light of it yourself and get the odd joke in before anyone else does.
Although often played it down – looking attractive is still important to many of you men. I recently had this confirmed when I held a poll on LinkedIn asking men if they cared less about how their body looked as they got older – 64% said they were still very bothered!
And then there’s the health risk…
A large stomach is a sign that your health is at risk.
There are two types of fat. Subcutaneous fat which is the fat that sits below the skin (the stuff that jiggles!) and then there’s visceral fat – this is the nasty stuff that gathers round your internal organs.
We do need some visceral fat, it cushions our internal organs, but too much of it can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, bowel cancer, sleep apnoea, high blood pressure, or generally premature death from any cause – ouch…. that’s difficult to read.
So how do you get rid of it?
If you hate going to the gym, this will be good news for you –
You can’t get rid of a large belly through exercise alone.
There is no one particular exercise you can do to pinpoint getting rid of the excess fat on your stomach. No amount of sit-ups is going to do the job!
And unfortunately, you can’t specifically pinpoint getting rid of visceral fat.
There is action you can take, and the good news is – any fat you lose will include some visceral fat as well as the subcutaneous stuff!
Here are six things you can do that will all have a positive effect to reduce the size of your belly.
- Reduce simple sugar intake – research shows too much sugar can lead to fat build up in the around the stomach (and liver).
Take a good look at your day-to-day habits – what excess sugar could you get rid of?
Do you have sugar in tea and coffee?
Is the odd chocolate bar, biscuits, cake intake more frequent than you might think?
Which breakfast cereal are you eating, is it sweetened…. are you putting jam on your toast?
And then there’s the alcohol – how often are you drinking? I know – how can there be so many calories in that innocent looking glass of wine/beer…. but it’s full of sugar!
- Reduce starchy carbohydrate intake. Is your portion size of pasta, potatoes, rice reasonable? And what about bread – are you having toast for breakfast, sandwich/roll for lunch, snacking on toast, soaking up gravy with bread? 😉I’m afraid it’s all adding to your belly.
Swapping out white pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread with wholemeal/grain varieties – and less of it, will help bring down the size of your waist.
Enough of the cutting down – here’s a few things to increase…
3. There is some evidence that suggests that eating enough protein may be linked to lower levels of abdominal fat. So, ensure you are eating plenty of good quality protein (around 60g a day) – lean meat, eggs, fish, dairy products, nuts and seeds. These can also boost your metabolic rate and reduce hunger levels – so it’s a win win for weight loss around the belly!
4. Fibre has also been shown to be a possible factor in reducing visceral fat. The best way to increase your fibre intake is with fruit and particularly vegetables (wholegrains, oats, beans and pulses are good too). Variety is key here – eat as many different varieties as possible.
So to recap on the food aspect of losing your belly fat – reduce simple sugar and starchy carbs and fill your plate with a variety of vegetables and good protein, snack on fruit – pretty much the advice I would give to any man who wants to lose weight.
- Although I mentioned there is no one exercise you can do to reduce the size of your stomach, walking, running, and swimming, indeed any sprot you enjoy, can all help reduce body fat.
And exercise helps build muscle which helps our metabolic rate, and the better our metabolic rate the more efficient we are at burning calories – so exercise is key to keeping the weight off once you’ve lost it.
- Last but not least – one of the best things you can do this week to bring about a change and to start reducing the size of your waist is to track your food intake – do it for a week. You will then be able to make a plan of action based on your current habits and introduce some tweaks that will make a real difference. You can find more on this (and a diary to fill in!) in my free download Click here
There is nothing more rewarding than watching the notches on your belt going down, having to buy new smaller waisted trousers, feeling comfortable whatever the temperature gets to in the summer…and the compliments!
And to know you are solving issues going on inside your body, removing some of that dangerous visceral fat – well that’s got to be worth taking some action, doesn’t it?
Changing eating and lifestyle habits can take time and requires focus and commitment. Accountability whilst making changes has been proven to increase success in weight loss. I’m here if you want to ask me any questions.
Book in for a virtual coffee here