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Got a Spare Tire? Why Excess Belly Fat Is Concerning

Got a Spare Tire? Why Excess Belly Fat Is Concerning

Few people enjoy having extra fat on their bodies, but did you know that weight centralized in the midsection is especially concerning? The fat in our bellies is called visceral fat because it sits between and around our internal organs. The problem with visceral fat is that it contains toxins called cytokines which boosts our odds of heart disease and diabetes. The toxins also cause inflammation, which can lead to cancer of the colon, esophagus, and pancreas.

Doctors believe that women with a waist over 35 inches and men with a waist over 40 inches could be troublesome, especially when the abdomen feels hard. Let’s explore why visceral fat can be dangerous.

Men Are an Easy Target for Visceral Fat

Call it a spare tire, beer gut, or most recently, a dad bod. Unfortunately, an expanding gut increases the risk for high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and even metabolic syndrome (heart disease and diabetes).

It’s true that some men are predisposed to weight gain in the belly due to poor genetics. Men are also more likely to gain belly fat than women. However, all people ought to be aware that excess weight in the midsection is a health risk, especially when it becomes hard.

Beware: When Jiggly Belly Fat Goes Hard

One thing we all need to be on the lookout for is a big stomach that feels hard to the touch. That means that there is a high accumulation of visceral fat located in the spaces between our organs. It’s packed in so tightly that it no longer jiggles like regular fat. As it builds, this visceral fat pushes our abdominal walls outward and provides that “dad bod” profile. The fat itself is not actually hard, but the tissues that make up the abdomen are, which is why it feels rigid to the touch.

How to Reduce Belly Fat and Improve your Health

Although it’s not easy, is it possible to lose unhealthy fat.

Want to hear something encouraging? Losing just 5-10% of our body weight will cause us to lose 25-40% of our visceral fat.

Here are some tips to get rid of that spare tire, become healthier, and feel stronger:

  • Set realistic goals. We’re not going to lose 100 pounds overnight, but it’s reasonable to believe we can lose 8-10 pounds in a month. Setting unrealistic goals sets us up for disappointment and makes it easier to give up.
  • Make simple dietary changes. Here’s the truth: we don’t have to turn our world upside down to improve our diet. It’s the simple changes that have the biggest impact. Things like cutting out processed food and eating an extra serving of veggies at mealtime will go a long way.
  • Be mindful of movement. The goal is to get some kind of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. And even if it’s been years since we picked up a weight, strength training should become part of our lives, at least twice a week. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so it stands to reason that our fat loss efforts will be enhanced by gaining muscle.
  • Get plenty of rest. Many people don’t know that a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and a host of medical problems. Our goal is to get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Stay calm. The stress hormone cortisol can wreak havoc on our diet and workouts. Plenty of sleep, exercise, and meditation can work together to keep those cortisol levels at nontoxic levels.

As innocent as a little extra around the middle may appear, it can turn into a serious matter. The good news is that we are in control. We decide what we’re going to eat, how much we’re going to exercise, and what we’re going to do about the daily stressors in our lives. The best thing we can do for ourselves in the upcoming months is to make sure we’re not a statistic.