Abdominal obesity is widespread in India where it is common to see a bulge above the belt walking around in corporate districts. A good measure for this kind of obesity is waist circumference and waist to hip ratio and people with a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index ) could also be obese due to high waist circumference or hip to waist ratio of . Cardiovascular Diseases,Type II Diabetes, Insulin resistance and some cancers are a few risks this kind of obesity carries with it.
How does it happen ?
Obesity can be caused by various factors ranging from overeating , eating too much processed food, lack of physical activity and it is now believed that it may be genetic as well. Human body has evolved to store excess energy as fats to use it in the times of need. This excess energy is stored as fats and first choice storage place is right under our skin throughout the body. Any further excess energy is stored around organs in the upper body and this causes a big belly. This is the visceral fat which is hidden and takes the longest to get rid of .It also is active sort of fat that is thought to cause hormonal and metabolic imbalances
Slow metabolic rate also increase in visceral fat in your body and the reasons for it are ageing , physical inactivity and loss of muscles
No Easy Solution
A flat stomach with a six pack is what a lot of us dream of today and is popularised by increasingly fit population in the world. Some of us however happy for our tummies to stay below the belt. Both cases need hard work , discipline and patience. There are few changes we can make in our lifestyle to reduce abdominal fat over a period of time, however there are hardly any quick fixes. Some of them are given below:
Cut out eating refined sugars and simple carbohydrates and replace these with natural sugars in fruit and complex carbohydrates from whole grains, lentils and pulses.
Reduce portion size of your meals and ensure sufficient fiber from raw leafy vegetables in your diet. Some studies have shown that lack of fiber in diet leads to absorption of more calories from the same amount of food.
Eating enough protein will allow proper muscle repair and prevent muscle loss, which in turn will improve metabolism making it easy to lose Visceral fat. INcluding plant based unsaturated fats in diet will also support various cell regeneration and they have essential fatty acids used in the process. These fats are also rich in High density cholesterol, which is thought to de clog the arteries by combining with low density cholesterol from saturated fats.
A largely popular belief that doing abdominal crunches will help you lose belly fat is hard to dispel. Although any exercise is welcome in the bid to reduce fats, most effective ones are cardiovascular exercises. These require constant supply of energy and the kind that can be replaced slowly by stored fats. Some very effective cardio exercises are:
- Brisk walk
However only cardio will not be sufficient in the long run. To increase our metabolic rate there should be an increase in amount of muscle to use up energy more efficiently. Hence it is important to strength train and increase size of big muscle groups like chest , back , legs , arms and shoulders. With increased muscle mass and more cardio exercises, visceral fat deposits can be depleted over a period of time.
Lifestyle changes are the only sustainable solution to reducing abdominal fat and these include balancing diet , moving more and building up muscles to improve metabolic rate. Often rest is ignore, so I will also recommend an 8 hour sleep routine to support all the efforts.