Belly fat is the most dangerous and harmful fat in your body. Harvard health calls it the “worst of the worst” fat.
When you look around it seems as if the nation’s collective waistline is increasing on an hourly basis. This is highly contradictory to what most people really want.
What most people want is a flat belly. It is the new thing in town. Abs so flat you can iron your clothes on them. 10 out of 10 people want flat abs.
The desire for flat belly has become so intense that theories and strange things you can do in 5 days to get them is all over the place. Fitness models come out and swear they drank that, ate this and did that and in 5 days, bam flat abs. Too good to be true? Yea
If you desire a wash board abs you are not alone. Having a tummy that is a normal size is not just for beauty it is for your health. It protects your internal organs,prevents the risk of certain diseases and gives you support and helps in preventing back pain.
Excess belly fat is not limited to overweight people; it is possible to have a normal weight but still have excess belly fat.
There are four muscles in your abdomen
Let us take a quick look at the muscles that make up your abs
Carrying excess fat everywhere else in your body is better than carrying it in your belly. That is the worst place to have fat. This kind of fat is called abdominal obesity or central obesity or “Spare tire”
Of course, belly fat is not limited to someone who is overweight. There are slim people who also have belly fat. This is also dangerous. Remember that we are talking about belly fat and not how slim and svelte the rest of your body appears to be.
Most slim people and women with belly fat are always worried about the possibility of disappearing if they should work out and eat right for their belly. I always tell them that it is possible to lose belly fat when you follow the right workout program and nutrition plan for your goal and not “disappear”
Belly fat is not only ugly it is seriously harmful to your health.
There are two types of fat in the belly:
Subcutaneous fat. This is the fat directly beneath your ski
It lies just on top of your abdominal muscles. They are the fat that covers your abs muscle from being seen. These are the fat you must lose for you to have a well defined abs. Lose subcutaneous fat and your abs becomes visible for all to see
Visceral fat: This is the fat beneath your abdominal muscle. It wraps itself around your organs.
The American College of Cardiology said that increasing belly fat – especially the “hidden fat” in your abdomen – is associated with newly identified and worsening heart disease risk factors
According to studies both fat are harmful but the visceral fat is “worst of the worst”. To get a mental picture of this dangerous fat, think of a chicken with fat wrapped around its vital organs. That’s the visceral fat. That’s the same thing it is doing to your liver, kidney, heart etc.
Having abdominal fat increases your risk of the following conditions:
Heart diseases : A recent study found that women who were between 50 – 80 years who had the biggest waist were more at risk of developing heart disease than those in the same age group with small waist.
High blood pressure
How can you tell if you have belly fat?
There are two methods you can use to check if you have belly fat
- Measuring tape
This is one of the simplest things you can check. Get a measuring tape (the type normally used by tailors).
Go to your room. Take of your clothes and let your belly loose. Do not engage it, no tucking in. Wrap the tape around your belly (your navel). What number do you see?
If you are a woman, your measurement should not exceed 35cm, below 35 cm is good. Anything above 35 is considered a health risk.
If you are a man, your measurement should not exceed 40 cm, below 40 cm is good. Anything above 40 cm is also considered a health risk.
- Another method is to check your waist- hip ratio
The waist – hip ratio is one of the oldest tools used to measure the risk of developing chronic health issues and fertility. According to the WHO abdominal obesity is defined as a waist hip ratio above 0.9 for men and 0.85 for women. This means that as a woman you should aim for WHR lower than 0.80 and a man should aim for WHR lower than 0.9. Any number above this is considered a health risk.
How to check your waist – hip ratio WHR
Remove your clothes. Wrap a measuring tape at the smallest part of your waist just above your belly button. The tape should not be too tight on you. Write down the measurement.
Next wrap the tape round the widest part of your hip, which is the widest part of your buttocks. Make sure the tape is not too tight. Write down the measurement. Then divide your waist circumference with your hip circumference.
Waist circumference – 28”
Hip circumference – 34”
According to the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), women with waist–hip ratios of more than 0.8, and men with more than 0.9 are at increased health risk because of their fat distribution.
Fat in your belly are able to cause these health risks because they are not lying there dormant, they are active.
An overweight person has more fat cells that release excessive chemicals and hormones into the body more than it needs. This leads to inflammation and the risk of chronic disease.
What causes belly fat?
Excessive intake of alcohol:
Most people with alcohol induced belly have extra large and hard belly.
Excessive intake of sugar laden foods and drinks
Losing belly fat is not an impossible task but you must learn to do the right things. There are three things you have to do right. They are:
- The right exercise: All exercise are not created equal, the right combination, intensity and duration and frequency is more important than just going out for a jog in the morning
- The right food: The food you eat is very important. This has more significant role to play in your quest for flat belly than you may imagine
- Rest: Taking out time to rest is important and should not be compromised. You may need to be selfish to give your body the best and attention that it deserves.
Belly fat does not just happen; most times it is a combination of genes, nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle.
The rate at which people are developing belly fat especially in the work place is alarming. Sitting down for hours is gradually turning the nation’s workforce into a central obese population.
Most people that have 7-4 job, that involves sitting for long hours in their office have a higher tendency to have abdominal fat.
The market women, stay at home mum and school children are not left out. They all have one thing in common. They sit at a place for more than 5 hours from Monday to Friday.
Then on Saturday and Sunday, they sit a little more in front of the TV or just anywhere else in the name of “resting after a hard week”. This is not doing your belly, your back and your total wellbeing any good.
Belly blasting teas and fat burners that do more harm with zero result cause more frustration and desperation.
There are proven strategies that can effectively reduce belly fat. That is what we will be looking at in this series.
In my next post we will be looking at the foods you need to start eating. This is because that is really where your journey to flat abs will start: In your kitchen.