Trimming your midsection will not only make you look good, but it will also help you live longer. A large waistline is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Losing weight, especially belly fat, can improve blood vessel function and improve sleep quality.
Abdominal fat cannot be exclusively considered when dieting. But losing weight can help shrink your waistline; Most importantly, it helps reduce visceral fat, a type of fat inside the abdomen that you can’t see but increases your health risks, says Kerry Stewart, MD, PhD. , director of clinical and research physiology at Johns Hopkins.
Here’s how to unpack what matters most.
Try limiting carbs instead of fat.
When Johns Hopkins researchers compared the heart effects of a low-carb diet and a low-fat diet over six months, those on the low-carb diet lost an average of 10 pounds. than those on a low-fat diet — 28.9 pounds versus 18.7 pounds. Stewart says an added benefit of a low-carb diet is weight loss. As you lose weight, fat is reduced, but lean tissue (muscle) is often lost, which is undesirable. About 2-3 pounds of good lean tissue was lost along with fat on both diets, meaning fat loss was much higher on the low-carb diet.
Think diet, not diet.
Ultimately, Stewart says, you need to choose a healthy eating plan to stick to. The advantage of a low-carb approach is that you learn to make better food choices, and you don’t need to count calories. In general, a low-carb diet shifts your intake away from problematic, high-carb, high-sugar, high-fiber breads, bagels, and sodas, and toward high-fiber, high-protein foods like vegetables. beans and healthy meats.
Exercise helps burn belly fat. “One of the biggest benefits of exercise is that it’s very beneficial to your body composition,” says Stewart. Exercise can help lose belly fat because it lowers circulating levels of insulin, which would otherwise signal the body to cling to fat, prompting the liver to use fatty acids, especially in nearby fat deposits, he says.
The amount of exercise required to lose weight depends on your goals. For most people, this means 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise almost every day.
Adding moderate intensity to aerobic exercise can help build lean muscle mass, which can help you burn more calories throughout the day while you’re resting and exercising.
Become a tag reader.
Compare and contrast brands. For example, some yogurts boast lower fat content but are higher in carbs and sugar than others, Stewart says. Foods such as sauces, mayonnaise, sauces and salad dressings are often high in fat and high in calories.
Stay away from processed foods.
Packaged foods and snacks often contain trans fats, added sugars, added salt, and sodium—three things that make weight loss difficult.
Focus on how your clothes fit rather than reading the scale.
When you gain muscle mass and lose fat, the readings on the bathroom scale won’t change much, but your pants will get looser. This is a better sign of progress. Roughly speaking, your waist should be less than 35 inches for women and less than 40 inches for men to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Have fun with your health conscious friends.
Research shows that you’re more likely to eat better and exercise more if your friends and family are doing it.