Stressing over the number on the weight scale? Well, get this! That number actually may not be as important to your health than the size of your tummy! Yes, studies say even skinny people with a BMI (body mass index) in the normal range could still be in the red zone, depending on the shape of their mid-section.
You see, the fat that lies just below your skin (not that we want to, but the kind you can grab with your hands) is called subcutaneous fat. In your belly, it’s called visceral fat because it builds up in the spaces between and around your viscera — internal organs like your stomach and intestines. And, fat build up there — not a good thing! Keep reading to find out why that is so and find some exact steps to take to get rid of it that don’t just involve exercise and diet.
WHY BELLY FAT IS ESPECIALLY DANGEROUS TO OUR HEALTH
Here are some reasons why we really need to pay attention to that spare tire that could be forming:
- This visceral fat is a different animal as the fat in your middle makes toxins that affect the way your body works. Those toxins include chemicals called cytokines that doctors say boost your chances of heart disease and make your body less sensitive to insulin, which can bring on diabetes.
- Cytokines also cause long-term inflammation, our bodily enemy as this can lead to certain cancers of the colon, esophagus, and pancreas.
- Scientists think cancer is caused by cell mutations as they divide. Fat in your abdomen may spur on hormones that prompt cell division. More cell division means more opportunities for cell mutations, which means more cancer risk.
3 WAYS CREATING STRONGER ABS CAN MAKE YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE MUCH BETTER
Besides not wanting to be a toxin-making machine creating possible disease and looking good in your clothes, here are some other reasons creating a strong core can make a big difference in your everyday life:
1. Strong core. Stronger back. Less pain. Better mood.
Back pain can really get in the way of living life and make us cranky! And, a lot of back pain is related to weak muscles in your trunk. Thus, working on strengthening that midsection can help resolve many back issues. The muscles in your core weave throughout your torso and attach to your spine. Consequently, when ab muscles are weak, it creates some strain on the spine.
Don’t miss this: A list of other tips to keep your back strong and nimble.
2. Trim tummy. Better sleep. More energy.
Belly fat can bring on chronic, loud snoring and maybe even sleep apnea. People who have sleep apnea literally stop breathing for a few seconds to even more than a minute sometimes all night long greatly disrupting sleep. Who wouldn’t feel exhausted after a night like that? But, losing weight can often help remedy the problem so you can get a better night’s sleep and, of course, more air!
Don’t miss this: Why and how cherries can be a smart snack for better sleep.
3. Flat stomach. Protection from injury. More free time.
Who wants to spend their time on crutches with a sprain, at doctors’ offices or worse on the operating table for a repair. No one. A flat, strong, stomach can help protect you from injury. Unlike any other muscles in your body, a strong core affects the functioning of the entire body and how it moves. Whether you garden, hike, run marathons or chase kids all day, the stronger the abs, the better protected you are from injuring yourself.
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY CREATE A FLATTER STOMACH AND MUCH HEALTHIER BODY
Regular exercise and healthy food choices are fundamental to create a flat and strong core (as well as optimal health overall!), but here are some essential tweaks to creating success with that critical goal in mind:
1. Eat well and don’t starve yourself!
Going around hungry all the time isn’t fun! And, if you think it helps lessen belly fat, scientists would tell you are wrong. Eating enough food (yes, of course, healthy whole food choices!) keeps your body from experiencing hormone imbalances. Eating too few calories reduces the amount of the fat-burning hormone leptin in your body, which will slow down weight loss.
Don’t miss this: None of these nutrient-dense foods will add inches to your waistline.
2. Stand tall and ready.
I am the Mom always on my daughters to watch their posture and I must say, they get compliments on their good posture! Not only do you appear more confident and positive, having good posture takes 5 pounds off! And carrying yourself all day strong and tall without slumping is much better for your back and keeps your abs strong, too.
3. Create smart exercise routines that don’t hog your day!
Don’t get me wrong, that ab routine can help define muscles, but cardio for overall weight loss is important too, to show the definition. Shorter cardio workouts that use high-intensity interval training is showing more effective for fighting belly fat, too.
Don’t miss this: Check out this 25-minute interval training routine I have been doing lately at home that doesn’t hurt my knees!
4. Take time to unwind.
A constant high level of stress can lead to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which can increase the amount of tummy fat. For a flatter stomach and so many other reasons, find a few ways that lessen your stress today.
Don’t miss this: For many, it is hard to know how to unwind. I have 25 ways that may help you destress successfully right here.
5. Don’t drink your calories.
Opt out of the sugary drink habit. There are many better options than choosing drinks that have calories and that can cause weight gain around the middle. Clean water is always a great way to hydrate and support your body, but if you don’t like the taste of water much, add citrus or a sprig of fresh herbs to liven it up. Your taste buds will adjust to the lack of sweetness! My husband, an avid tea drinker, slowly learned to delete the sugar he adds to his tea and now he adds none and hates the taste of sugary tea. If he can do it, you can!
Don’t miss this: Here are some of my family’s favorite toxin-free water bottles we use to stay well hydrated on the go.
FOR EVEN MORE ON THE TOPIC . . .
- Here is how I created an effective home gym that fits under my couch!
- Lots and lots of ab exercise routines can be found right here.