Published On: Sun, Aug 7th, 2011

4 Ways to Shed Belly Fat and Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease

Four Ways to Shed Belly Fat

 

Based on article by Deborah Kotz  http://health.usnews.com

Studies on Belly Fat and Waist Size

(Healingtalks) A study published  in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure indicates that having a large waist siZe ups your risk of heart failure, a condition that’s often fatal. A second study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that exercise doesn’t harm those with heart failure and could actually provide some benefits.

The analysis of the belly fat research, based on data from two Swedish population studies, showed that being overweight or obese increased the risk of heart failure in men but didn’t in women—unless they had a large waist size.

A woman with a normal body mass index of 25 whose waist size increased by 4 inches over the years wound up with a 15 percent greater risk of heart failure than those whose waist sizes remained the same. (A 5-foot, 4-inch woman who weighs 146 pounds has a BMI of 25.) Medical experts recommend that women maintain a waist size of less than 35 inches to reduce their risk of chronic diseases. How to measure your waist size.

Where you carry your fat is largely determined by your genes.  But there are certain things you can do to help redistribute fat away from your belly. Remember excess belly fat is so dangerous

Here are the four ways to keep a fit belly:

1. Exercise to shed that belly fat

You can’t exercise to spot reduce, but it will help you shed excess pounds — and often, the fat your body sheds first comes from your belly. Abdominal crunches can help tone muscles to make your stomach look flatter, but to truly get rid of fat, you have to burn off abdominal fat through aerobic activity.

2. Be a mindful eater

Researchers are currently investigating whether really paying attention to what you eat can help redistribute body fat from your waist to your hips. Plenty of studies, though, have shown that mindful eating can help with weight loss efforts in general. We recommend.moving in the direction of eating mostly fruits and vegetables, thus a vegetarian/vegan diet with mostly whole, raw, living foods.

3. Get adequate amounts of sleep

Too little sleep (less than six hours) or too much (more than eight hours) results in an excess production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol promotes the storage of fat in the belly.

4. Reduce stress

Penciling in 15 minutes a day for relaxation can also lower your cortisol levels, helping you shed belly fat. Deep breathing, a stroll outdoors under the blossoming trees, or a bubble bath can help you leave the world behind.

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The following is based on comment on weight loss from Dr. Mercola’s Website

Number One Way to Lose Body Fat – Exercise

If you’re looking for that six-pack physique, you need to expose the abdominal muscles underneath the fat. But can you really lose fat in just one specific area – the abdominals? It’s unlikely, although some strategies may be able to do so a little.

  • Exercise is your number one ally in shedding unwanted body fat.
  • It helps normalizing your insulin levels.
  • It  also helps you sleep better – another important factor not only for optimal overall health but also, as it turns out, for avoiding packing pounds around your midsection.
  • I alleviates stress, so that you have less of the hormone cortisol that is connected to producing stomach fat.

Best Exercises For Weight Loss

When you’re exercising to achieve weight loss, you’ll want to focus on weight bearing exercises, as muscle burns calories quite efficiently. It has been my experience that non-weight bearing exercises, like swimming and bicycling, are not as efficient or effective for weight loss. You will typically need to exercise four times as long in these activities to receive the same benefit of running, using elliptical machine, or using weights.

Additionally, to really maximize your weight loss efforts, make sure you include high-intensity interval exercises and strength training in your program.

One recent study showed that interval training can significantly enhance your body’s ability to burn fat. In this study, eight women in their early 20s were told to cycle for 10 sets of four minutes of hard riding, followed by two minutes of rest. After two weeks, the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous moderate cycling increased by 36 percent!

An added boon of interval exercises is that it can radically decrease the amount of time you need to spend exercising.

As far as individual exercises to target your tummy are concerned, sit-ups and abdominal exercises that are associated with breath control mechanisms, such as yoga exercises, can help tighten your abdominal muscles.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that there is no single abdominal exercise that challenges all your abdominal muscles. So you need to perform a variety of exercises that involve the full range of muscles.

Another factor that is often overlooked is your back muscles. Your back helps you hold yourself up and your stomach in, from behind. So having strong back muscles, as well as abs, is essential for a flatter stomach.

Exercise and Diet Go Hand in Hand

The other, equally important, factor in helping you shed excess weight is to consume the most appropriate foods for your specific genetic and biochemistry. Remember, the foods that may be healthy for others are not necessarily healthy for you, and vice-versa. Determining your specific nutritional type is the proven way to ascertain which foods work best for you.

It’s also important to realize that controlling your insulin levels is as important to optimizing your weight as it is to protecting you against diseases like diabetes.

Why?

Because when your insulin levels increase, you are telling your body to store carbohydrates as fat and to not release any of the stored fat. This makes it impossible for you to use your own stored body fat for energy.

So excess refined and processed carbohydrates in your diet (such as breads and pasta) not only make you gain weight, they make sure you keep that weight on. By cutting grains and sugars from your diet, you can significantly improve your chances of successful weight loss.

As far as nutrition to target belly fat specifically, certain dietary fats have actually been found to be helpful in reducing the accumulation of subcutaneous and visceral abdominal fat.

A study published in the journal Diabetes Care in July 2007 found that diets rich in monounsaturated fats prevented the accumulation of both types of belly fat, without additional exercise.

Foods high in monounsaturated fats include:

  • Nuts, especially pecans
  • Seeds
  • Avocados

Dangerous Weight Loss Options

Unfortunately, many people simply opt for what appears to be the easiest solution, and when it comes to excess weight around your middle, surgical options like liposuction or treatments such as Lipodissolve are popular alternatives.

However, you need to be aware that there are many risks involved in procedures like these, and they may not give you permanent results.

During a Lipodissolve treatment, a chemical found in lecithin (phosphatidylcholine deoxycholate) is injected into fatty areas such as “love handles” and “bra rolls,” where it dissolves fat cells. But the injectable compound is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and no long-term studies have been conducted on Lipodissolve’s safety.

Among the chief questions about the procedure is where the fat cells go once they are dissolved. Lipodissolve practitioners say the cells are excreted by your body naturally, but no one really knows for sure. According to the FDA, Lipodissolve is a “buyer-beware situation.”

And when it comes to liposuction, a survey of plastic surgeons found that more people die during liposuction than during most other kinds of operations: 19 deaths per 100,000 procedures. Meanwhile the generally accepted death rate for any kind of elective surgery is 1 in 100,000. The most common reported cause of death was pulmonary thromboembolism, or blood clots.

There simply are no better alternatives to a healthy lifestyle if you want a strong and shapely body.

Can You Wake Up to a Flatter Belly?

So, what does proper sleep have to do with a flatter stomach? Researchers have found that all body fat is not created equal, and that holds especially true for belly fat. Abdominal fat has a very rich blood supply and has four times more cortisol receptors than other body fat.

Cortisol is a stress hormone, produced by your adrenal glands in response to stress, but sleeping too little (less than six hours) or too much (more than eight hours) also results in an excess production of cortisol.

The cortisol belly fat connection comes into play when you are under chronic stress, as cortisol tends to store unused fat that has been released by your body in the stress response. Since your belly fat contains large amounts of cortisol receptors, you may tend to gain fat in the abdominal region when you’re chronically stressed or have trouble sleeping properly.

For helpful tips to help you sleep well, please review my 33 secrets to a good night’s sleep. And, to help combat stress — and address any underlying emotional issues that may cause you to lose precious sleep — I highly recommend the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It’s a simple psychological acupressure technique that is routinely used in my practice that can help you optimize your emotional health.

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