Effective Ways To Shrink Belly Fat

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Effective Ways To Shrink Belly Fat

Has the belt around your waist got tighter these days?

An expanding waistline is not just a minor irritant but could well be the starting point for major health disorders. In fact, it ups the ante for several disease conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Stomach fat is primarily of two types– subcutaneous and visceral fat. While the fat that lies just underneath the skin is classified as ‘subcutaneous’, the fat that is present deep inside the belly and around internal organs such as the lungs, heart and the liver, is known as visceral fat. It is the visceral fat that increases the risks of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cancers such as colon cancer and dementia.

Visceral fat is known to cause inflammation and prompt certain molecules to cause hormonal imbalances within the body. Excessive accumulation of this type of fat around the organs augments the production of cytokines (chemicals that are pro-inflammatory).

Why does one accumulate excess fat?

To know how to lose fat, it is necessary to understand how you acquire excess body fat in the very first place. A lean stomach is a key measure of good health; so the body works to maintain this state by regulating appetite and calorie expenditure. Like a well synchronized orchestra, the body acts as the conductor to regulate various chemicals which signal you when to eat and when to stop. This brain-body connection, that is the principal force behind the body’s chemical feedback system, is in charge of making sure whether your weight remains at optimal levels or you become susceptible to accumulating fat.

Fat accumulation and weight gain in the body are centered on your blood sugar levels which are regulated by a hormone called insulin. On eating a meal that is laden with sugar or packed with carbohydrates, this hormone stabilizes the blood sugar levels by lowering them.

When you eat, the starch and sugar molecules of the food are further broken down into simple units of sugar called fructose or glucose in the stomach. These simple units enter the bloodstream and activate the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin, then ensures, that the various cells of the body get this blood sugar uniformly to function optimally. This is the process by which your brain, muscles, tissues etc. get the required energy to function.

Now, in case there is still sugar left in the blood after all the cells have filled their stores, fat starts accumulating wherein the remaining sugar is stored as fat. Certain items like processed foods (white bread and rice) are quickly broken down into simple sugar units which in turn trigger the pancreas to release a large amount of insulin. Insulin levels thus remain high for longer time periods than usual. As a result, you accumulate excessive fat and feel exceedingly hungry.

Effective strategies to get rid of belly fat  

Now that you know how fat accumulates, here are some effective strategies regarding how to get rid of that stubborn belly fat –

  1. Include lots of soluble fibre in your diet

The Logic –

Soluble fibre has a very interesting property that makes it a very effective fat combatant. It forms a gel by absorbing water, thus slowing the passage of food through the digestive system. It promotes satiety, thus making you eat lesser than usual. Fibre also reduces the amount of calories absorbed from food.

What You Can Do?

Add foods to your diet that are rich in fiber. Some fiber rich foods are legumes, Brussel sprouts, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds.

  1. Cut back on alcohol consumption

The Logic –

Alcohol in moderate amounts can be beneficial for health. However, taking it too far and consuming alcohol in large amounts does exactly the opposite. The sugar and calorie content of alcohol contribute to weight gain. Excessive alcohol consumption can also cause damage to the liver and almost every other vital organ of the body.

What You Can Do –

Limit your drink to one a day or once a week.

  1. Bring down your stress levels
Breathe breath woman fresh calm deep air

The Logic –

Stress causes the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body. Rising cortisol levels is linked to more hunger pangs, thus making one susceptible to abdominal fat storage.

What You Can Do –

Indulge in stress busting activities like meditation, tai chi and yoga. Smile more often as it is the simplest way to reduce stress.

  1. Do cardiovascular exercises

The Logic –

Cardiovascular exercises not only enhance your heart health but also burn calories and torch belly fat. It also improves blood circulation in the body.

What you can do –

Opt for activities like swimming or running for at least 25 minutes a day. Try to get involved and play a sport on a regular basis for maximum benefits.

  1. Start a resistance training regimen

The Logic –

Resistance training increases metabolism and muscle mass in the body. Resistance training is an anaerobic method wherein oxygen is not required for the exercise. This results in an EPOC effect (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), leading to an elevated metabolic rate for an extended period of time. More muscle mass also means that you burn calories even when you are at rest.

What you can do –

Start with a simple bodyweight training programs consisting of pushups, squats, sit ups and planks.

  1. Cut back on sugar and refined carbs

The Logic –

As explained earlier in the article, both sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white rice, wheat flour etc. trigger abnormal insulin activity that leads to fat gain. Thus in order to reduce fat, cutting back on both these food types is necessary.

 What you can do –

Replace your ice cream and white bread with curd and whole wheat bread. Avoid adding sugar in your tea and coffee. It is also recommended to limit your fruit intake as certain fruits like mangoes and bananas contain large amounts of fructose that is again, nothing but a type of sugar.

  1. Regulate your food intake

The Logic –

Most people often fail to regulate their food intake in an effective manner. Eating frequently and in large amounts translates to high calorie consumption, resulting in higher body fat levels.

What you can do –

Practice portion control. Eat food in smaller amounts. Also make sure that your food is low on carbohydrates and fat, and high on protein and fibre.

If healthy weight loss is on your mind, consider getting in touch with Portea Activ by calling up 1800 121 2323. It is equally important that you consult a doctor before making drastic life style changes.

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Dr. Hirna Bhatt holds a Master degree in Physiotherapy from Sheffield Hallam University U.K and a Master degree in Acupuncture from Nagpur University. She is specialized in musculoskeletal conditions and have over 3 years of experience in treating patients. Besides working as a therapist, she has keen interest in painting and craft work. She quotes, “Do what makes you happy, success comes in that happiness.”

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