You already know that carrying excess weight in general can put you at greater risk of a number of serious health conditions. But doctors agree that when that weight is carried around your midsection, the risk is even greater. That’s because fat that is stored in the abdominal cavity, next to vital organs, is much more dangerous than fat stored elsewhere (like your thighs, hips, buttocks, or back).
If you’re concerned about belly fat, you don’t have to just accept the extra weight. You can do three things to target these stubborn pounds.
Exercise. Any exercise is always better than none at all. A daily walk can be quite effective at battling excess weight. However, when it comes to belly fat, alternating bursts of speed with a more comfortable speed will help you burn more calories. Walk at a comfortable pace for about three minutes, then walk as fast as you can for about 30 seconds. Repeat this pattern throughout your walk.
You can apply the same method to bike riding (stationary or street), swimming, or any other activity. Of course, it is always wise to talk to your doctor about a new exercise program before you get started.
Cut back on sugar. When you eat sugar, or simple carbohydrates, it is released into your bloodstream very quickly. Then, whatever you don’t use will be stored as fat. Focus on foods that are digested more slowly, like protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Your blood sugar will remain more level throughout the day, avoiding the excesses that get turned into fat tissue.
Eat more plant based foods. These foods promote healthy digestion and help you to feel full in between meals, reducing cravings for sugary foods. Those that contain healthy fats, like avocados and olive oil, offer the healthy fats that can reduce insulin sensitivity and inflammation.
As for grains, focus on whole grains over processed versions. Studies have shown that dieters who eat whole grains lose more fat from their midsections.
If you worry about your risk for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, talk to your doctor at your next check-up. He or she can advise you on your personal risk factors and methods to manage them.