Beer belly, spare tyre, love handles, muffin top. These innocuous terms all refer to one phenomena: abdominal fat. And it is anything but harmless.
If your midriff exceeds more than 40 ins, you need to actively do something about it. Not just for your beach selfies this year, but for your future health.
This is subcutaneous fat – the ‘pinch more than an inch’ fat, however, if that is growing it points to a hidden danger; further deposits known as visceral fat, which sit silently around the major organs such as the liver, pancreas, kidneys and intestines.
This has the capacity to affect hormone function and therefore if it is if not kept in check, it could heighten the chances of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers.
Such is the concern that belly fat is/was the theme of Men’s Health Week (12 -18 June).
The good news is once men put their mind to making a change, there is often a noticeable difference even with the smallest of lifestyle adjustments. And it is the old advice that we all know so well that needs to be adhered to:
- Take part in regular exercise. If you are not already aware of it and your GP says you are good to go, try a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout two or three times a week. Bursts of energetic activity are combined with short rest periods. You can commit to less than 20 minutes at a time and will be doing 30 seconds of jumping jacks, jogging on the spot, squats, lunges and push ups with a 10-15 second pause in between. You can do this in the privacy of your own home or garden and you just need your trainers, some water and the determination. It blasts the belly fat like nothing else. Watch some online videos to get an idea and check the form and then go for the burn.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. We all know the foods we do not need. Enjoy the seasonal fruit and vegetables at the moment and make protein – poultry and fish – a mainstay of your meals. It keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Opt for eggs or omelette at breakfast time and you won’t get the mid-morning munchies.
- Ensure you regularly get a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown it helps in the battle of the bulge.
- Do your best to reduce your stress. Increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol lead to visceral fat stores. Deep breathing, music, a walk, swim or bike ride, just some quiet away from life’s demands helps.
- Limit alcohol intake. This is nothing but empty calories that you easily lose track of and are then laid down as fat.
- As if you need another reason to do this - quit smoking. It has been shown to cause abdominal fat.
You will be tightening your belt before you know it.
You will be tightening your belt before you know it
Published on 01 June 2017