Visceral fat , that unwanted, dangerous fat in your midsection is a major health risk. Picture this…your organs are designed to work together to keep your body running in efficiently and effectively. When your midsection is filled with visceral fat, those organs are essentially being squeezed and making it harder for your body to function properly. So you see, it’s not just about how belly fat looks from the outside (although we all know bathing suit season is almost here). It truly poses one of the most dangerous risks to your overall health. I’ve put together some simple, proven tips that you can use to help get started in reducing your belly fat today.
Increase Your Protein Intake
Eating protein has been shown to reduce cravings, boost metabolism and help you eat less by feeling more satisfied for longer. It assists in building lean muscle, and is essential to reducing your overall fat.
However, not all protein is created equal. When choosing your protein source, you want to avoid processed foods. Your best options are eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, beans and legumes. If you struggle with eating enough protein because of a hectic and busy lifestyle, protein shakes can be a great option for when food prep time is limited. However, you have to be very careful when selecting a brand. You want to avoid any artificial colors, artificial sweeteners (like splenda, aspartame, sucralose etc) or artificial flavors. Look for organic, undenatured whey protein from pastured cows if possible. If you are vegan or prefer dairy free protein, be sure to choose an option that isn’t filled with sweeteners to improve the taste.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
We all know we should be eating as many fruits and vegetables as we can, but we don’t always know why. Fruits & veggies are one of the best natural sources of fiber. Fiber is important because it can help to slow down the digestion process and increase the absorption of nutrients and provides a prolonged feeling of satiety.
Avoid Sugars & Sweeteners
Sugar is metabolized in the liver, and is only capable of processing a certain amount at a time. Anything in excess is converted to fat, which is often stored in the abdominal area. Aside from putting you at risk for diabetes, sugar is also one of the biggest culprits in creating excess body fat.
One of the most effective ways to reduce your sugar consumption is by completely eliminating sugary beverages from your diet. Soda, juice and energy drinks are LOADED with sugar, which is one of the main contributing factors to our nation’s childhood obesity epidemic. I have had clients see DRASTIC changes in their belly fat and lose significant amounts of weight fairly quickly simply by eliminating sugary beverages from their diet. Please note, this does NOT mean you should be replacing your sodas with diet sodas. Introducing artificial sweeteners into your diet actually causes weight gain and introduces you to a whole new set of health issues caused by toxic artificial sweeteners.
Eating a whole foods diet is a great way to avoid sugars and sweeteners. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, avoiding the aisles that contain packaged, processed foods. Lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables are the best foods to help you reduce belly fat.
Monitor Your Carbohydrate Intake
A lot of people think completely eliminating carbs from your diet is necessary to lose weight and decrease belly fat. However, I find that most people do better when they still incorporate carbohydrates into their diet, but in moderate amounts. I usually suggest 1-2 servings a day at most, ideally 1. I consider a serving to be about a handful. Healthy carbs you can incorporate into your diet include brown rice (including brown rice pasta), quinoa and sweet potato. Just be sure to stick to the one handful a day, and you will notice your waistline start to shrink.
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