Often women tend to get a fatter belly as they age. Belly fat is a common occurrence in today’s world, but it is an obvious development after menopause and is like the price you pay for getting older. Have you wondered why is a fat belly common in older women? It is because, as women get older, the body fat tends to shift towards the abdomen and often settles there.
Research has proved that belly fat carries serious health risks.1 2 However, the good news is that the threats posed by belly fat can significantly be lowered with certain changes incorporated in your lifestyle.
Facts You Must Know About Belly Fat
Our body weight is largely determined by the ratio of the calories we take in and the calories we burn. In today’s world, a common occurrence is eating more and exercising less, which results in carrying excess weight by our bodies, and this includes belly fat.
However, there are certain other factors that lead to adding belly fat. Aging often leads to loss of muscle mass and increase in body fat. The diminishing muscle mass also decreases the rate at which our bodies use up their calories, and this can make weight management quite challenging. Many women notice an increase in belly fat as they grow older even if they aren’t gaining any weight. This often is a result of decrease in the levels of estrogen, which plays a role in the distribution of fat in the body. Sometimes, belly fat is also a genetic component.
Belly Fat Is Not Just Skin-Deep
Belly fat doesn’t lie just below the epidermis. It can be found deeper in the tummy. If you are not sure of how much belly fat is harmful for the body, measure your waist. To take the right measurements, you must learn a few steps:
1. Stand upright and take a tape to measure your bare stomach. Take the measurements just above your hip bone.
2. Make sure that the measurement level is evenly taken all around the waist and the tape is snugging around you but not pushing into the skin.
3. Take the measurements after exhaling once, when you are feeling relaxed, and resist your tendency to suck in your stomach.
If the measurement of your waist is more than 35 inches or 89 centimeters, it indicates that there is an unhealthy concentration of belly fat around your waist and indicates a greater risk of getting affected with certain health problems.
How To Trim Belly Fat?
Toning down abdominal muscles need a few changes in our way of life. Just doing a few exercises cannot reduce belly fat. To fight belly fat, follow these few simple steps:
1. Eat Healthy
Emphasize more on eating plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lentils, and eat low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Always choose to eat lean proteins such as chicken breast, turkey, lean red meat, and grass-fed beef. Eat fish, nuts, and certain vegetable oils that contain monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
2. Avoid Sugar
3. Keep A Check On Your Portions
Even when you are eating healthy food, keep a check on your calories so that they don’t add up. Slim your portion sizes down at home and share your meal when you dine out. Always be careful of what and how much you eat.
4. Physical Activity Is A Must
Be it walking, running, swimming, or cycling, keep 45 minutes to 1 hour aside every day for some sort of physical activities. You may also do strength training if you want to lose weight faster or meet certain weight loss goals.5
To prevent belly fat from coming back, always aim for slow and steady weight loss, i.e. up to 1 kg every week. You may also consult a doctor or a nutritionist before you get started on your weight-loss program.
Challenges You Might Face
Belly fat is not just the extra layer of fat below your skin (subcutaneous fat). It also includes visceral fat that lies deep inside the abdomen and surrounds our internal organs. While subcutaneous fat can only pose a threat to our beauty, visceral fat threatens our overall health as it can affect our cardiovascular health and increase the risk of heart diseases, breathing problems, and type 2 diabetes.
Research has also proved that belly fat leads to early death, regardless of overall weight. A larger waistline increases the risk of dying from heart diseases, and this is the reason you must start taking appropriate measures to cut down the inches from your waistline as soon as you can.6
|↑1||Kopelman, P. “Health risks associated with overweight and obesity.” Obesity reviews 8, no. s1 (2007): 13-17.|
|↑2, ↑6||Klein, Samuel, David B. Allison, Steven B. Heymsfield, David E. Kelley, Rudolph L. Leibel, Cathy Nonas, and Richard Kahn. “Waist circumference and cardiometabolic risk: a consensus statement from shaping America’s health: Association for Weight Management and Obesity Prevention; NAASO, the Obesity Society; the American Society for Nutrition; and the American Diabetes Association.” Obesity 15, no. 5 (2007): 1061-1067.|
|↑3||Goyal, S. K., and R. K. Goyal. “Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) a bio-sweetener: a review.” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition (2010).|
|↑4||Anton, Stephen D., Corby K. Martin, Hongmei Han, Sandra Coulon, William T. Cefalu, Paula Geiselman, and Donald A. Williamson. “Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels.” Appetite 55, no. 1 (2010): 37-43.|
|↑5||Treuth, MARGARITA S., GARY R. Hunter, T. A. M. A. S. Kekes-Szabo, ROLAND L. Weinsier, MICHAEL I. Goran, and L. I. N. C. O. L. N. Berland. “Reduction in intra-abdominal adipose tissue after strength training in older women.” Journal of applied physiology 78, no. 4 (1995): 1425-1431.|