A flat stomach is the holy grail for anyone chasing the weight loss dream. The mid-section is often the first place for excess fat to settle and the last place that it leaves. Many clients come to Gorgeous Getaways concerned about the weight around their middle, especially sagging skin after dramatic weight loss. Tummy tuck and liposuction procedures are often sought to get rid of excess skin that can-not be removed by exercise and diet alone. But how do lose the weight around the tummy in the first place? Here are some science backed facts and guidelines to follow before you book your surgery.
Anatomy of belly fat
The mid-section contains two different types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is under the skin, it can be pinched and often hangs over the belt in a pouch. Visceral fat is found deeper around vital organs. This fat causes the much loathed ‘beer belly’ look and creates a myriad of health problems. Storing visceral fat can alter the way our hormones use metabolic hormones, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancers. So why does weight settle around the midsection and what can you do about it?
1. Middle age
With age, comes the middle-aged spread across our waistlines. Muscle mass diminishes and fat increases. Because our muscles are active tissues that burn energy and fat, when we lose that muscle it’s more than likely that the fat will pile on. Sex hormones also change as we age. Testosterone encourages men to accumulate fat around the abdomen, and the drop of estrogen in women deposits weight to the stomach.
- Solution: weight training. Toning your large muscle groups at least twice a week will help to rebuild the muscle mass lost when you age. More muscles create a faster metabolism which helps your body to burn more fat.
When life gets busy, your body is burdened with stress. Your body is flooded with stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol that cause an imbalance of blood sugar and an inflammatory response. Stress can also cause a heightened appetite driving you to overeat and gain belly fat.
- Solution: take time to relax. Do something that helps you to relax every day. Meditate, practice yoga, adopt a positive attitude or write in a diary. Whatever it takes to slow down and relax, find time to do it daily.
3. Sleep deprivation
When you’re sleep deprived the body will automatically search for an energy boost. Your brain will stimulate hormones that increase appetite, and have you searching for a quick hit of energy with foods loaded with carbs and sugar.
- Solution: practice good sleep habits. Try to get to bed at the same time each night and avoid the stimulants that will disrupt your sleep like alcohol, coffee and heavy exercise. It can be helpful to set an alarm on your phone for 8.30pm to make sure you steer clear of these stimulants after that time.
If your parents tend to carry weight around the waist, chances are you will too! These genetic traits have been inherited at birth but are only activated when you give them the chance to.
- Solution: make a change. If eating processed foods and avoiding exercise comes naturally, it’s time for a change. Encourage yourself by serving meals on smaller plate, or by leaving your gym bag by the door as a reminder.