Tags: belly fat | tips | whittle belly fat | whittle middle | dangers of belly fat

10 Tips to Whittle Your Middle

Thursday, 23 Sep 2010 08:11 AM

Belly fat is not only unsightly, it’s dangerous. Studies show that those of us with heavy midsections are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hardening of the arteries, inflammation, and certain types of cancer. Overeating, middle age, previous pregnancies, and even a genetic propensity to gain weight in the tummy are among the culprits. But you don’t have to settle for your apple shape. Follow these tips to help whittle your middle.

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1. Eat whole grains

Participants in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition who ate all whole grains as well as two servings of lean meat, fish, or poultry, five servings of fruits and vegetables, and three servings of low-fat dairy lost more weight from their abdominal area than study participants who ate the same diet — minus the whole grains. Instead, they ate refined grains. Researchers noted the whole grain-rich diet changes the body’s glucose and insulin response, making it easier to lose belly fat.
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2. Skip refined foods

Eating refined foods, like white bread, pastries, and cookies, triggers a series of physical events that starts with a spike in blood sugar levels followed by an increased insulin response, causing fat to be more readily deposited. Eating high-fiber whole grains boosts insulin sensitivity, helping the body more efficiently use blood glucose, lowering blood glucose levels and decreasing fat deposits, nutrition experts say.
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3. Exercise regularly

Getting 60 minutes a day of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, helps shrink belly or visceral fat, which lies deep inside the abdomen and surrounds the organs there. Visceral fat is easier to lose than subcutaneous fat — the kind you can grab with your hand — because it is more metabolically active. Health experts say that the more weight you have to lose, the quicker you start to lose your belly fat.
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4. Cut calories

Watch your portions and eat more complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as lean protein. And while the Flat Belly Diet and its emphasis on eating “good fats” or MUFAs (monounsaturated fats like nuts, avocados, and seeds) has received a lot of attention lately, some health experts says it’s the diet’s overall regimen, which includes regular exercise and a nutritious and healthy Mediterranean-style eating plan, that is helping people lose weight — including belly fat.
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5. Lift weights

Exercising with weights builds and preserves muscle mass, and research has shown it is effective in trimming belly fat. In a University of Pennsylvania study, obese or overweight women who trained with weights for an hour twice a week decreased their proportion of body fat by four percent and were more successful in keeping visceral fat off compared with women given only advice about exercise.
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6. Target your tummy

Experts say that traditional sit-ups are not the most effective way to tone your stomach. What does help are exercises that work the lower and deeper abdominal muscles. Mayoclinic.com recommends exercises that focus on breathing in and drawing in the bellybutton to firm up your deeper abs and doing pelvic lifts and pelvic tilts to tone the lower abs.
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7. Lose 10 pounds

Gaining even a little extra weight around your middle can hinder the function of the cells that line blood vessels, increasing your risk for high blood pressure and blood vessel disease, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. These cells, known as endothelial cells, control the vessels’ ability to contract and dilate, which controls blood flow. The good news is that the function of the vessels of participants studied returned to normal after they lost nine pounds.
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8. Manage your stress

When the body is stressed it releases hormones, including cortisol, which is associated with increased appetite and fat production, typically around the belly. So consider ways of heading off the stress-inducing scenarios that occur in your life. If you’re overworked at the office, ask your supervisor to help you prioritize tasks, advises That’sFit.com. When the actions of someone frustrate you, take a brisk walk and breathe deeply. Also, skip the sugar and caffeine, which can make you more anxious.
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9. Aviod trans fats

Here’s another reason to avoid trans fats, which raise “bad” cholesterol levels and increase the risk of coronary artery disease: They can redistribute fat tissue to your belly and lead to a higher body weight, even if you are controlling calories, according to a study at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Trans fats are found mainly in foods prepared with partially hydrogenated oil. The Food and Drug Administration now requires food labels to include trans fat content.
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10. Sleep well

Inadequate sleep decreases leptin, a protein that acts as an appetite suppressant and tells the body when it is full. It also inhibits our production of insulin, which regulates blood sugar. In addition to obesity, sleep deprivation is associated with diabetes, heart disease, and depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep a night for adults.


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Belly fat is not only unsightly, it’s dangerous. Studies show that those of us with heavy midsections are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hardening of the arteries, inflammation, and certain types of cancer.
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2010-11-23
Thursday, 23 Sep 2010 08:11 AM
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