Today’s lifestyle is geared towards making us fat.
We work more hours than ever, so we don’t want to spend our precious few hours off cooking healthy meals, so we opt for less-healthy, quicker options. High stress coupled with the unhealthy foods we eat lead to insane levels of body fat production!
In addition, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements and time-lapse cooking videos that make us hungry for all the wrong foods.
Is it any wonder that a solid third of America is considered obese?
It’s time we did something about our unhealthy fat.
What is visceral fat?
The fat you see on your body is called subcutaneous fat, and it lies just under the skin. While unsightly, the real killer is the visceral fat, which lies deeper underneath. It’s so deep, in fact, that it even wraps around some of your internal organs.
People with potbellies typically have a lot of visceral fat which pushes the subcutaneous fat further out.
This especially vicious kind of fat is linked to everything bad from cancer and diabetes to depression and dementia, and they change the way your body operates. Essentially, it exponentially increases your risk for all things related to bad health.
What can you do about it
1. Develop a regular exercise plan
Eating healthier will help you avoid gaining new visceral and subcutaneous fat, but you need to exercise to burn the fat you already have, and that exercise needs to be regular.
Exercising sporadically messes with your metabolism, and often causes you to yo-yo in size. When you do this, you typically never even get to the visceral fat, and it layers up. In short, you’re better off not losing the fat at all than losing it and gaining it back.
Experts recommend High-Intensity Interval Training, also known as HIIT. HIIT exercise involves short bursts of intense cardiovascular work. This type of training requires less time than traditional cardio and strength training, and it’s known to blast belly fat.
If HIIT seems too intense, commit to a program you know you can keep up for long periods of time. Perhaps you can start with stretching for ten minutes when you wake up and going for a 30-minute walk every day. You need to start somewhere, though. Don’t let intense workouts scare you into doing nothing.
2. Cut out refined sugar and carbs
The main way visceral fat develops is by ingesting more sugar than you need. Your body, particularly your blood, needs sugar, but when we eat more than we need, the rest gets turned into fat.
Your blood cells use insulin to break down the sugars, and the more we eat sugars, the more insulin floods our blood. Unfortunately, too much insulin can change the way our cells function.
Experts recommend eating foods high in healthy fats to help satisfy your sweet tooth. Eat natural foods rather than packaged foods.
Simply put, your body doesn’t function correctly when you don’t get enough sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation also leads to increased appetite along with a slower metabolism, so you always feel hungry and can’t burn off your calories.
Doctors recommend eight hours of sleep per night as a baseline rule, but everybody’s needs are different. Experiment with what sleep you need; some people do fine with five hours when other people need ten.
Getting enough sleep can also reduce your reliance on caffeine, which can increase your harmful stress levels.
4. Reduce stress
Stress produces the hormone cortisol, which stimulates visceral fat production.
The number one thing you can do to reduce stress in your life is to reduce your commute to work. Find closer housing, change your work hours to avoid rush hour, or work from home one day a week. Reducing your commute allows you more free time and reduces your time spent performing inactive tasks. Plus, it cuts down on all the stress of traffic.
If you can’t cut down your commute, try listening to soothing music or audio books to keep your attitude fresh and happy.
Other stress-reducing habits include journaling to express your frustrations, cutting down on caffeine, and getting regular exercise.