Stacie L has had a love of medical research most of her life and has shared her experiences and findings on Hubpages.
Big Belly means big trouble
There is an epidemic of weight gain in this country and now in developing countries around the world. This is probably due to our unhealthy western diet and sedentary life styles. The weight gain is usually noticed around the belly or abdomen area first.
Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is associated with marked increases in blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels. Therefore, people with fat concentrated in the waist have a greater risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, and diabetes than individuals who carry extra pounds in their hips, buttocks and thighs. That's why I call it dangerous to your health. Belly fat is stored energy and to get rid of the layer of fat you need to burn more energy (calories) than you eat.
A study published in the Journal of Neurology, suggests that having a larger belly in middle age may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
This may lead to a situation where one has to even face the isolation risk from the society, which further aggravates the serious condition. Reducing fat levels requires a natural approach that doesn’t come from popping diet pills or gulping down foul tasting drinks.
A Different Kind of Fat
Visceral fat is stored in the peritoneal cavity in between internal body organs, as opposed to subcutaneous fat which is found just beneath your skin and intramuscular fat which is found in skeletal muscles.
This also declines as visceral fat levels go up. Visceral fat, which accumulates in the belly and clings to the abdominal organs, appears to be more harmful than subcutaneous, superficial fat that's carried just beneath the skin around the thighs, hips, and backside.
The fat on your belly is sending out mixed messages to your brain and body. Belly fat in men begins when the caloric intake of food exceeds the body’s ability to burn the calories off. These excess calories are converted to fat and stored until the body needs the energy. Belly fat also won't come off by trying to spot reduce only doing sit-ups or crunches. It's just not possible to spot reduce, so don't waste your time.
Eat more sensibly
People who are over weight dread the "d" word-diet. You'll notice the word "die" is prominent. No one wants to die from a diet, nor do they want to die from eating so a sensible eating plan is required. Like your mother told you as a kid ,"eat your vegetables." Research proves that eating more vegetables and fruits,along with healthy fats and a small amount of carbs,can reduce your waistline.
Filling your stomach with salads,fresh pieces of your favorite fruits and some low carb veggies will help keep you fuller.
The carb and sugar addiction is like a drug in the country. Children and adults alike eat sugar and junk foods everyday. Breaking this addiction is tough,so have a buddy to help. Don't put it in your shopping cart at all. Shop around the perimeter of the supermarket only. Drink distilled water whenever you feel any hunger and before each meal.
Research on visceral fat
Visceral fat reduction is very important. here are some ways to accomplish that. Research shows time and again that if you have support (workout buddy, trainer, online support forum) then you will succeed. If you don't, you're bound to fail.
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that non-exercisers experienced a nine percent increase in visceral fat after six months of being sedentary. More active subjects, who walked the equivalent of 12 miles a week, experienced no weight gain.
Research has shown that having extra fat around the middle — the “apple” shape — may be linked to a higher risk for heart disease. The problem is, you can’t really target weight loss to one part of your body.
Belly fat on men and women
A woman with a waist size measuring 35 inches or wider or a man whose waist is 40 inches or wider are at the greatest risk for health problems related to excess visceral fat. Even if your waist is several inches smaller than those markers, you could still face an increased risk of weight-related health problems. Dr. Oz recommends holding in your stomach; I don't know if I agree with this.
Menopausal weight gain
Whether it's because of heredity, hormonal changes or aging-related weight gain, many women notice an increase in belly fat as they grow older — and especially after menopause. Gaining fat in your abdomen is particularly unhealthy when compared to other locations in your body. Get rid of stubborn belly fat. There is more to the belly fat issue than targeting just the stomach area. While sit-ups and crunches do strengthen the abdominal muscles, it isn’t enough. . Belly fat also won't come off by trying to spot reduce only doing sit-ups or crunches. It's just not possible to spot reduce.
Now that researchers have demonstrated the linkage between belly fat, inflammation and hardened arteries, and a potential mechanism for reversing the phenomenon.. Specifically, they’re looking for the factors that might trigger macrophages to invade the area and bring on inflammation, and for blood-borne molecules called bio-markers that might be used as a way to identify early warning signs of atherosclerosis.
Even with diet and exercise, it may be difficult to get rid of the excessive belly fat that grows around your waist. Potentially it is due to the stress hormone cortisol. But remember, there’s no such thing as losing weight just from a targeted area, so doing crunches and sit-ups won’t make you lose belly fat unless you follow an overall weight-loss plan.
While increased belly fat is most noticeable in people who drink to excess, keeping it to less than two drinks a day will reduce the amount of calories you consume and help you avoid putting on belly fat. It is also better for your overall health. To figure out how much belly fat you have, use a tape measure to size up your midsection. Pull the tape measure around your abdomen at about the level of your navel.
Exercise Bike Buying Guide
If you have access to a swimming pool, then do some laps in the pool, or at least walk around in it. The water resistance will strengthen your muscles and aid with endurance. Probably the best thing to do first, is to get a check up first. Make sure you can exercise. This is the best form of exercise for those who are morbidly obese and have some mobility issues.
Weights training---Besides aerobic workouts, work out with weights at least two or three times a week. Start out with small weights (3-5 pounds) and then graduate to heavier ones. Weight training exercise will burn fat and help you gain muscle. Get rid of stubborn belly fat. Women should not fear weight training - pump some iron, so compound exercises like squats, rows, barbell curls, bench press. Women do not generally bulk up, and weight training is an excellent way to burn fat.
Resistance bands are another low cost way to strengthen your muscles. Muscles do burn more calories than fat. You can take theses rubber bands or tubes anywhere and get a good workout, without any excuses.
Riding a bike is easy and almost anyone can accomplish this. get an indoor bike or go to a gym and use their spinner bike. The spinner is a new type of bike that is becoming popular and is said to burn more calories than the traditional stationary bikes. The resistance is adjusted and instructor-led classes take participants through vigorous phases of 30 minutes to burn more calories.
If you haven't exercised or used a bike for years, then a stationary one that you can use at your own pace is better to start with. When you have built up your stamina,then using a cruising bike around the neighborhood or park is a good next step.
Cleansing is a way to detoxify and "clean out the pipes", so to speak. The colon can become inefficient with excess waste, which can lead to irregularity, bloating, and sluggishness. If you ever noticed your belly becoming bigger and can't produce regular bowel movements, then a cleansing will certainly help.
A cleansing recipe is simple enough for anyone to follow. Cleaning out the colon can rev up the metabolism, and give you new energy. Isn't that what we all want?
Drastic Measures to reduce stored fat
Since belly fat is stored energy, the best way to get rid of the layer of fat is to burn more energy (calories) than you eat. So how can you get rid of your belly fat? Well, there is no quick fix solution at the moment unless you opt for various potentially dangerous and painful invasive medical procedures such as lap-band surgery. I know many people who have belly fat around the middle stomach area and lean, muscular legs. They do not know what else to do.
Lap–band surgery is a last resort just as gastric bypass surgery.
Gastric by pass surgery is recommended for those who are morbidly obese; more than a hundred pounds over weight. That is another subject , altogether. I wanted to touch on a subject and problem that most middle age people have and now, younger people.
Make a Smoothie to Cleanse the Body
Summary of reducing belly fat and becoming healthy
Here are some simple suggestions to help reduce calories and get in more exercise. Park far away from a store and walk .This won’t hurt as much as you think. Just keep thinking about how you’ll be saving money on new clothes and your food bill.
Take the stairs whenever you can. No, I don’t think you should walk up twenty stories, but maybe a few to start with and increase that each time.
If it’s too cold outside now, buy a second hand glider or Gazelle, such as the one that Tony Little endorses. It is no impact and very easy to use. It gives a total body workout.
I've defined and listed why belly fat is dangerous and how to reduce it with some easy and doable methods.
Get in the habit of drinking water. Try to fill a bottle or thermos each time you go someplace. It will cut any hunger pangs and hydrate your body.
Get a good eating plan in place. Notice I didn’t say the “d” word. If you have protein , along with a starch and a vegetable for each meal. that should help to keep hunger satisfied. I’ve followed the principles of the diets below and it really works.
Supplements are a good addition to help keep the metabolism running, burn fat and supply essential vitamins and minerals.
A colon cleanse can be beneficial to get the digestive system running more efficiently. An efficient digestive system can burn more calories.
Moderate exercise that is easy to start and builds up to a longer pace is recommended. Start at home with a bike, or go for a swim to move those muscles. The more movement,the faster the fat disappears.
Belly fat is hard to get rid of and normal techniques that worked for you in your twenties may not do as well when you are in your fifties. These food plans and exercises tips are meant to create an easy plan to aid you in your health and wellness. I wish you success.
© 2008 Stacie L
Stacie L (author) on April 16, 2011:
Surfraz: thank you for visiting and your comments.
Surfraz from India on April 16, 2011:
Wow really a great hub,for those who get rid of their excess fat and belly. very informative. keep it up.
Stacie L (author) on April 14, 2011:
thanks for reading and commenting on my hub, The Jet!
The Jet from The Bay on April 14, 2011:
Man, I gotta tell about a dozen people now to get rid of their beer belly. Thanks for the heads up!
Stacie L (author) on April 04, 2011:
@smith.alan00: thank you for reading and commenting
smith.alan00 from New York City on April 04, 2011:
Good information about how Belly fat affects the the other part of body and increases Blood pressure etc.
Stacie L (author) on March 11, 2011:
@chloe's hub: thanks for commenting
Stacie L (author) on March 11, 2011:
@chistryon; thank you for reading and commenting
chloe's hub on March 10, 2011:
wah.. its really that dangerous.. have to burn some more...
christryon on February 01, 2010:
Hi Stacie, people don't realize how dangerous belly fat can be. Thank you for shedding some much needed light on this subject.
Enjoy your evening.
Stacie L (author) on May 31, 2009:
thanks for the funny comments Neil!
Neil Sperling from Port Dover Ontario Canada on May 31, 2009:
Time to burn some calories - at least I can still see my toes!
anjalichugh from New York on December 31, 2008:
Big belly is the worst thing to have, in my opinion. It does not go easily, no matter what you do. That's why, I see so many women taking recourse to 'liposuction' and other allied techniques. I don't know how safe is that, though.
Stacie L (author) on November 19, 2008:
LOL! It's hard to enjoy the holiday treats and have to be reminded of fat!
Dottie1 from MA, USA on November 18, 2008:
That's exactly why I stay on top of belly fat now so I can pig out during the holidays. Stacie, I wouldn't be that cruel to myself, are you kiddin, lol.
Stacie L (author) on November 15, 2008:
Thank you Benson Yeung for your kind words.:= )
Benson Yeung from Hong Kong on November 15, 2008:
Often written topic so nicely done. I am not overweight but still attracted to this.
Stacie L (author) on November 12, 2008:
Oh Dottie1 ,the holidays are just no fun if ya have to count calories!
All in moderation ;-)
Dottie1 from MA, USA on November 12, 2008:
Best to stay on top of belly fat now before the holidays come! Thanks for the reminder of the danger of belly fat.
Stacie L (author) on November 12, 2008:
well thank you for the compliment,Kulsum! yes, people don't realize that belly fat isn't just skin deep;it's dangerous! ;0
Dr Kulsum Mehmood from Nagpur, India on November 12, 2008:
Nice hub stacie. Very good photos too. Belly fat is an invitation to diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. It needs to be shed off, but it is challanging to keep it that way.
Julianna from SomeWhere Out There on November 01, 2008:
I know we do as the metabolism slows down , I have been walking and jogging as the entire pant and dress thing and and gaining 15lbs depresses me. I have always been 125lbs and now presto chunko:) Oh well we will get it off. Keep me posted on your progress and I will keep you posted on mine. :)
Stacie L (author) on November 01, 2008:
thank you for your comments.itoo have noticed the lbs creeping up;as I entered menopaue.
we have to be vigilant ;=0
Julianna from SomeWhere Out There on November 01, 2008:
This article definitely got my attention, I am only 15lbs overweight however I do have a little belly fat that is a concern. Thanks for writing this article as more should read it,:)