Belly Fat: What's a Man to Do?

Image of man with belly fat

Belly fat is a top concern among men, even more so than women.

Men are you ready to eliminate that unhealthy, unattractive roll around your middle for good?

The most important thing you have to do to eliminate a big belly is to improve the health of your liver.

If you have a fat belly, then you very likely have a fatty liver. Your liver is your fat-burning organ. If it is dealing with fat and toxins, it can't perform its fat-burning duties.

As you begin losing fat your liver health will improve and as it improves so will your metabolism! The result is easier, more permanent weight loss for you!

The Facts About Belly Fat

Is belly fat inherited? Your genes can affect your chances of being overweight or obese, as well as where you carry extra fat on your body. For most men, however, the problem likely has more to do with lifestyle than inherited traits.

Can you really get a beer belly from drinking? Yes. Drinking excess alcohol can cause you to gain belly fat. However, beer alone isn't to blame. Drinking too much alcohol of any kind can increase belly fat.

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Limiting yourself to two drinks a day, or less, will reduce the amount of calories you consume and help you avoid gaining belly fat. It's also better for your liver health.

Research is showing that wine in moderation may be less likely to cause belly fat.

Does having a fat belly lower testosterone levels? Yes. The more fat cells a man has, the more estrogen his body produces, and testosterone levels will decline.

Do spot reducing exercises, like sit ups, work? No. Spot exercises are beneficial for building specific muscles, but have little effect, if any, on fat in that area of the body.

The same logic applies to sit-ups and belly fat. Sit-ups, crunches and other abdominal exercises are great for building the abdominal muscles, but have little effect, if any, on the actual fat located there.

It's more than just unattractive, it's dangerous. A US study, reported in the May 2010 Annals of Neurology, examining over 700 adults found evidence to suggest higher volumes of visceral fat, regardless of overall weight, were associated with smaller brain volumes and increased risk of dementia.

People with belly fat are at greater risk of serious health problems than people who accumulate fat in other areas.

Having a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Some types of cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • High triglycerides
  • Low levels of HDL, or good, cholesterol
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Inflammation, which is linked to hardening of the arteries

Some encouraging news for those who are significantly overweight: The more weight you have to lose, the more quickly you're likely to start losing your belly fat. Experts say, people who are significantly overweight may see quicker results in their belly fat loss than someone who has less to lose in that area.

Image of man measuring belly fat

Find out if you're mid-section is placing you at higher risk of heart disease. For most men, the risk factors for heart disease and other diseases increase with a waist size greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters). For women, it's 35 inches (88.9 centimeters).

To measure your waist:

  1. Place a tape measure around your bare abdomen just above your hipbone.
  2. Pull the tape measure until it fits snugly around you but doesn't push into your skin.
  3. Make sure the tape measure is level all the way around.
  4. Relax, exhale and measure your waist. No cheating!

The 12 Step Program to Lose Belly Fat

The key to ridding yourself of that belly fat is consistency. Eating right and exercising regularly needs to become a habit, not just something you do when you "have the time." If your current schedule makes it difficult to find the time for exercise, change it. Get out of bed earlier. Turn off the TV. Stop wasting time, and get busy.

Begin incorporating the following guidelines into you daily lifestyle and start losing that belly fat!

  1. Consume plenty of pure water. Dehydration slows the rate of the fat burning. Mild dehydration can cause a 3% drop in baseline metabolism, resulting in the gain of one pound of fat every six months!

    *Important: First thing each morning add fresh lemon juice to your water to give your liver a boost. Have another glass of lemon water each evening.

  2. Don't eat unless you are hungry. It's also important to eat at intervals throughout the day to avoid getting so hungry that you overeat at the first chance. It doesn't matter how healthy the foods are that you eat if you eat too much of them.

    The extra food you consume will always be stored as FAT. Overeating also makes you tired, therefore you're not as active.

  3. Cleanse your liver. I'm not speaking of liver cleansing kits. You can cleanse your liver by following a liver cleansing diet. Once you have spent a few weeks on the liver cleansing diet you can easily switch over to a Mediterranean diet plan, a delicious, healthy and very satisfying way of eating.
  4. Fast one day each week. Another way to keep that liver cleansed and running smoothly is a fresh juice or smoothie fast or raw food fast one day each week. Choose a day and each week on that day consume only fresh fruit and vegetable juices, or if you don't have access to a juicer, you can choose to consume only raw fruits and vegetables, or whip up a smoothie in your blender using fresh fruits and/or veggies.
  5. Soups, stir-frys, and salads. These are great choices for your lunches and dinners. Most soups, stir-frys, and salads will be predominantly vegetables with some meat and some occasional pasta or brown rice. Check out The MediterrAsian Way Cookbook and website for some excellent recipes for stir-frys and Mediterranean dishes.
  6. When it comes to grains eat sparingly. Also choose brown rice and oats most often. Make vegetables and fruits your main fiber source in your diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables should dominate your diet with grains making up a very small percentage of your food intake.

    When you do choose whole grain or stone ground breads, pitas, tortillas, or flat breads for snacks or meals use healthy lowfat spreads such as all-natural nut butters, mashed avocado, hummus, or tahini (sesame seed paste). Coconut oil is also a great spread on toast.

  7. Eat fish, poultry, and lean meats. Avoid processed meats! Processed meats include hot dogs, sausage, bacon, pepperoni, bologna, corned beef, Spam, and well....the list goes on. These meats are high in sodium, nitrates, nitrites, colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, hydrogenated oils and FAT!

    Salmon, chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of steak are all excellent choices. Don't forget that eggs are also a great source of high quality protein.

  8. Eliminate sodas and reduce the consumption of sugary foods. Just eliminating sodas will make a huge difference in your fat loss.

    A healthy liver can not be maintained when high amounts of sugar are consumed. It is a primary contributor to fatty liver disease, but reducing your sugar intake will go a long way toward reversing liver damage and getting rid of that fat belly.

  9. Eliminate trans fats from your life. Trans fats are a serious health problem. Also known as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, they could be destroying your health and the health of your family.
  10. Regular physical activity is mandatory. No matter what those diet pill commercials say; if you want to get rid of that belly fat you must include regular, daily exercise into your lifestyle. The benefits of exercise to your body are really so much more than just eliminating belly fat. Not only does it benefit you physically, but also mentally and emotionally!

    It's best to mix it up. Aerobic exercises some days and weight bearing exercises on other days. If you hate walking on a treadmill, try push-mowing your yard. There are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your day without going to a gym. Get creative!

  11. Sufficient sleep. Sleep is very important. Inadequate sleep means excess secretion of cortisol, the stress hormone, and that leads to insulin resistance, belly fat accumulation, and inflammation.
  12. Avoid late night snacks and stop comfort eating. The main problem with late night snacking is that there is not much activity done afterward. Often we go straight to bed right after that late night meal. This causes high sugar levels in the blood stream. The excess sugar can turn into belly fat very quickly.

    Late night snacking is often emotional eating or eating due to boredom. If you truly feel hungry try drinking a glass of water with fresh lemon juice, or a banana can be a good late night snack.

Don't try to implement all of these changes at the same time. I would recommend starting some form of exercise right away and then go from there.

Please continue exploring the website. Good liver function is your best weapon in your battle to lose that roll of fat, and there is plenty of information throughout the site to help you improve your liver health.

Don't forget to subscribe to the free quarterly newsletter, The Liverguru's Health Message, to stay current on new, healthy recipes and other healthy liver information added weekly.

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