Picture this: you're at the beach, wearing your new bikini with the cute little ruffle bottom. You bend down to pick up your towel, and... what's that? A lump of abdominal fat, right there on display for the world to see. Or maybe you're trying on clothes at the store, and that dreaded muffin top just won't fit into your pants no matter how hard you try.
You should feel confident and beautiful in your own skin, but instead, you can't help but notice the protruding belly fat that seems to sag just a little bit too much.
You've tried every fad diet out there, but those last few pounds just won't budge. Sound familiar? If you're struggling to get rid of abdominal fat, you're not alone.
Now, losing this fat might not have been as much of a problem when you were in your twenties with bursting energy and stamina. But with time, our bodies change just the way our lives do. As we move into our golden years, our relationships strengthen, our bank account bucks up, and our family grows.
With all that growth, one little thing that doesn't align in your favor is the belly fat. You know what I'm talking about, ladies! That little paunch seems to grow each year exponentially. That's just a package that the 40s bring along!
Belly fat, otherwise known as abdominal fat, is the kind of body fat that tends to accumulate around your midsection. This type of fat is notoriously difficult to lose, but there are a few things you can do to fight the battle.
And in this article, we will discuss what measures you can take to bring those love handles back and add a little more lusciousness to them.
Related Article: If You're Over 40 – Follow These 7 Best Weight Loss Tips
Types of Belly Fat
Before we move on to discuss the ways to reduce belly fat. It's important to know the types of belly fat and how each type affects our bodies:
Subcutaneous Belly Fat
Subcutaneous belly fat is the kind of fat that you can squeeze with your fingers. Generally, women have more of this "jiggling" fat than men. It's the layer of fat directly under the skin, and it's the kind of fat most people are interested in when trying to lose weight.
That's because subcutaneous belly fat is the type of fat that's most responsive to diet and exercise. When you lose weight, you lose subcutaneous belly fat first. And when you gain weight, you gain subcutaneous belly fat first. That's why paying attention to your diet and exercise habits is important if you want to keep your belly size small.
Although subcutaneous belly fat doesn't pose as critical a health risk as visceral belly fat, it can still impact your health. For one thing, it can make you self-conscious about your appearance. Additionally, subcutaneous belly fat can lead to inflammation, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic diseases, insulin resistance, and certain kinds of cancers.
Visceral Belly Fat
Visceral fat is different from the subcutaneous fat that you can pinch with your fingers. This type of fat is much more metabolically active, meaning it's more likely to be used for energy by your body. However, because visceral fat is located near your organs, it's also more likely to release harmful substances into your bloodstream.
These substances include pro-inflammatory cytokines, linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions. In addition, visceral fat is also associated with insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.
And while you may not be able to see it or feel it, visceral fat can significantly impact your health. In fact, recent studies have shown that losing just a small amount of visceral fat can significantly improve health.
Contrary to subcutaneous belly fat, men are more likely to accumulate visceral belly fat. It turns out that body fat distribution is not only determined by genetics but also by age. For example, premenopausal women tend to have higher levels of subcutaneous belly fat, while postmenopausal women are more likely to have excess visceral fat.
Why is It Hard to Lose Belly Fat?
Losing belly fat after 40 can be tough. And while it is an established fact, let's have a closer look at what causes belly fat and why it is that challenging of a task during that age:
It's no secret that as we age, our metabolism slows down, and it becomes harder to lose weight - especially around our midsection. But why is this? Well, there are two reasons.
First, our bodies become less efficient at burning calories as we age. Second, we tend to lose muscle mass as we get older, which further contributes to a slower metabolism. While it may seem like an uphill battle, don't despair! With a little hard work and dedication, you can still achieve your weight loss goals after 40.
As we age, our bodies produce less of the hormone testosterone. And unfortunately, this hormone plays a crucial role in helping to build muscle and burn fat. So, with less testosterone, it becomes more difficult to maintain a healthy weight - let alone lose it.
Other hormones can also contribute to weight gain as we age. For example, levels of the hormone insulin tend to increase with age. Insulin helps to store fat in the body, so higher levels can make it more difficult to lose extra pounds. Additionally, the stress hormone cortisol can also lead to increased belly fat storage - making it even more challenging to slim down as we get older.
Not only do you have to deal with hot flashes and mood swings, but you also have to contend with the dreaded "menopause belly." This extra fat tends to accumulate around the waistline during perimenopause and menopause.
And, no matter how hard you try, losing that stubborn belly fat can seem impossible. There are several reasons why menopause can make it difficult to lose weight, including hormonal changes, lower levels of activity, and changes in diet.
And while there are a number of factors that contribute to this, one of the most significant is metabolism. Simply put, metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into energy.
And as you age, your metabolism slows down, making it harder to lose weight. In fact, research has shown that people over the age of 40 tend to burn about 100 fewer calories per day than their younger counterparts.
So, if you're looking to slim down after 40, you'll need to work a little harder than you did in your 20s and 30s.
Related Article: What is a 1000-Calorie Diet Plan and Why It is an Effective Solution to Rapid Weight Loss
After 40, our metabolism slows down, and we begin to lose muscle mass. And if we're under a lot of stress, it can make things even worse. When we're stressed, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol signals our bodies to store fat, especially around the abdominal area. So, if you're trying to lose weight and you're over 40, it's essential to find ways to manage your stress levels.
How to Lose Belly Fat?
Struggle with the gains in the stomach area is real, and dealing with it can be pretty frustrating. No matter how strict a diet you follow or how hard you exercise, it just doesn't seem to budge at times. Well, we have jotted down a list whose combination will allow you to get your desired numbers on the scale:
According to some experts, stress is one of the leading causes of weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area. When we're stressed, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol, which can lead to an increase in appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods. Cortisol also encourages the body to store fat in the abdominal area.
There are a number of ways to manage stress, and what works for one person may not work for another. But some simple stress-management techniques include things like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.
By taking some time out to relax and de-stress, you can help reduce the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body, which can, in turn, help you lose weight.
A recent study has shown that increased protein intake can help you lose belly fat. The study found that those who ate more protein had less abdominal fat than those who ate a lower-protein diet. So, if you're looking to shed off excess fat in your midsection, make sure to include plenty of protein in your diet.
There are many ways to add protein to your diet, including eating lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, eggs, and dairy products. You can also get protein from nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds.
And don't forget about protein-rich foods like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and hemp seeds. Taking a whey protein supplement is also an excellent way to increase protein intake.
Related Article: 5 Absolute Ways to Deal With Hunger Pangs During Your Weight Loss Journey
Add Whole Foods
Whole foods are an excellent way to help shed belly fat. They're packed with nutrients that help boost metabolism and keep you feeling full longer. Plus, they're low in calories and unhealthy fats.
So, if you're looking to slim down, be sure to stock up on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And stay away from processed foods as much as possible. With a little effort, you can help rid your body of belly fat for good!
Reducing your salt intake can also help you lose those pounds, especially if you're carrying an extra amount in your stomach area. When you consume too much salt, your body retains water to dilute the salt concentration.
This can lead to weight gain, as the water adds weight and volume to your stomach area. By reducing your salt intake, you can help reduce water retention and shrink your stomach.
One surefire way to banish the bulge is weight training. When you lift weights, your body is forced to use more energy. This means that your body will burn more calories, even when you're not working out.
In addition, strength training helps to build lean muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn all day long. Finally, weight lifting can help to tone your stomach muscles, giving you a tighter, flatter tummy.
So, if you're looking for the best exercise to lose belly fat, start lifting those dumbbells.
Reduce Cardio Training
It's a common misunderstanding that doing lots of cardio is the key to losing belly fat. In fact, too much cardio can actually make it harder to lose weight in this area. This is because when you do too much cardio, your body goes into survival mode and starts holding onto fat stores.
So, if you're looking to reduce belly fat, it's time to cut back on the cardio and focus on building some muscle. This will help boost your metabolism and burn more fat during and after your workouts.
If you want to lose belly fat, you may want to consider limiting your alcohol intake. While a glass of wine or beer can be enjoyable, drinking in excess can lead to weight gain. Alcohol contains calories that can add up quickly and inhibits the body's ability to burn fat.
When you drink excessively, your liver becomes busy metabolizing the alcohol instead of burning fat. As a result, you may find it more challenging to lose weight, even if you're following a healthy diet and exercise plan.
Take Proper Sleep
Though many factors can contribute to this problem, one of the most common is simply a lack of sleep. When you don't get enough rest, your body's metabolism slows down, making it harder to lose weight.
In addition, research has shown that sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of the "hunger hormone" ghrelin, which can make you feel hungrier and more likely to indulge in high-calorie foods.
So, if you're serious about reducing belly fat, be sure to get plenty of rest. Aim for eight hours per night, and you'll be on your way to a trimmer tummy in no time!
1. What are good exercises good to ‘spot reduce’ belly fat?
There is NO such exercise that helps ‘spot reduce’ fat stores. But, that shouldnt stop you from doing core exercises! They are still extremely helpful building strength and stability, especially for your lower back. Here are three awesome abdominal exercises you can add to your routine:
- First up is the trusty old sit-up. Sit-ups are great for targeting your lower abdominal muscles, and they can be done just about anywhere. To do a sit-up, simply lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Then, slowly lift your upper body off the ground, leading with your chin. Hold for a second, then lower back down. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
- Next is the bicycle exercise. This one is also great for targeting your lower abs. To do the bicycle exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and both hands behind your head. Slowly raise your right elbow and left knee toward each other as you straighten your right leg. Hold for a second, then switch sides and repeat. Continue alternating sides for 30-60 seconds (or as long as you can!).
- Finally, we have the plank exercise. The plank is a great all-around exercise that targets not only your abs but also your arms, legs, and back. To do a plank, start by lying face down on the ground with your forearms flat on the ground and elbows directly under your shoulders. Next, raise yourself up onto your toes so that only your forearms and toes are touching the ground. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds (or as long as you can!).
2. What can I drink to reduce belly fat?
There is NO such drink that reduces belly fat. But, there are beverages that help suppress your hunger while in a calorie deficit. Some of the best drinks for this include green tea, lemon water, and water with apple cider vinegar. Green tea is full of antioxidants and has been shown to boost metabolism. Lemon water is great for vitamin C and keeping your body hydrated. And apple cider vinegar has powerful appetite-suppressing properties.
3. Can coffee reduce belly fat?
NO coffee cannot reduce belly fat. But, coffee does have a whole host of benefits! Caffeine, which is found in coffee, is known to boost metabolism, energy levels and has the ability to suppress appetite. Additionally, coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.
4. Does drinking a lot of water reduce belly fat?
NO drinking water will not reduce belly fat. But, when you drink water, your body expends energy to heat the water to body temperature. That calorie burn adds up over time and can help you lose weight. Plus, drinking water helps keep you feeling full, which can lead to fewer cravings for unhealthy snacks.
Of course, it's not just about quantity-quality matters, too. Make sure you're drinking clean, filtered water and not downing sugary beverages masquerading as "healthy" options.
Losing weight after the age of 40 can be a real challenge. Not only do our metabolism and hormones change as we get older, but we also tend to have less time to exercise and more stress in our lives.
We often turn to fad diets and miracle pills, hoping for a quick fix, but the truth is that there is no easy solution. To lose belly fat, we need to change our lifestyle and make some long-term lifestyle choices.
This means reducing stress levels, making time for proper sleep, and increasing protein intake. With dedication and perseverance, it is possible to get rid of excess abdominal fat. But it won't happen overnight - it's a journey that takes time and commitment. Are you up for the challenge? Start making small changes today and see where it takes you. Good luck!
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