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9.11.2009

Feature: Food Affairs and Belly Fat

Thick alfredo sauce on penne, garlic focaccia bread, roasted chicken and bell peppers, basmati rice and chicken tikka masala, pepperoni pizza, wild Alaskan salmon with mashed potatoes, red velvet cake with butter- cream icing, German chocolate cake and a cold glass of milk....food is to me, what kryptonite is to superman. And when I see food, my knees buckle, my heart melts, and I give in to my long standing secret love affair with such delicious goodies.

But upon recently looking down at the spare tire that has added 1o solid pounds to my midsection, I have decided: The time has come to put an end to the madness! I mean for goodness sakes, how many times can one be mistaken for a woman that's 3 months pregnant? So forget the diet pills, the master cleanses, the sure fire ways to lose belly fat, and the gastric bypass, I'm going back to the basics--starvation and emaciation. Okay, so maybe not, but it might as well be as painful as that. I mean really, who enjoys muscle pain and rabbit food? Not I! Yet, experts claim that when you lose weight, belly fat is often the first kind of fat to go.

Medical research has shown that stomach fat, also known as visceral fat, is more metabolically active and easier to lose than subcutaneous fat under the skin. And the good news is that the more fat and flabby your stomach is, the easier it will be to lose the weight. Now ain't that just grand?!

What's even more morose is that as you grow older, belly fat increases in stages. This is due to the body storing fat in order to prepare for moments of starvation and avoid going into shock. In women, the metabolism starts to slow between the ages of 18-21, then takes a huge drop at 40, and then again at 60 and 80. Furthermore, pregnancy, beer, and increased food intake can all contribute along the way to a slower metabolism and increased visceral fat.

So how can you rid yourself of the stubborn belly fat? Here are some tips that I know I could use, and maybe you could too:

  • Eating whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates.
    • This will change the body's glucose and insulin response and make it easier to mobilize fat stores.
  • Maintaining a 1,600 calorie-diet that is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAS), which have proven health benefits.
    • MUFAS are found in avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, soybeans, chocolate and canola and olive oil.
  • Getting plenty of high-intensity aerobic exercise, such as 60 minutes a day of moderate activity.
    • Brisk walking is an excellent example of moderate activity
    • Crunches and sit-ups complement aerobic activity, but don't help if done alone
Good luck!

For more helpful hints, click here or here.

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