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Has your weight loss progress stalled? Can’t lose those last 10 pounds? Even if you train hard and stick to a healthy diet, it’s still possible to retain fat in a few key areas. The problem may be visceral fat – and there’s good news! You can shed that fat using the tips you find here, and finally get down to your ideal weight.
What is Visceral Fat?
Visceral fat is stored around your belly. However, it is not the soft top layer that you can see and feel. That is subcutaneous fat (fat stored under the skin). Visceral fat actually surrounds your organs, and it’s much firmer to the touch.
Key organs which become surrounded by visceral fat are the liver, intestines, and pancreas. Visceral fat is particularly dangerous to your health because many toxins are stored in fat – and since these toxins are then in direct contact with your organs, affecting their ability to function efficiently. Visceral fat has been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and even some types of cancer.
This is one type of fat you need to get rid of!
How to Know You’re Losing Visceral Fat
It’s never possible to spot-reduce fat. Increasing exercise and decreasing calorie intake will result in overall fat loss – but measuring visceral fat loss is tricky because it’s tucked in there between your organs and less obvious than subcutaneous fat. You can measure your waist, or have a healthcare professional measure your fasting triglycerides.
How To Lose Visceral Fat
To lose this dangerous type of fat:
- Eat Healthy
- Avoid processed foods which are loaded with trans fats and sugars
- Avoid simple carbs like bread and pasta; replace with complex carbs like sweet potatoes
- Start your day off with protein instead of cereal for all-day energy and less hunger
- Cut your meal portions by a quarter to a third
- Make sure that your plates are nutrient dense rather than calorie dense (hunger is often the body’s appeal for more nutrition, not more calories)
- Drink plenty of water to stimulate digestion
- Move Your Body
- If you haven’t been exercising, get started on a fitness routine that fits into your lifestyle (so you actually do it).
- If you’re already exercising, shake things up with a higher intensity workout plan. Changing your routine will challenge your body more, making it work harder. Place more emphasis on High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – pushing your body to the limit in short bursts, such as 5 or 6 repeats of a 30-second sprint followed by a 90-second walk.
- Use heavier weights with a lower number of reps with very short breaks between reps to build muscle faster and burn fat more efficiently.
- Muscle burns five times the number of calories that fat does, meaning every additional pound of muscle will burn even more calories (assuming your calorie intake doesn’t increase). Many of this calorie burn will come from your visceral fat stores.
- Manage Stress
- Chronic stress throws your hormones out of balance. Stress hormones like cortisol are useful in preparing your body for action, but it’s hard to run away from emotional stresses of a job or relationship; and chronic stress leads to too much cortisol in the body, which leads to visceral fat gain.
- Meditation and breathing exercises (simply focusing on your breath for a few minutes at a time) help take your mind off your worries and manage stress.
- Of course, a good run or brisk walk helps burn off stress too!
- Intermittent Fasting
- Intermittent fasting means fasting for one or two days per week, usually matching your ‘rest’ days of your workout plan. You can do light exercise (recovery exercise) on fasting days but avoid high-intensity workouts.
- Fasting stimulates the body to access fat stores and turn them into energy.
- Fasting also improves insulin sensitivity, which increases the amount of growth hormone and promotes cellular repair.
- Fasting is a natural method of weight control. It takes a little getting used to but you’ll love the results!
- Modern men are chronically sleep-deprived, due to stress or lifestyle habits like late-night TV. Make sleep a priority, to give you more energy throughout the day (which will encourage physical activity that leads to fat loss).
- Aim for 7-9 hours per night to give your parasympathetic nervous system (the “rest and digest” functions of the body) a chance to do its job.
Losing visceral fat is not as simple as cutting calories. Stress management and good lifestyle choices are the best ways to eliminate visceral fat. Once you start losing subcutaneous fat, particularly around the belly, you know you’re on the right track.
It is important for us to note, that always seek council from your physician whenever it comes to major changes in your lifestyle related to your health, especially if you have concerns of any kind. Please do not take any of this information on this page as any kind of medical advice. Additionally, individual results will vary, so keep that in mind as well, and good luck on your journey.