As we return from the holiday season, some of us have, ahem, over-indulged. So now the jeans are a little too tight to fasten without lying on our backs and applying near-Herculean strength to getting that zipper all the way up. We make our New Year’s resolutions to losing weight, getting more exercise, doing our cardio, eating right, etc.
Well, it’s not just those tight jeans that are the real problem. There’s a hidden danger you can’t see; the visceral fat that is surrounding your vital organs. Visceral fat is deep inside (not the fat that lies under your skin). The more visceral fat you carry, the more vulnerable you are to developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, certain types of cancer (I think you get the idea).
Everyone understands the math involved with weight gain; eat too much and exercise too little and you’ll pack on extra pounds (including belly fat). And all the crunches and planking in the world won’t get rid of it.
There is a way to fight back (but it’s not going to be in an easy pill form).
1) Lift weights. As we age, our muscle mass diminishes while fat increases. Loss of muscle mass decreases the rate at which your body uses calories making it harder to maintain a healthy weight. Fortunately muscle mass can not only be maintained with weight lifting but can also increase. Dumbbells are you friend!
2) At the risk of sounding like a broken record (again), cardio, cardio, cardio. A moderate exercise program of a brisk (note: BRISK, strolling on the treadmill isn’t cutting it) 30-minute walk six times a week can prevent the accumulation of fat. Even more can actually reverse the amount of fat. If you’re already in the “at risk” category of body fat, you need to seriously hit the cardio to reduce the amount you’re carrying, then maintain your weight with a moderate cardio program.
3) Keep track of your calorie intake and keep your portions in check. Using one of the apps available on your phone (such as myfitnesspal) can be very helpful. Seeing a number associated with your food consumption can be a real eye-opener.
So as we head into the New Year, instead of thinking short-term (like getting into that swimsuit this summer), look beyond a few months towards a healthier (long) life. Get your x-ray vision on and commit to losing the unhealthy fat that poses the danger and that subcutaneous fat you see will drop off too.
Happy New Year,