Have you had a tough time getting rid of stubborn belly fat? There are plenty of factors that can make it more difficult to shed those extra inches and pounds.
For instance, you may be eating too many starches, sugar and bad fats (potatoes, candy, fried foods) instead of lean protein and healthy fat (fish, avocados). Or maybe for you it’s more about portion control (do you bring a bag of chips to the couch with you and snack away instead of putting a small amount in a bowl? Do you never save half your entree for leftovers?) Of course, smoking, stress, frequent alcohol consumption, dehydration, a poor sleep schedule and genetics all play a role, too.
Bottom line: Belly fat can be a serious risk to your health. Fat under the skin (subcutaneous) and around your vital organs (visceral) up your chances for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. The best way to get rid of it is to pair a healthy diet with a consistent exercise regimen. If not, your chances of developing metabolic syndrome go up.
What Is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome happens when a cluster of simultaneously occurring conditions like high blood sugar and blood pressure, high cholesterol and pesky belly fat (especially the visceral kind!) come together. This significantly increases your chances of stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The more conditions you have, the higher your risk—and up to ⅓ of US adults have metabolic syndrome. To no surprise, metabolic syndrome is closely linked to obesity and inactivity.
If you think you’re at risk, you may feel like there’s a lot to do to get your health under control. While that might be the case long term, even the smallest changes can make a big difference. A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that even a modest amount of moderate-intensity exercise can decrease your risk significantly. While vigorous exercise may get you serious results faster, moderate movement was found to do the trick. That could mean anything from taking a brisk walk to lap swimming a few days a week. Moral of the story? Achieving your health goals is attainable and easier than you may think.