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The best way to lose belly fat and how to track fat loss with Evidation

April 5, 2024
9 minutes
Personal Health
Health tips
Chronic conditions

While many people work to reduce the amount of belly fat they have because they don't like the effect it has on their appearance, the negative effect of excess belly fat goes beyond what we see in the mirror. Carrying excess body fat can have many serious health consequences.

If you have excess belly fat, there are plenty of options to help. Taking a holistic approach that incorporates both diet and lifestyle changes, as well as setting realistic goals can help you move toward becoming your healthiest self. Using your health data trackers (such as your smartwatch, fitness apps, nutrition apps, etc.) can help provide you with information that lets you know whether you're moving toward your goals. At Evidation, we're here to help! With your permission, we'll analyze your health data to provide you with personalized insights that can help you improve your overall wellness.

Here, we'll explore why belly fat is so dangerous and take a look at some of the options you have to make positive changes that can help reduce the amount of belly fat you're carrying.

Understanding belly fat: Causes and health implications

In order to understand why excess belly fat is so dangerous, it's important to understand the difference between visceral (belly) fat and subcutaneous fat, which lies just beneath the surface of the skin and can be easily pinched. Visceral fat settles deep in the body, surrounding both abdominal organs and the heart. The fat cells in this area secrete cytokines, chemicals that can cause endocrine and cardiovascular issues.

Excess subcutaneous fat poses far fewer health risks than excess visceral fat. Research shows that too much belly fat is associated with a higher likelihood of developing heart disease. People with higher levels of visceral fat are also more likely to develop asthma, dementia, and certain types of cancer.

The best way to understand the amount of belly fat you're carrying is to have a CT scan or MRI performed in a doctor's office, but there are simpler ways to understand whether you're at risk for conditions associated with excess visceral fat.

Some ways to understand whether you're likely to be carrying excess visceral fat include:

  • Be aware of your body type. People who have "apple" body shapes (tend to carry most of their weight in their abdomen) are more likely to have excess visceral fat than people who are "pear" shaped (tend to carry their weight in their hips and thighs).
  • Keep tabs. Measuring your belly regularly (at the level of your belly button – not at the smallest part of your waist) can help you understand whether you're carrying too much visceral fat. Generally, a waist measurement of more than 35 inches in women or 40 inches in men indicates that an unhealthy level of visceral fat may be present. If you have a large body size, it can be helpful to simply keep track of your waist measurement so that you can know whether your waist is getting larger over time.
  • Use the height-to-waist ratio. Some medical professionals prefer using this method to gain insight into the amount of visceral fat a person is carrying. To calculate your height to waist ratio, take the circumference of your waist in inches and divide it by your height in inches. A healthy ratio is 0.5 or below in both men and women.

Dietary strategies for losing belly fat: Nutrition tips and meal planning

Visceral fat accumulates when we eat more calories than we burn. Creating a healthy nutrition plan is a smart first step to help you win the war against visceral fat.

Your breakfast can go a long way in helping you reduce belly fat. Some registered dietitian-recommended breakfast options that can help blast visceral fat include avocado toast topped with an egg, oatmeal with nuts and fruit, or a fruit salad packed with fiber-loaded produce like berries, bananas, and kiwi.

Enjoying a balanced lunch and dinner is also key in helping your body burn visceral fat. Being sure you're getting enough iron and plenty of fiber can help to slim your belly. Incorporating foods like pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, avocado, kale, beef, lamb, squash, and navy beans into your lunches and dinners can give your body the support it needs to burn away belly fat.

The effect of exercise on belly fat

Whether you're trying to lose belly fat or simply want to feel your best, regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. When you exercise and stick to a nutrition plan that's right for your body, research shows that you can burn existing visceral fat or prevent it from growing in the first place. Both strength training and aerobic workouts can help to reduce belly fat.

An important note: while crunches, planks, and other abdominal workouts can strengthen your core muscles, it's not possible to spot-reduce fat. These exercises can be a healthy part of any exercise program, but hyper-focusing on abdominal exercises during your workout won't make you lose belly fat faster.

Stress management techniques: Addressing cortisol levels and its impact on belly fat

When our bodies experience stress, the adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol. This is a part of your body's natural fight or flight response. Cortisol slows down certain body processes, so you can focus all of your energy on responding to the threat at hand.

Cortisol is helpful in the short-term, but constant cortisol release due to prolonged stress can have negative health effects, including an increase in blood pressure and visceral fat. Today's high-pressure, ever-changing world can make it tough to slow the release of cortisol.

Stress management is a key part of any healthy lifestyle, and it can be especially important if you're working to reduce the amount of visceral fat in your body. When you practice stress management strategies, you can support your body's ability to reduce cortisol levels, which may help you lose dangerous visceral fat.

Helpful stress management tools can include:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Spending time with a pet, friends, or family
  • Journaling
  • Mindfulness activities (like grounding)

If you're struggling to manage stress on your own, it's important to reach out to a counselor or therapist. Doing so is not a sign of weakness–it's a sign of strength and power to ask for help to feel your best.

Importance of sleep for fat loss: Tips for optimizing sleep quality

Researchers are still working to fully understand the connection between sleep and weight. Research has shown that in recent years, Americans have gotten less high-quality sleep. During the same years, Americans tended to report higher body weights, leading researchers to want to know more about the connection between sleep and weight.

Research suggests that people who get the right amount of high-quality sleep are more likely to have a healthy body weight than those who do not get high-quality sleep. While this relationship is still being studied, some research shows that a lack of sleep is linked to an increase in ghrelin (a brain chemical that causes the body to experience the feeling of hunger) and a decrease in leptin (a brain chemical that causes the body to experience the feeling of being full).

There are several simple steps you can take to make it easier for you to get the rest that you need, including:

  • Set a bedtime routine and stick to it. Going to bed and waking up at about the same time can help fight fatigue.
  • Put screens away. An hour or two before it's time to bed, shift away from TV, computers, and your phone. Take the time to unwind, read a book, enjoy hobbies, or spend time with family instead of staring at a screen.
  • Exercise. Physical activity can help you fall asleep more easily and provide you with high-quality rest. You may need to think about working out earlier in the day if exercise in the evening gives you an energy boost.
  • Stay away from alcohol. While it may be easy to fall asleep after a drink or two, you likely won't get the rest that you need to feel your best. In the event that you do have a drink in the evening, be sure to drink at least an equal amount of water to keep your body hydrated as you rest.

Role of hydration in reducing belly fat: Hydration tips and its effect on metabolism

Drinking water can help your body burn fat in several ways. Research shows that getting enough water can boost the metabolism by stimulating thermogenesis–the process by which the body produces heat. When you drink water, your body has to use energy to warm the water to your body temperature. That being said, this effect isn't likely to make a big difference when it comes to the number you see on the scale, but there are several other reasons why getting enough water can help you reduce fat and achieve a healthy weight.

Staying hydrated boosts the impact of exercise. When your body is dehydrated, our muscle cells break down, making workouts less effective. Drinking enough water also makes it easier for your body to release heat through sweat, allowing you to feel more comfortable during your workouts.

The general rule of thumb to follow when it comes to hydration is to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day, and more if you're working out, spending time in hot weather, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. It can be tough to keep track of how much you're drinking each day. Using a tracker on your phone or smart watch can help you be sure you're getting the water that you need. When you sync your tracker with Evidation, we'll be able to provide you with tips and tricks to ensure that you're meeting your daily health goals.

Tracking fat loss progress with Evidation: Utilizing the app's features for monitoring changes in body composition

When you're working toward weight loss, it can be motivating to see that your hard work is paying off. While we can't help you track your exact loss of belly fat, we can help you track things like sleep patterns, exercise, and mood so you can get a holistic picture of your health and how it relates to your weight loss journey. As we analyze your progress, we'll be able to offer personalized articles, tips, and insights that can help you take the steps necessary to continue moving in the right direction.

Incorporating lifestyle changes: Sustainable habits for long-term fat loss success

It can be hard to figure out how to make habits stand the test of time. Developing strategies to keep you on track even after motivation and willpower begin to fade can help you maintain the habits that effectively help you burn belly fat.

Some tips to help your habits stand strong over time include:

  • Be realistic. Your habits should be achievable. Choosing habits that offer some flexibility (for example, working out four days each week instead of committing to spending two hours in the gym every day, no matter what) can help you stay on track, even when life gets in the way.
  • Get your family on board. If you're concerned about how belly fat is affecting your health, talk with your family about the lifestyle changes that you want to make to feel your best. Their support can help you stay on track, and they may even be inspired by your influence and start their own health journey.
  • Make appointments with yourself. You wouldn't cancel an important appointment with your doctor, and it's important that you treat yourself with the same respect. Scheduling time to exercise, meal prep, cook, and de-stress can help you remember to make your well-being a priority.

Evidation: Here to support every step of your wellness journey

At Evidation, we're here to help you move toward your healthiest, happiest life. If you're searching for the best way to lose belly fat, we're glad that you found us, and we're excited to provide you with the insights and information you need to move forward in your health journey. Learn more about how Evidation works here, and download the app today–we're excited for you!

Health tips
Chronic conditions
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