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joli's avatar

What is the answer to belly fat?

Asked by joli (633points) August 18th, 2007

I don't want it but wonder if it's inevitable after age 50. You can limit your diet, which means you get less nutrients just when you need them the most. A person can exercise only so much in a day without being obsessed and time consumed. I read in a blob yesterday I need to limit fats to 20% of my daily calorie intake for my age, weight and activity level, which is roughly 2008 calories a day, and I am active.This seems impossible to manage! Is it true? Is lean protein the answer and where does a healthy snack of salmon and a 1/2 bottle of wine fit into that equation?! This battle started at 45 and it appears I'm missing something because it was a non-issue for me for decades due to exercise and diet monitoring.

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10 Answers

xgunther's avatar

You should look into the "tread climber" by Bowflex. It's a good investment. And limit those damn carbs! ;)

Hawaiiguy's avatar

I use a noeprene waist band when I go mountain biking if I have a few extra
pounds I need to target, it really makes you sweat! The 100 weather we are having helps as well...

hossman's avatar

Is the problem a health issue, or an appearance issue? I used to be concerned about my belly at the pool, until I read a Dave Barry column that suggested holding my gut in was a waste of time as my entire body was actually, at my age, completely invisible to attractive young ladies.

sfgal's avatar

If you are targetting fat on a certain part of your body, I think the best thing is to excercize that part of your body. Pilates, crunches, sit ups, any of those mat classes at the gym or one of those videos like 8-Minute Abs.
Or, just learn to love the belly...sometimes there's just not that much you can do to change your body, and it's more worthwhile to enjoy what you eat (as long as it's healthy).

Hawaiiguy's avatar

you cold take the line from pulp fiction and embrace it with a name:)

joli's avatar

I can't embrace it! I don't want belly fat! The Mayo Clinic says keep it under 30 inches. I'm going with the usual daily exercise routine and limit my fats and saturated fats to 20% of my daily calorie intake. It's working already in 3 days. I think what's happened is I'm running around less at work, switched to a desk position, and I haven't adjusted my diet to that change. I have this thing about feeling like I'm sitting on my stomach and it annoys me;feels uncomfortable. Vanity is a small part of it. I want to live long and healthy and they say a low calorie diet is best including keeping your weight to where you were at 18 years old. You made me laugh, Hossman. So very true.

hossman's avatar

Yup, I have come to embrace my furry tummy in all its Santahood. My kids find it makes a great pillow, my wife seems to like its cuddliness, and people just expect me to be jolly. I also find it at times is a convenient place to rest my arms, or if reclining, a book, bowl or drink. It has also, I believe, added to my stage presence and gravitas. It has gotten me several acting roles. For some reason, it isn't one of those droopy tummies, but relatively high, tight and round. I actually look a little more like a pregnant woman with some serious waxing issues than a fat guy. Oddly enough, the fat seems to only poke down about an inch and a half, and then it's rock hard. My doctor says that's the worst kind of fat, as it means most of it is visceral rather than subcutaneous and thus more likely to mess with my organs. The last time I worked as a waiter, tables not even in my station would stop me and ask me about the desserts (even though I never ate the desserts there). I suppose some people would find that implication offensive.

SWATgirl's avatar

I would not recommend “embracing” the belly fat. It has been shown to have a direct correlation with cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and several different types of cancer. One of the main contributors to belly fat are the hormones insulin and cortisol. Cortisol overload breaks down muscle, which causes your basal metabolism to slow down. There are more cortisol receptors around the abdomen, so high levels of this hormone will cause more fat storage in that area. Insulin is the hormone that regulates your blood sugar. It signals the body to store fat and increases production of cortisol. One way to fight stubborn belly fat is to keep your insulin and cortisol levels under control.

One good way to control the levels of cortisol and insulin in your body is to reduce stress. You can try meditation, yoga or other types of exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is great because it will help control those hormones and increase your metabolism at the same time you are reducing your stress. Another big help with belly fat is to watch the glycemic index (GI) when choosing what foods to eat. The glycemic index is a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how they effect the blood sugar. Eating foods with a low GI score will have a preferable effect on your blood sugar. Following a glycemic index diet is a good way to reduce belly fat. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Glycemic Index Weight Loss is a great book and I definitely recommend it for anyone looking to follow this way of eating.

There are a few supplements that will also help you lose belly fat. CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is an essential amino acid that has been shown to promote fat loss and control blood sugar. Chromium, Gymnema Sylvestre, cinnamon, zinc, garlic and Omega Fatty Acids also work to regulate blood sugar.

Your fat intake can actually be limited to 30%: one third each of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Avoid eating trans-fats, also known as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. You may find it interesting to check the foods that say “0 grams trans fats” and notice how it will still list partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients. I think food manufacturers can say zero grams if it’s less than one gram!

Protein is an important part of your diet for many reasons. As pertaining to weight loss, it a valuable macronutrient that provides fullness. For a 2000 calorie diet, you should consume about 100 grams of protein per day. If you are an active person you will need more protein, around 150 grams.

As for salmon, it’s a highly nutritious food. A 4 oz serving of wild salmon provides a full day’s requirement of vitamin D. It is one of the few foods that can make that claim.
That same piece of fish contains over half of the necessary B12, niacin, and selenium, and is an excellent source of B6 and magnesium. Best of all, it’s high in Omega 3. Wine is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease and longer life expectancies, but only in small quantities. One to two glasses per day will yield the best benefits. A half a bottle may be a bit too much!

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