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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Big belly? Time to be nicer to your body

You might be in good shape, but once you enter your late 30s, you might find your mid-section growing bigger and bigger.
Asia One - April 15, 2013
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Big belly? Time to be nicer to your body

You might be in good shape, but once you enter your late 30s, you might find your mid-section growing bigger and bigger. The rest of your body seems fine, and so does your weight, but this Beer Belly bothers you no end.

Fat doesn't just "sit there" - it wreaks havoc on the body by releasing nasty substances. This is why it's recommended that you keep your weight within a healthy range. But often, even if your weight is considered normal, your bulging belly indicates that something unhealthy is going on.

There are two types of fat in our bodies. Subcutaneous fat is the sort you can pinch on your thighs, hips, buttocks and tummy. Visceral fat is the fat deep inside the body, gathered around the vital organs. When your body takes in too much fat and doesn't have a chance to burn it off, the fat accumulates, and when it runs out of storage space, it's larded in and around the organs.

Abdominal fat is probably an indicator that you have more visceral fat than you should.

A lot of people aren't bothered about visceral fat because it's invisible but, in fact, too much visceral fat significantly increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers - silent killers that are far scarier than flabby arms and a bulging belly.

So what do you do? The universal advice for losing extra fat is to eat right and exercise - simple as that. Regular, vigorous exercise helps you trim fat, so get off your couch and get going.

Unfortunately, you can't pick where you want to reduce fat, such as only at the belly but not at the buttocks. You cannot specifically target fat. When you burn extra energy, it affects the whole body. But spot-specific exercise can tone up the muscles in a given area, making it look firmer.

The modern lifestyle doesn't really allow the abdominal muscles to work, so try to find ways to work them harder if you want to say hello to your hidden six-packs (or just say good-bye to the fat rolls).

You can also rely on fat-reducing technology. Some places offer "massages" that claim to help you shed the extra weight, but it is almost impossible for human hands to work so deeply into the skin that the movement reaches the fat level.

It's more effective to use tools that can deliver energy to the fat layer, making the fat cells smaller or even killing some of them. This technology is FDA-approved and does not require time off work. However, it does not work instantly - it would take a few sessions to see results.

But if you're desperate for help, whether because your big day is coming up or a holiday at the beach, you could remove the excess fat by liposuction, which today is much safer and gentler to the body than in the past.

This method, with more long-lasting results, does require downtime and leaves small wounds for a while. The result is much more dramatic, though. Some people are a full size smaller after the first treatment.

Now when I say the result is "long-lasting", I don't mean forever. If you don't watch your diet and don't exercise, you'll regain the fat, of course.

If you feel that you do take proper care of your body but your belly is not appreciating your effort, it's possible that something is wrong with your hormones. A simple blood test can reveal how the glands are doing, whether you have food allergy or intolerance, and what your metabolism is like.

Once the cause is determined, your doctor can help you plan the right way to lose those inches by making a few adjustments in your lifestyle.

This approach takes time and effort, but a healthy lifestyle goes a long way. You can lose weight, feel happier, look younger and become healthier. It is certainly worth the effort.

Maybe you can consider your belly today a blessing in disguise - it's a wake-up call for you to be nicer to your body.


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