Do You Have Too Much Belly Fat?
The size of your waist is a good indicator of whether you have too much belly fat. Even thought measurements that compare your hip and waist circumference (waist-to-hip ratio) or compare your height and weight (body mass index) are more precise and can be used for research, your waist size alone can give you a good idea of how much belly fat you hold.
For most men, the risk factors for various diseases increase with a waist size over 40 inches (102 centimeters).
To accurately measure your waist:
•Place a tape measure around your bare abdomen just above your hipbone.
•The tape measure should be snug - but not so tight it pushes into your skin.
•Check to make sure the tape measure is level all the way around.
•Relax, and measure your waist after you breathe out - no sucking in your belly!
Can you reduce belly fat with sit-ups?
Sit-ups will make your abdominal muscles stronger, sure. And, you may look thinner by building your abdominal muscles because you can hold in your belly fat better. But strengthening your stomach muscles alone will not specifically reduce belly fat.
There are no particular 'spot-reducing' exercises that are best at shedding belly fat. But most people do reduce belly fat before reducing fat in other parts of their body when they get more exercise of any kind. Remembering that you reduce last what you've gained first will help your frustration a great deal.
Is belly fat inherited?
While some men are more likely to put on extra pounds because of their genes, for the vast majority of men, the problem has a lot more to do with lifestyle than inherited traits. Our society's demands are so great that they far exceed our ability to perform creating therefore a great amount of stress. Stress can lead to many negative results in our lives and one of them is overeating. Stress also triggers the body to release the stress hormone cortisol that facilitates fat storage around the organs and mostly around the belly. Simply put, when you are stressed out of your mind and take in more calories than you burn to make you feel better - the excess calories are stored as fat and you feel worse later. The same thing occurs in women but in more parts of the body; part such as the hips, arms and thighs.
We've had a huge change in our environment. Men - and women - used to have much more active lifestyles. But our lifestyles today allow us to live and work with virtually no opportunity for physical activity. About 65 percent of American adults get no vigorous exercise in their leisure time at all. We are also eating larger amounts of high-calorie foods than we used to, such as 'fast food' that is high in fat and carbohydrates. People are responding to this change in the way you'd expect - by gaining weight. Men need to be more active - to get out and keep moving.
Can you really get a beer belly from drinking?
We do know that there is a link between drinking excess alcohol and gaining belly fat - the 'beer belly.' However, it isn't just beer that can increase belly fat. Drinking too much of any kind of alcohol can have that effect. We know that alcohol is high in calories and increases appetite, but still aren't exactly sure why drinking too much causes increased belly fat in particular.
If you drink, the key is to drink in moderation. While increased belly fat is most noticeable in people who drink to excess, keeping it to less than two drinks a day will reduce the amount of calories you consume and help you avoid putting on belly fat. It is also better for your overall health.