The spare tire, the muffin top, those love handles…there are lots of “affectionate” terms we use to describe that extra pudge around our mid-sections. Weight gain in this area is often due to an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, genetics, and the process of aging, and it can be very difficult to target.
But being a little chubby around the middle affects more than just your appearance and self-esteem. An excess of fat cells around the mid-section has been linked to insulin resistance and even type-2 diabetes. The Mayo Clinic has pointed to research on belly fat and men and found increased risks for cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, and sleep apnea as well. Women’s Health magazine cited a Canadian study that involved over 8,000 adults and found that over a period of 13 years, those with the weakest abdominal muscles had a death rate more than twice as high as those with the strong mid-sections.
You don’t need surgery or medication to start improving the health of your mid-section right now, just a few lifestyle changes to improve your overall wellness. Here are some healthy ways to start losing that spare tire.
Cut Simple Carbohydrates and Unhealthy Fats
Simple carbs are big problems when you have extra weight around your mid-section. As much as humanly possible, cut out processed sugar, white flour, trans fats, and saturated fats. Choose foods with polyunsaturated fats and healthy omega-3s instead.
It’s also a smart idea to cut out alcohol, soda, and sugary “juice” drinks while you’re at it. Liquid calories really add up and don’t contribute anything beneficial to your nutrition.
If you want to lose that spare tire, you’re going to have to pay attention the number of calories you eat per day. The Mayo Clinic estimates that you need to burn 3,500 extra calories per week to shed one pound of weight.
But it’s important to remember that simply counting calories isn’t enough. You need to pair a healthy diet plan with an active exercise plan to lose those unwanted pounds and prevent the onset of all sorts of serious diseases.
Seaweed might not sound like the most appetizing new food to add to your diet, but there some easy ways to do it and substantial health benefits to be gained. Studies have shown that seaweed may help aid the digestion and absorption of fat in the gut. Seaweed is also rich in iron and high in fiber, both components of a healthy overall diet.
You can cook fresh seaweed with vegetables like you would spinach, and it’s served in many Asian dishes. For added convenience, sprinkle our Seaweed Powder into soups, salads, omelets, stir-fry dishes, and pastas. If you simply can’t stand the taste or texture, pick up our Seaweed Capsules for the same benefit.
Exercise with High-Calorie-Burning Activities
Walking and lifting weights are great for the body, but they might not help you lose fat around your mid-section very quickly. Choose high-calorie-burning activities like running, rollerblading, or singles tennis to shed calories and target excess fat. Swimming and dancing are other great fat-burning exercises.
It’s recommended to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, but if you’re serious about losing weight, increase that exercise time to an hour per day, five days per week. Interval training is also useful for fat burning, as well as body weight exercises like push-ups and planks.
Here are a few final pieces of advice for trimming your mid-section for a healthy body balance:
- Get enough sleep every night
- Manage stress by meditating or doing yoga
- Understand there’s more to toning your abs than just sit-ups
- Boost your immune system with vitamin C
- Sip green tea instead of calorie-filled beverages or diet soda