This is between you and the waistline of those favorite pants…
I will just say this: You and your pants are not alone.
Many of us threw our healthy diets to the wind when the pandemic hit. It makes sense. Food is comforting. Familiar. And so, so delicious.
For the last year and a half, we gave ourselves permission to splurge. Every day. To eat things we normally don’t eat—and a lot of it. I know, because I’m guilty, too.
But guess what? Just as the world is getting back to normal, so must we (and our waistlines). Not only does extra belly fat cause our pants to be tight, but abdominal fat can cause all kinds of dangerous health problems, too.
Science is figuring out that visceral belly fat—the kind that surrounds our internal organs—has a mind of its own. Well, maybe not exactly a mind. But it can act like our second brain in certain ways, influencing the hormones and chemicals that cause a host of problems. Increased insulin resistance which leads to Type 2 Diabetes. High blood pressure. Increased risk of stroke, heart attack and cancer, as well as Alzheimer’s Disease.
That’s why there’s no time like the present to give yourself a gift. The gift of a smaller gut.
When it comes to reducing this active visceral fat, it may be difficult to know where to start. I’m here to tell you, it’s not that complicated!
Start with drinking lots of water. Most of us don’t get enough. Shoot for six eight-ounce glasses a day, and remember that coffee, tea, and fruits with high water content like melon and citrus count, too.
Exercise. No need to run a marathon, just start slow. Walking, biking, swimming. Maybe an aerobics class or two. Work your way up to 120 to 150 minutes per week of some kind of movement.
Reduce your stress. Stress increases the release of cortisol, the hormone that tells your body to store fat. Mindfulness meditation, walks in nature, or just sitting quietly and paying attention to your breathing can bring down your stress level quickly.
Clean up your diet. Ditch the sugar (our number one health enemy), avoid processed foods, eat your fruits and vegetables, and choose fish and lean meats over fatty cuts of meats.
Keep tabs on your waistline. Men whose waists measure more than 40 inches and women whose waistlines measure more than 35 inches are at a great risk for health problems.
And most of all, stay positive. If you follow the tips above, you and your favorite pants will have a comfortable relationship once again. I promise!