Thursday, June 16, 2016

How and why to cut belly fat....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 6-16-2016

A.  The biggest two reasons to lose fat are to protect your health and improve your appearance.

1.  If you have more than a little bit of belly fat, it puts your health at risk itself – in addition to any health risks of the stress or bad eating or too little exercise that put it there.

Mike Geary wrote this: 

“What people don’t realize is that excess abdominal fat, is not just ugly, it is also a dangerous risk factor to your health! Scientific research has demonstrated in many studies that although it is unhealthy to have excess body fat throughout your body, it is particularly dangerous to have excess abdominal fat.

Most people do not realize that there are two types of fat in the abs area. The first type that covers up abs and prevents them from being visible is called subcutaneous fat and lies directly beneath the skin and above of the abdominal muscles.

The 2nd type of abdominal fat is called visceral fat, and that lies a bit deeper in the abdomen, beneath the muscle and surrounding the organs. Visceral fat plays a role in giving certain men a "beer belly" look where their abdomen protrudes excessively and at the same time, feels hard if you push on it.

Both of these fats, subcutaneous fat and visceral fat in your abs area are very serious health risk factors. Science proves that excessive visceral fat is far more dangerous than subcutaneous fat. Both types of fat greatly increase your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, and various forms of cancer. Other well known degenerative diseases are involved too.

One of the reasons visceral fat is so dangerous is it releases inflammatory molecules into your body on a consistent basis."

Another is that since it shares space with your vital internal organs, heart. lungs, and liver, they become less able to protect you, give you good health, and keep you alive.  This is one of the ways enough too much belly fat and the internal visceral fat that goes with it causes high blood pressure and sleep apnea and acid reflux.

Based on my experience a large waist measurement reflects internal visceral fat even more than the subcutaneous fat just underneath the skin.

2.  And, if you have more than a little bit of belly fat, you look fat even if the rest of you is lean.

(Personal note:  I developed acid reflux which was caused mostly by gaining belly fat.  And my belly fat and the proton pump inhibitors I took for it plus stress gave me high blood pressure.

And, after my recent effective strength training and the fat loss I have managed, my legs, arms, chest and shoulders look lean while my middle still looks fat.

And when I stand straight, my belly sticks forward several inches too far.  So I still look fat.)

B.  In fact, your waist measure may be the best indicator of how fat you are, NOT BMI, and how much health risk you are likely to be under.

If you are male and muscular, you can be fat by BMI, over 30 or even over 35, but have little or no excess fat.

Worse, and more common in both sexes, if you are sedentary and have little muscle tone or development, you can have a desirable BMI such as 23 or 24; but your internal or visceral fat may put your health at risk and only show in your belly and waist measurement.

Statistics currently show that about a third of people in the United States are fat by BMI.  But besides that group, a sixth of the people in the United States have lower enough BMI but show as fat by their waist measurement.  This means that half of the people in the United States are too fat, roughly speaking. 

(This is much worse in many Southern states and better in California, Colorado, and most the New England states.)

And even more revealing measure by which even more people likely show as being too fat is the waist hip measurement.

Here’s how to use it.  You want to be in the Low Risk category.

Low Risk Men .90 or below   Women .80 or below

Moderate Risk Men .91 to .99   Women .81 to .84

High Risk  Men 1.0 or above  Women .85 or above

Mike Matthews (See Muscle For Life  Build Muscle. Stay Lean. Get Strong. For Life.
at  says his experience shows that to lose your belly fat, the biggest key is to lose enough of your extra fat to get enough below a percent body fat. 

He has studied it and found that men 9 to 12% fat is low enough but not too low; and
women 17 to 21 % fat is low enough but not too low.

It is possible to get somewhat lower than that for some athletes and bodybuilders; but much below that range tends to produce health problems.

So besides following the health rules that help you keep off fat you lose by upgrading your lifestyle, you need to lose fat until you get into that range.

There are ways to measure your percent fat with calipers and more.  But the most accurate is to compare yourself in the mirror to pictures of men and women with different percent body fat.  And, these pictures are online.

(My current status is that I look about 12% fat above and below my waist and 20 to 24% fat at my waist. And, the calipers I got that go by a pinch of external fat on my waist have me at 19% which is likely about right.   My waist hip ratio now is a very poor 1.09/)

At 161 pounds I have about 31 pounds of fat now.  So to get to 10 % and lose my excess belly fat and stay the same weight, I would need to gain 15 pounds of muscle and lose 15 pounds of fat.  Oddly that much muscle burns three times as many calories so I might be able to then eat MORE calories.  Then I’d have 16 pounds of fat at 161 pounds and be just below 10% fat.

Without using steroids at my age, even using heavier weights in the squat, leg press, and deadlift which I do plan to do and am progressing towards, adding 3 pounds of muscle may be more achievable.  So, I’d have to lose more like 14 pounds of fat in addition to replacing the 3 pounds of fat with muscle to get to 10% fat.  Then I’d have 14 pounds of fat and weigh 150 pounds and again would be a bit below 10% fat.  But to do that I’d need to wind up eating less.)

To lose that much fat you need to do four things: 

1.  Totally avoid fattening foods and drinks.  Soft drinks, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, all wheat, and most grains and the foods made from them -- all need to go!

2. Eat a LOT of organic vegetables, some organic whole fresh fruit, and health safe protein and some health safe oils.

3.  Create a calorie deficit as low as you can without going below your basal metabolism until you get to your % fat goal -- AND lower your base intake to match what keeps you at that level after that - which may be less than you eat now. 

4.  Also do effective strength training. Then you will lose only muscle and lose MORE fat.
You will also likely wind up gaining muscle and eating more without gaining the fat back.
Doing higher intensity interval cardio helps -- plus you will stay mentally sharp & live longer.

So, if you do those exercises you are dramatically more likely to keep off the fat you lose.  

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