Did you know there are two types of belly fat? Subcutaneous fat is stored right beneath the skin, while visceral fat (visceral adipose tissue or “VAT”) surrounds your organs. Reducing and eliminating belly fat not only benefits your appearance, it can also improve your overall health.
Here, board certified Frederick plastic surgeon Dr. Henry F. Garazo shares proven ways to get rid of belly fat for good.
It is estimated that up to 91% of adults in the US are overfat—a condition that occurs in normal-weight and non-obese individuals, largely due to excess belly fat.
Reducing belly fat starts in the kitchen
We’ve all seen “miracle foods” and other tactics for reducing belly fat touted on the internet. However, medical studies prove that we should ignore unfounded diet trends and weight loss gimmicks and instead focus our efforts on getting better overall nutrition through sustainable, healthy dietary choices, and, in particular, increasing our consumption of plant-based and unprocessed foods. A few key guidelines include:
Avoid sugary beverages
Evidence suggests that sugary beverages may be associated with abnormal fat accumulation of VAT which is linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Choosing water or other healthy beverage options, such as low or no calorie electrolyte drinks or fruit-infused water will help keep you hydrated and keep belly fat at bay.
Limit the amount of animal products you consume
A study published by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in February 2021 found that a vegan diet is more effective for weight loss and other health benefits when compared to the oft-touted Mediterranean diet (a low meat and dairy plan). While a full vegan diet may not be possible for everyone, reducing your consumption of animal products offers proven health benefits and can help eliminate belly fat.
Add probiotics to your diet
Probiotics add good bacteria to your unique gut microbiome to help keep it balanced, which supports several important bodily functions. Emerging research suggests that adding probiotics may support fat loss in people with obesity. Though additional research is on-going, probiotic therapy may represent a new avenue for treating obesity and its associated metabolic issues.
Spice up your food
While you won’t notice an immediate weight-loss effect, regularly adding more spices to your meals offers several health benefits over time. Capsaicinoids (chemicals found in chili peppers) are proven to significantly reduce belly fat, reduce your appetite, and increase your energy expenditure (the amount of calories you burn) while ingredients like turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties.
Maximize your fat-burning ability with your workout routine
Targeting belly fat can be challenging—try incorporating these tips to get the most fat-burning benefits from your workout.
Exercise before breakfast
The best way to burn stored fat is to exercise on an empty stomach as your body draws energy from your fat reserves. One study found that men who exercise before breakfast burn twice as much fat when compared to exercising at other times. Research also suggests that a pre-breakfast workout may reduce your appetite, boost your energy levels, and help you sleep so you can continue this fat-burning morning routine.
Pick up the pace of your exercise
While any exercise is preferable to no exercise at all, moderate-intensity activity, like brisk walking, is recommended for losing fat and preventing weight regain. Doctors and scientists both agree that brisk walking puts most people in the fat-burning zone—a target heart rate that requires more of your body’s fat stores to maintain. So, if you walk for exercise, pick up the pace a bit to better reduce belly fat.
Add core stability exercises to your workout
Abdominal muscle separation (diastasis recti) is a common condition after pregnancy or weight gain and can exacerbate the appearance of belly fat. A study published by the Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions published in 2019 found that deep core stability exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing, pelvic floor contractions, isometric abdominal contractions, and plank exercises was an effective treatment for diastasis recti and increased participants quality of life while reducing the apparent outward bulge of belly fat.
Improve your sleep hygiene
Poor sleep quality can sabotage your weight loss efforts. Research shows that insufficient sleep can decrease fat loss by as much as 55% while also increasing your appetite. Create better sleep hygiene by sticking to a consistent bedtime routine and avoiding all screens at least 1 hour before you plan to go to bed. While this tip may not seem exercise-related, sleep is also important to physical fitness: not getting enough sleep may reduce the effectiveness of your workouts or cause you to skip them all together.
Eliminate belly fat with a body contouring procedure
When diet and exercise aren’t enough, a highly-experienced board certified plastic surgeon can help you achieve a smoother, more youthful midsection.
Consider a tummy tuck procedure to create a slim figure
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, removes excess skin and belly fat, repairs abdominal muscle separation, and tightens and smooths the midsection for both men and women. Offering more than just aesthetic benefits, a tummy tuck can provide other health benefits that support a healthy, active lifestyle, such as hernia repair, decreased back pain, and reduced urinary stress incontinence.
Seek tumescent liposuction to treat belly fat
Liposuction can sculpt the midsection and create more defined contours by permanently removing stubborn pockets of fat. It can be a standalone procedure or can be used to complement the effects of a tummy tuck to achieve more complete body contouring results. That said, not all liposuction technology is created equal: tumescent liposuction can safely and comfortably achieve permanent fat removal with local anesthesia only—possibly eliminating the recovery time associated with general anesthesia.
Looking for belly fat reduction in Hagerstown and Frederick?
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Henry Garazo at Plastic Surgery Services has served patients in the greater Maryland area for over 20 years. Named “Best Plastic Surgeon” in the tri-state area by The Herald-Mail’s Community’s Choice Awards for 4 consecutive years, Dr. Garazo specializes in a range of plastic surgery procedures, including body contouring. To schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Garazo, contact us online or call our practice at (301) 791-1800.
Leave a Comment