Sister, this write up is for ladies like me, who love a stress-free healthy life. The ones being haunted by Miss side chick for one reason; belly fat. Read carefully!!!
I figured out what my crime is: I got fat, I acquired a lot of belly fat and I was not bothered. He married me a size 8 and I became a size 18. I assumed he will be grateful after I had 4 kids for him and I thought our love was strong enough. I never considered how much it mattered to him that I remain sleek. I decided to acquire knowledge as it is proven that knowledge is power. I know if I apply this knowledge, I will win him back. After all, I have his passcode, he married me!
Ok so let’s talk about weight gain and belly fat. Energy needed by the body is derived from macronutrients in ingested food. The macronutrients are Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats and ethanol. When energy taken in is consistently more than the energy expended, this excess is deposited in the body’s energy stores.
Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen mainly in the liver & muscles, amino acids from proteins are stored in the muscles while fats are stored in the adipose tissues. Adipose tissues are found under the skin and around internal organs especially in the abdominal cavity. Fat deposits in the abdominal cavity is known as visceral fat or belly fat. Visceral fat is dangerous as it has been linked to various diseases including hypertension and Coronary Artery disease amongst others.
Energy expended by the Body includes Resting energy expenditure (REE) which is very similar to the Basal Metabolic rate, expenditure on physical activity as well as in the generation of heat also known as Thermogenesis. The Basal metabolic rate is the energy expended by the body on physiological functions.
This expenditure is affected by age, sex, body size, body composition, genetic factors, energy intake, physiologic state (for example, growth, pregnancy or lactation), coexisting pathological conditions, and ambient temperature. Some studies have shown that women have significant body weight changes after pregnancy.
Maintaining a healthy weight and avoidance of belly fat is necessary for the body to function optimally. Assessment of weight adequacy can be done using the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is obtained by dividing your weight by your height in meter squared or determining the waist –to- hip ratio. The BMI tells if you are underweight (under 18.5), normal weight (18.5 to 24.9), overweight (25.0 to 29.9), or Obese (30.0 or above).
To leave the range of obesity and overweight and to maintain the normal weight which is ideal, weight loss is very critical. A waist measurement of 35 inches or larger in a woman is an indication of presence of belly fat although definite diagnosis is by CT scan.
Like every other endeavor, effective weight loss, reduction of belly fat and maintenance of a healthy weight starts with the mind. You should know, that you are the most important person in your world and you have to be healthy to keep things going. Maintenance of a healthy weight is a life- long commitment, done one day at a time.
With weight loss, you are to start from where you are and go gradually but steadily at about 0.5 to 1 kg per week to ensure that you lose not just water and muscle weight but you actually burn the fat. It takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit and being that this requires some lifestyle modification, your habits may take this long to become set. The actual steps to take are as follows;
- Eat smart: The daily target for weight loss and losing belly fat is to ensure that the energy you expend in a day is more than the energy you take in. In other words, creating a caloric deficit is key. The daily energy need for every individual is different as it is dependent on age, physical activity, etc. but on average, the recommended daily allowance for women, is 2000 Kcal.
Each meal should be a balanced diet meaning each class of food should be represented in the right proportion as this is important to lose belly fat.
- Carbohydrates, : Many weight loss diets including the Ketogenic diet recommend the total exclusion of carbohydrates from meals however, knowing that the balanced diet is the best form of diet, the FDA recommends daily intake of 300g of Carbohydrate. Avoid sugary foods and refined carbs as found in junk food. Examples of good carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables and healthy starch like sweet potatoes
- Proteins: Beans, Meat, Fish, Eggs, Dairy products like milk, yogurt & Cheese. Proteins are very essential for weight loss as they promote secretions of hormones that make one feel full and improve glucose balance as well as reduce the appetite stimulant hormone, Ghrelin. Metabolizing Proteins also burn calories.
- Fats & Oils: Healthy fats are necessary for weight loss. Examples include Avocado, Eggs, Cheese, Extra virgin Olive oil, Nuts, Coconut oil. The fats to avoid are Trans fats. They are partially hydrogenated oils and increase amounts of Low-Density Lipoproteins in the body which are dangerous
- Vitamins and Minerals: These can be obtained from fruits and vegetables. They supply micronutrients that promote the utilization of the macronutrient
- Water: Water is an integral part of your belly fat reduction process, it aides metabolism and flushes out those wastes that are not needed in your body.
A plate of food should be half full of fruits and vegetables and the other half should supply the other classes of food devoid of unnecessary calories. Remember to be conscious of your daily recommended energy intake and count your calories. For instance, a serving of Jellof rice contains about 240 calories
- Drink a lot of water.: 60% of our body is made up of water. Drinking a lot of water ensures one remains hydrated thus facilitating metabolism which burns calories. Drinking water before meals also helps to take up some space thus reducing the amount of food that one consumes. A research carried out on 50 overweight women showed a reduction in their weight within 8 weeks
- Intermittent fasting.: This can be done in 2 ways, the 16:8 method or the 5:2. The 16:8 method involves eating for a space of 8 hours during the day and then drinking only water for the remaining 16 hours. The 5:2 system, on the other hand, requires that you eat as usual for 5 days in a week and then restrict diet to 600 calories for 2 days. Fasting gives the body time to use up stored energy and thus causes weight loss.
- Get enough sleep: Good quality sleep is essential for weight loss. Sleep apnea has been associated with visceral or belly fat.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily. Aerobic exercise like dancing can be combined with High-Intensity interval training . Yoga and pilates are also very intense exercises that can help improve your body form and posture. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins which help to relieve stress, reduce pain and make you feel good.
Stay strong my sister, we are in this together.