This article discusses different kinds of belly fat and how to get rid of it. (Thanks Jen Glantz for including me in it.) Here is a brief breakdown:
Belly fat can either be subcutaneous (under the skin) or visceral (in between the organs, ie. “deep” fat). The visceral fat is what carries major health risks like diabetes and heart disease, whereas in theory strict subcutaneous fat doesn’t carry the same risks. However, in a practical sense, if you’re carrying visible excess fat, it is same to assume you have deep fat as well. (A notable exception is sumo wrestlers, who carry little deep fat and do not seem to get the same medical problems as “regular” obese people.)
To lose belly fat, or fat anywhere for that matter, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. It is really that simple. You cannot “spot reduce,” and where the fat comes off of first is largely based on your genes. However, we know that if cortisol (the stress hormone) levels are high, any excess energy you consume will be preferentially deposited around your middle. So in addition to reducing calories, making sure you have good methods to manage stress is very important, not only for weight but for mental health as well. (Obviously.)
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