WHAT IS BELLY FAT?
Belly fat primarily comprises visceral, or omentum, fat. This fat is different than subcutaneous fat (the fat you can pinch). Experts agree that omentum fat is the least desirable fat on the body when it comes to supporting good health. The loss of belly fat in both men and women can promote overall health.*
HOW MUCH BELLY FAT IS TOO MUCH?
Measure your waist across your belly button. Total inches should be half of your height or less.2
Example: If you are 5’6” or 66 inches, your waist should be 33 inches or less.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND HIGH-LINOLEIC SAFFLOWER OIL
In a 16-week, double-blind controlled study conducted at Ohio State University, researchers compared high-linoleic safflower oil (SAF) with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).3
They studied post-menopausal women who had high blood sugar and wanted to lose weight. These participants showed an average reduction of 6.3 percent belly fat and an average of 20.3 percent increase in the important belly fat hormone adiponectin*.
- SAF outperformed CLA in measurements of trunk adipose (belly fat) and adiponectin levels. There was no significant change in adiponectin or trunk adipose loss with CLA.
- Belly fat measured by DXA:SAF group reduced an average of 6.3 percent belly fat. Some saw reductions of up to 9.4 percent belly fat.*
- Adiponectin: Levels of this important belly fat hormone increased an average of 20.3 percent.*
- Study participants obtained results with no modifications to exercise or diet regimen.† However, (SAF) is a wonderful addition to any diet and exercise program.
By following these nutritional recommendations, you further ensure success with the high-linoleic safflower oil and most importantly, promote your overall health.
Incorporate the following into your daily diet:
- Calcium-rich dairy products. Milk, cheese, and plain/natural yogurt are rich in calcium, which research has shown can boost fat reduction by increasing the breakdown of fat cells. Scientists have discovered that eating three servings of dairy products per day helped overweight people lose more belly fat than those on a similar diet minus the dairy. If you are lactose intolerant (you have difficulty digesting the sugar in milk), you may want to use Lactaid or enzymes that are beneficial for breaking down milk sugars.
- Nuts. Nuts are rich in protein and healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, help keep you feeling full, increase leptin levels and increase your body’s ability to burn fat.
- Protein. Add protein to healthy carbohydrates at each meal. You may want add protein shakes to your diet, either as meal replacements or as snacks.
- Fiber. Fiber-rich foods help maintain a healthy blood sugar levels, keep your tummy feeling full, curb appetite, and help maintain healthy digestion.
- Green tea. Green tea helps speed up your metabolism and assists your body in burning more fat than carbohydrates for energy, which will help reduce ugly belly fat. Drink several cups per day.
- Apples. Apples contain pectin, which is thought to restrict cells from absorbing fat. Pectin also encourages water absorption from food, which helps break up fat deposits.
- Healthy fats. Healthy fats like omega-3s from fish oil help improve your cells’ ability to burn fat more efficiently. Incorporate 1000 mg of omega-3 in supplement form into your daily routine.
- Chilies or cayenne pepper. These spicy delights contain capsaicin, which increases metabolism. Because these types of pepper are thermogenic, they will help the body burn extra calories after eating. They also satisfy your taste buds.
- Greens. Veggies are broken down slowly in the body, thus helping maintain normal blood sugar levels resulting in less fat storage. Vegetables also have high water and fiber content, which helps promote the feeling of fullness, reduces hunger, and decreases calorie intake.
- Water. Drink plenty of water to help keep your cells hydrated, your metabolism revved, and your tummy feeling full.
Replacing refined carbs with fiber-rich carbohydrates; saturated and trans fats with healthy fats; adding protein and fiber; eating five small meals a day; and drinking eight glasses of water daily are all essential to your belly fat reduction efforts.
Healthy fats are easily consumed from a variety of sources. Avocadoes, dark green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, olives, and unrefined expeller-pressed oils are rich in essential fatty acids and may help you lose or maintain a healthy weight, support a healthy blood sugar level, and promote insulin sensitivity. support cardiovascular health.
Adding Good Fats to Your Diet
Eat cold-water fatty fish, such as wild salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, or anchovies two times per week. The American Heart Association recommends this topromote a healthy cardio system.. If you don’t like the taste of fish, try a toxin-free fish oil supplement.
Aim for one gram of omega-3s per day. The American Heart Association recommends up to 3 grams of omega-3s per day to lower triglycerides.
Consume a GLA supplement, for example borageoil, to ensure proper levels of the healthy omega-6.
Flax seeds are the best sources of omega-3s in the plant kingdom.
Eat walnuts, Brazil nuts, butter nuts, macadamia nuts.
The more green, the better. Dark green leafy vegetables are good sources of omega-3s. Include romaine lettuce, mixed greens, spirulina, purslane, kale, Swiss chard, and arugula.
Make your own salad dressing using flax oil.
Avoid refined grocery store oils. These oils are heavily processed and contain an abundance of unhealthy omega-6s, which can lead to insulin resistance. Use extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and macadamia nut oil as your primary cooking oils.
When possible, consume free-range meat, which contains higher levels of omega-3s than grain-fed meat. The grain fed to the animals - changes the fatty acid profile of the meat.
Incorporate more essential fatty acids from nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and green leafy vegetables as well as the healthy omega-9 fats from olive oil and avocadoes.
Decrease your consumption of refined carbohydrates, including white sugar, white rice, and white pasta.
Increase your consumption of fiber-rich carbohydrates.
Choose high-quality proteins and balance protein foods at snack and meal times.
How much protein should you eat? Three to seven servings of meat, dairy, fish, and meat alternatives, such as legumes and beans, is a good start.
Typically, the recommended daily requirement for protein for adults is 50-70 grams of protein per day (depending on if you’re female or male). If you are very physically active and/or trying to lose weight, ◊ you may want to increase your consumption of protein up to higher levels (i.e.,1 gram/kg body weight). Your overall aim for your food choices should be about 15-20% of your calories from protein, 45-50% from fiber-rich carbohydrates, and no more than 25-30% from fat (remember to focus on the mono- and polyunsaturated fats).
Fiber and Carbohydrates
Research has shown that we live in a fiber-deficient society. The majority of North Americans consume only one-quarter to one-half of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended fiber levels of 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women. In fact, the average daily fiber intake is only 12 grams for women and 18 grams for men.
Eating fiber-rich foods is one of the simplest and easiest things you can do to shrink your belly. Fiber gives your metabolism a boost and keeps you feeling full so you don’t overeat. Consider the following:
- Buy “whole grain” versions of your favorite foods, including breads, cereals, and pastas.
- Eat more dishes made with beans and legumes.
- Learn to incorporate a variety of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen) into your recipes.
- Start the day with whole grains. If you’re partial to hot cereals, try old-fashioned or steel-cut oats or barley.
- Use whole-grain breads for lunch or snacks. Check the label to make sure the whole wheat or other whole grain is the first ingredient listed.
- Experiment with beans, legumes, and lentils by including them in various dishes, such as chili, soups, and salad.
- Eat unlimited amounts of vegetables. Most veggies are so low in carbohydrates that they have no measurable effect on blood sugar levels. Vegetables, such as tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, and onions, can be considered “free foods,” as even in large amounts, they have no effect on blood sugar levels.
- Decrease your consumption of refined carbohydrates, including white sugar, white rice, and white pasta. Increase your consumption of fiber-rich carbohydrates.
- Combine proteins with fiber-rich carbohydrates to help support a normal blood sugar balance and promote insulin sensitivity.
Increasing your physical activity will achieve dramatic benefits for your health. Increasing your physical activity will have dramatic benefits on your health.
Helps to promote healthy weight and weight management as well as supporting a healthy heart and overall health. Helps your body burn calories to help you lose weight.
Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
Decreases body fat, including belly fat.
Increases serotonin levels (the feel-good, happy hormone).
Gives you a positive outlook on life.
Helps control stress levels.
For anyone who currently does no activity, starting even moderate amounts of regular physical activity may be difficult. Your daily physical activity target should be built up in small activity “portions” (10-15 minutes) over time. Your rate of progression will depend on several factors, including age, functional capacity, medical status, personal preferences, and goals.
Cardiovascular activity has many benefits for heart health and it releases endorphins that give you a sense of euphoria and wellbeing. Cardio work outs help burn calories, however will not reshape your body.
This is where strength training comes in.
Regular weight training combined with cardiovascular activity and eating five to six small meals per day will turn your body into a fat-burning machine even when you sleep. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is, which means the more weight you will lose. Your metabolism is a direct reflection of the lifestyle choices you make.
In addition, most adults experience a decrease of approximately 5-7 pounds of muscle tissue per decade. Thus, strength training is important for maintaining muscle that throughout the aging process. We lose up to one-half pound of muscle every year after age 25 unless we perform regular strength exercise.
Every pound of muscle burns between 40 to 120 calories per day just to sustain itself.
Every pound of fat burns between 1 to 3 calories to sustain itself.
A Strong Core for a Lean Belly
Having a strong core is more beneficial than you might think. A solid core protects your lower back, improves your balance, and provides postural stability. When you keep your abdominal muscles contracted, you work on your core all day long.
Because it is difficult to spot reduce with exercise, the best way to start is to work your full body. To lose fat in your belly, you need to decrease your total body fat. Crunches or sit-ups will not get you any closer to your goal of having a flatter stomach. Full-body workouts will. Overtraining your abdominals is actually one of the most common mistakes made by beginners in the gym.
Check Your Posture
Proper postural alignment is the key to looking younger and thinner as well as to improving your health and wellbeing. When your back is in a neutral spine alignment, the ligaments, muscles, and discs are at their optimal position and are under the least amount of stress. Think of a string pulling from the top of your head elongating your spine. Aim to maintain a neutral spine during daily activities and exercise, as maintaining proper posture will reduce your chances of injury and maximize your exercise benefits. In addition, proper alignment can improve your breathing and increase your confidence.
Proper form and technique will significantly increase the efficiency of your workouts and reduce your risk of injury. The most common mistakes people make include using wrong technique, having improper form, swinging weights, using too much weight, and doing too much too soon.
When this happens, it is likely that your muscles aren’t actually getting any significant workout at all, certainly not an effective one. Mastering proper form and technique before you increase your resistance is crucial.
During every exercise, keep your core tight and back straight, making sure not to arch in order to complete the exercise. Avoid locking your knees and your elbows. Keep your head in line with your spine, and keep your wrists straight while holding weights or bands.
Avoid Holding Your Breath
It is very important that you avoid holding your breath during your workouts. When you hold your breath, the amount of oxygen getting to the muscles and brain becomes limited, while blood pressure and heart rate increase to extreme levels. Lifting heavy weight while holding your breath could cause dizziness, fainting, and—in extreme cases—hernias or even heart attacks. To breathe correctly, exhale during exertion (the lifting portion of the exercise) and inhale during the lowering phase of an exercise.
Speed of Movement
Make a conscious effort to lift at a certain speed. For beginners counting 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down for each repetition encourages good movement patterns.
Avoid using momentum, as it puts unnecessary stress on your joints and will not give you the full benefits of an exercise; make your muscles do the work, not gravity.
Change your workout
Remember the secret to successful resistance training is to constantly challenge your muscles by increasing either the resistance level, doing more repetitions, incorporating more sets. Additionally, your muscles need a break in order to properly respond to exercises. Avoid training the same muscle groups day after day. You need to have at least a 48-hour break between working out the same muscle groups.
Further, you should usually change your program completely every four to eight weeks.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Each exercise session should incorporate a five- to ten-minute pre-exercise warm up and a five- to ten-minute post-exercise cool down of low-intensity aerobic exercise (walking, cycling, etc.) or slow rhythmic stretching exercises to prevent injuries. Depending on your level of physical conditioning, physical activity longer than 30 minutes is encouraged as tolerated.
The purpose of the warm up is to increase your body temperature and heart rate to slowly prepare your body for the workout. Walking, cycling, rowing, kickbacks, knee ups, and step ups are few ways to warm up. Active dynamic stretches are also recommended to take your joints through their range of motion before putting more strain on them. Movements like arm rotations, spinal rotations, extensions, and some lateral movements are great ways to move your joints.
After cardio activity, you will need to return your body and heart rate to its pre-exercise state, which will reduce the chance of post-exercise light-headedness or fainting. To cool down your body, perform the activity you were doing before working out (e.g., if you were walking fast to warm up, cool down by walking slowly). Stretching is also a great form of cool down.
Motivation Is Key
You can have the best plan in the world, but if you do not have the internal motivation, it will be difficult to stick to your new healthy routine. Here is a quick summary of things to keep in mind when starting an exercise program:
- Put your health on top of your priority list. There will always be something else to do if you let things get in your way.
- Set realistic short- and long-term goals (weekly and monthly)
- Visualize your success.
- Spend 5-10 minutes at the end of each week going through your schedule and figuring out ways to fit in exercise for the next week.
- Put target dates on your goals and stick to them.
- Keep a journal of your workouts.
- Schedule motivational time into your daily routine.
- Surround yourself with positive people who will support you in reaching your goals.
- Find balance in your life. For instance, getting enough sleep and having time to relax is very important.
1. Karlene Karst, RD. Getting it all Started. Belly Fat Breakthrough @2011:pg. 48-50
2. Karlene Karst, RD. Fitness for a Lean Belly. Belly Fat Breakthrough @2011:pg. 57-50
3 Leigh E Norris, Angela L Collene, Michelle L Asp, Jason C Hsu, Li-Fen Liu, Julia R Richardson, Dongmei Li, Doris Bell, Kwame Osei, Rebecca D Jackson, and Martha A Belury. Comparison of dietary conjugated linoleic acid with safflower oil on body composition in obese postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes mellitus1–4. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90:468–76.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease
† We suggest you use (SAF) in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise program. Please consult your healthcare professional before beginning any exercise and reduced calorie program.