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How to lose weight and bust that beer belly

 

Want to look better, feel better and live a longer, healthier life? Whatever your age or condition, all three ideals are within your reach. You simply need to shed excess fat—particularly that beer belly.

 

If you’re like many farang in Pattaya, you probably haven’t lifted anything heavier than a Heineken since you’ve been here. No need to put down that beer (it doesn’t really produce a beer belly) or totally change your habits. But you do have to get off your bum, onto a treadmill, and into smart eating.

 

A brisk walk three times a week and eating more fruit and vegetables every day will reduce your stomach flab and extend your life, but continuing to feed that girth and remain sedentary will make you a prime candidate for:

 

- Heart disease

- Diabetes

- Metabolic Syndrome

- Gall bladder problems

- High blood pressure

- Colorectal cancer

- Stroke

- Fatty liver


 

Those are only some of the risks associated with belly bulge. Research confirms that any excess fat is problematic, stomach fat is downright dangerous. And now abdominal fat has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. If you still have your wits and want to reduce risks, read on.

 

The antidote to beer bellies has little to do with beer. A leading authority on alcohol and health at the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Meir Stampfe, contends that ‘though it's often called a “beer belly,” beer does not promote weight or waist gain any more than any other source of calories.’


 

That said, processing alcohol seems to distract the liver from burning off fat. Beyond which, once you hit your mid-thirties your metabolism slows down and you burn fewer calories.

 

Want an easy way to eliminate fat? There is none. You must commit to the rigours of consuming fewer calories, eating healthy, and getting active.

 

To drop more weight more quickly, factor these four tips into the mix:

 

*Drink green tea. Substances in green tea known as catechins stimulate the body to burn calories and enhance loss of belly fat. Researchers think catechins blast tummy fat by acting on enzymes that influence the body's calorie- and fat-burning mechanisms. Catechins and caffeine acting together may boost the body's metabolism. Aim for seven cups a day.

 

*Stop eating fast; relish each bite, chew your food slowly and adequately.

 

*Stop eating when you are about 80 percent full; do not wait until you are totally satiated.

 

*Keep a food diary; that alone can double your chances of losing weight. Keeping track of every bite makes you think and reflect more about your next food choice.

 

Aerobic exercise is your best ally in fighting belly fat. Walk, run, swim, bike, play sports—nearly anything that builds up a sweat (including sex). It’s a good idea to augment such fat-burning activities with strength training, but forego spot exercises; sit-ups, crunches, or other abdominal routines strengthen core muscles but do not reduce abdominal fat.

 

Although men generally store fat in the stomach area more than women do—thanks to sex hormone differences, the fair sex is not immune to the plight. Before age 40, women tend to store most of their fat in the hips, thighs, and buttocks (which you probably have never noticed). After age 40, however, as estrogen levels drop, women’s body fat is redistributed to the abdomen.

 

Whether you are a woman or a man, you would be well advised to commit to an exercise regimen that you can live with and to upgrade your eating habits to include healthy protein and calcium. Why those two nutrients? You need protein to maintain and build muscle, particularly if you are into strength training—lifting weights, working out on machines, etc. Excellent sources of protein are nuts (in moderation), whole grains, fish, chicken, beans, and non-fat dairy. You also must have adequate calcium for strength training as well weight-bearing exercises such as walking, running, etc. These activities put good stress on bones and help keep your skeleton sturdy. From your spine to the tiniest bones in your toes, your frame needs calcium, which is found in vegetables such as kale and collards and in dairy products.

 

Beyond those foods rich in protein and calcium, the ideal diet should be calorie-controlled and include at least five servings daily of fruits and vegetables, particularly those of a dark variety.

 

If you winced at the word “diet,” relax. Dieting does not mean going hungry or being denied your favourite foods. Opting for whole grains is an excellent choice for countering hunger. Not only are whole grains healthier than refined, they also are high in fibre and take longer to digest. Consequently, they satisfy your hunger better and help lower blood glucose levels and reduce fat. Choose brown rice or wild rice instead of white rice (easier said than done in Pattaya). In fact, avoid most white food such as flour, sugar, and salt. Have oatmeal for breakfast instead of toast or croissants. Eliminate refined and other highly processed foods laden with empty calories that add weight and interfere with weight loss.

 

Other simple strategies:

*Eat breakfast; it kick-starts metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day, and it reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

*Avoid trans fats; they redistribute fat tissue to the abdomen from other parts of the body.

*Sleep at least eight hours every night; it persuades your body to burn fat and keeps the hunger hormone ghrelin in check.Man measuring waist

*Drink two litres or more of water daily, even if you’re not thirsty; it helps you feel full, cuts hunger, and flushes the body.

*Don’t sit for more than 30 minutes at a time; it starts to shut down genes and enzymes regulating glucose and fat.

*Eat good fats, i.e., avocados, nuts, olive oil, soybeans, and dark chocolate.

*Don’t skip meals; if you allow yourself to get hungry your body will store more fat.

*It’s okay to cheat…but just a little.