Belly Fat: Not all fat on your body is created equal. For instance, much of the fat around your abdominal area is called visceral fat, which is known as the “harmful” type of fat. This is because the fat sits around your vital internal organs, which can increase your risk of certain diseases.
Unfortunately, as you age, your risk of having excess visceral fat actually increases. However, the good news is that through exercise and incorporating healthy eating habits, you can start to lose the excess visceral fat around your abdominal area.
– Avoid excess sugars
According to Morgyn Clair, MS, RDN, author at Fit Healthy Momma, cutting out sugar (especially sugary beverages) or lowering your intake of it is one of the best ways to lose belly fat as you age. “Studies consistently show that excess sugar leads to unwanted fat, especially fat that’s stored in the abdomen,” she says.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition also found that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with an increase in volume of abdominal fat in adults.
– Track calories
Another tip that Clair has for those trying to lose some belly fat as they get older is to track their calories during the day. And although some people may be wary of this process, Clair says you may only need to do it for a little while to get a good idea of what your body needs.
“Many people underestimate how much they are actually eating, so I suggest tracking for at least a week so you can get a good picture of your current calorie intake,” says Clair, “and that makes it easier to point out meals and days when your calories are too high, which contribute to excess fat storage.”
– Switch to whole grains
It may be time to ditch the white bread and refined carbs if you’re trying to lose weight this year. According to Elizabeth Ward, MS, RDN, co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Hormones, Health, and Happiness, “eating whole grains instead of highly refined grains is associated with a lower risk for excess belly (visceral) fat.”
And if you’re wondering where to start on switching to whole grains, Ward suggests “whole-grain breads, cereals, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, or popcorn.”
– Consume most of your calories before dinner
Another habit that may be contributing to more belly fat is one that often goes completely unnoticed by those who are trying to lose weight, and that is eating the majority of your calories in the evening hours.
“Your body processes food more easily earlier in the day because that’s when insulin is more effective, which is the hormone that moves glucose produced by digestion into your cells for them to use as energy,” says Ward, “and as insulin becomes increasingly sluggish as the day wears on, eating heavily at the end of the day boosts the chances of storing what you eat as fat in your abdominal area.”