One common weight loss goal is reducing belly fat, but slimming your midsection can be a difficult task. Even so, the undertaking can be an important one as experts say an expanding waistline comes with a number of health risks.
Although taking – and keeping – weight off your belly can be harder to do as we get older, diet expert Michael Mosley has a three-part plan to ‘make a serious impact’.
The Fast 800 and 5:2 diet creator kicked off his advice to the Express by saying: “You need to eat smart, fast smart, and train smart.” He explained how to get ahead of a ‘rapidly-expanding’ belly fat by getting to the bottom of the issue.
“To lose belly fat, you have to understand belly fat and to understand belly fat, you need to understand the basics of how insulin works,” said Mosley.
He described how the body makes insulin after a meal in order to keep blood sugar stable. “On your cell walls, insulin opens up glucose ports to allow sugar through – for burning in muscle, and for storage in fat,” Mosley said.
“In your fat, insulin also curbs the release of fatty acids – a source of energy – into your system. However, as we age, cell-wall insulin receptors become less sensitive.
“As a result, even after a meal, our blood is replete with glucose and fatty acids. This is a toxic brew, driving an array of bad outcomes, including rapidly-expanding belly fat.”
Mosley recommends the following three-pronged ‘attack’ on belly fat to make a serious impact.
Limit sugar intake and processed carbs
The diet guru revealed a “surprising” number of diet-marketed snacks and drinks that are actually high in sugar despite being low in fat.
And when people cut or limit carbs in their diet, they suppress their appetite and they lose weight.
He explained what swaps to make as part of a healthy diet : “Likewise, replace processed carbs like white bread, chips and pasta with slow-release energy sources, such as brown rice or quinoa. Two things will surprise you: the amount of sugar you were consuming unawares, and the speed at which your belly fat will begin to tame itself.”
Try intermittent fasting
This is Mosley’s preferred method of dieting, and the premise behind his 5:2 and Fast 800 diets.
He said: “The idea that fasting ‘slows your metabolism’ is a myth. Under conditions of marked energy deficit – 800 calories per day or less – not only do you simply lose weight by eating fewer calories, but your body responds to the stress of fasting by enhancing hormone function to facilitate weight loss and burn fat for energy.”
Do more exercise
Regular exercise is good for a whole host of reasons, especially when incomes to losing weight.
Being in a calorie deficit is a necessity to shifting stubborn belly fat, and the nutritionist labelled being more active a “key” player alongside a healthy diet.
“Exercise is key for various reasons. It is amongst the best things you can do for a long and healthy life,” he said.
“While exercise alone will not help you lose the stubborn fat from round your middle, it can be crucial for helping reduce the risk of re-gaining fats, as well as lowering blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity.
“Research has shown the extraordinary impact that ultra-short bursts of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) can have. All in just a few minutes.”
With the right lifestyle changes, Mosley revealed it is possible to shed weight easily. “You can lose it fast,” he said.
“More and more people are discovering that with the right lifestyle changes, they can burn it off. And most amazing? It’s not as hard as you think.”
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