As I peruse the internet, I rarely see articles that focus on weight loss or health information just for men. So, this article is dedicated to the men. (Don’t get me wrong, ladies. You should take note as well).
Looking in the mirror, you see that your shirts are a bit tighter around the middle, and your pants just don’t seem to fit as comfortably as they used too. If you are noticing a bulge around your middle, this is a sign that change needs to happen, and soon.
Belly fat, love handles, portable cup holder—these are all pet names we so lovingly give our expanding middles. However, it is not just that extra layer of fat hanging over your pants, it is also fat that has taken hold inside your abdominals and surrounds your vital internal organs.
You may be thinking that having just a little belly fat is not that big of a deal because you are “normal size” everywhere else—wrong! Large amounts of belly fat can increase your chances of many health problems, including sleep apnea, Type II diabetes, and heart disease.
Belly fat can appear in anyone, at any age; however, as I mentioned before in my article about how aging can affect our weight loss/gain, your age can play a definite role. We lose muscle as we age, and if we are not physically active, it makes losing fat even harder.
We need muscle to burn fat. Belly fat appears when you consume food and do not exercise enough to burn those calories. Genetics can also play a part in whether you are predisposed to being overweight and where your body stores fat. Another source of your expanding middle may be consumption of large amounts of alcohol. Drink in moderation. The less you drink, the fewer calories you will ingest, and the less your midsection will expand.
Men, if your midsection has expanded to more than 40 inches, you are in need of shedding weight. Your health depends upon it. Don’t worry, I am not just going to tell you to lose the weight without giving you some tips and easy ways to start burning the belly fat. You probably already know what I am going to say, but it is worth repeating over, and over, and over again, until you understand that your health depends upon how you use this information.
• Eat Right. Eat clean—real foods like fruits, vegetables (especially the green leafy varieties, like spinach, arugula, bok choy, collard greens, etc.), lean meats, poultry, fish, and nuts. Consume whole grains, not processed, refined grains like white bread and white rice. Don’t omit, just limit your intake of high fat foods like butter and cheese.
• Portions. I always tell folks to use their hands. Once you get the hang of it, you will understand how easy it is. The palm of your hand is your portion of Protein (lean meats, poultry, etc.). One cupped fist is for your carbohydrates (whole grains, berries, potatoes, etc.). Two closed fists are for your veggies (but you can eat as many veggies as you want as long as they are fresh or steamed without butter all over them). Your thumb is for your fats (cheese, etc.) This will help you get started and perhaps help you see just how much you have been over indulging.
• Exercise/Physical Activity. You need to move, and you need to keep your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes a day. This is not hard, and you can implement movement into your day and not even realize it. For instance: walk your dog, take a walk around the block, ride a bike, play a sport or just play with your kids/grandkids in the backyard. Use your imagination and make it fun! If it is fun, chances are you will continue with exercise for your lifetime!
• Be Patient. We know Rome was not built in a day right? We also know you did not gain your belly overnight, so don’t expect it to go away overnight either. Be patient, eat right, exercise, and enjoy each day being healthier and happier knowing you are caring for your body. The weight will come off, and once again you will see those shoes, button those pants, and enjoy seeing yourself smiling in the mirror instead of cringing.
Stay Fit, Merlinda
PS - As always, check with your physician before you start an exercise program.
Merlinda Swearingen is a Navy wife and mother of two growing boys (12 and 10). She teaches group fitness classes at ODU's student recreation center and is a certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor, pilates instructor, personal fitness chef, and business owner with over 15 years experience in the fitness industry. She enjoys spending time with her family, church family, cooking, camping, and finding new information and ideas that are trending in the area of fitness and health. Living a healthy and fit lifestyle is a passion she enjoys sharing with anyone and everyone she meets.