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10 Reasons You Should Get Rid of Your Beer Belly ASAP

10 Reasons You Should Get Rid of Your Beer Belly ASAP

Even though having a beer belly is a powerful emotional reason behind why many of us want to lose weight, there is a far bigger reason why we should lose it.

Here’s the thing: like anything that doesn’t kill us immediately, our beer belly doesn’t either. We can ignore it, especially if we’re young in our 20s and 30s, or if we see all our friends around us with beer bellies.

As a young professional in a corporate work setting, it can seem that “health” is more an exception than the norm. Beer bellies being the norm.

Besides it being something that tends to be embarrassing, here are 10 scientifically-backed reasons why you should get rid of it ASAP.

1. It’s not just fat; it’s the worst kind of fat from a health perspective.

I know I’m overweight. No big deal. So what, right?

Unfortunately, belly fat is worse than being overweight. Belly fat is actually different from fat at other parts of your body. It’s known as visceral fat and carries with it a highly elevated risk of disease. This visceral fat also gives off cytokines, which are inflammatory compounds in the body that increase the systemic inflammation going on–which is another risk factor for dozens of diseases.

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2. It’s an indicator of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is basically a cluster of negative symptoms associated with the body’s inability to consume and store energy efficiently.

Typically a person will have abdominal fat, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol. What’s the big deal? Metabolic syndrome is one of the strongest predictors of contracting these illnesses in the future:

  • Heart disease and heart attacks
  • Pre-diabetes and diabetes
  • Cancer

The beer belly is a dead giveaway that a person is well on their way down the road to metabolic syndrome.

3. It increases your risk for breast cancer.

For both men and women, having belly fat and being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer.

How?

The higher levels of body fat and belly fat produce an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. The more body fat, the higher the levels of estrogen in the body. Estrogen feeds breast cancer cells. One study found that, in pre-menopausal women, excess belly fat increased the incidence of a very specific type of breast cancer.

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4. It increases your overall risk of dying from all causes.

In one study, men with excess belly fat and a large waist were most at risk for what researchers call “all-cause mortality”–early death from any cause. A study in Germany found the same, but with a twist. Belly fat tripled the risk of all cause mortality even if the person had a normal body weight.

5. It dramatically raises your risk of being diabetic.

In Singapore, researchers did a study on close to 2,000 people with diabetes, and 643 that developed it by the very young age of 33. The researchers found a significant link between belly fat and diabetes risk, especially diabetes while the patient was still in his or her 30s.

6. It’s linked to erectile dysfunction.

As if the emotional impact wasn’t enough, here’s a very good reason for men to lose the gut: it’s strongly correlated with erectile dysfunction, and not just in older men. Younger men with diabetes can have ED issues 10 or more years earlier than the average man, which can be a complication from diabetes.

Since the beer gut is linked to pre-diabetes, diabetes and syndrome X, another side effect of these conditions is erectile dysfunction, which can occur in as many as 25-75% of men that are diabetic. One of the reasons for this is that these conditions damage nerves and blood vessels, which are involved in arousal.

7. It’s bad for your heart.

One of the biggest reasons to get rid of your gut is that it produces enormous stress on your heart. As your body mass index rises (especially belly fat), it strongly increases your risk of coronary heart disease, where plaque begins to build up in the arteries. This slows down the ability of your heart to receive blood and oxygen.

When this plaque has built up sufficiently, clogging occurs. This can lead to chest pain (angina) or a full-on heart attack. A beer belly doubles your risk of heart disease of any form. Over time this can also lead to stroke and other complications.

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8. It worsens hormonal problems.

A big issue with gaining too much belly fat is that excess belly fat (and overall fat) is directly linked to much higher levels of estrogen in the body. So the more fat you have, typically the higher the estrogen levels. Even though estrogen is a primarily female hormone, and we might assume it’s “good” to have for women, excess belly fat can dramatically increase it in both men and women to the point where negative health issues start cropping up.

Women begin to have excessively strong, painful periods, fibroids, cravings and mood issues, as well as poor sleep.

Men begin to develop “man boobs,” have problems with arousal, lack energy and can have mood and sleep issues due to the lower levels of testosterone.

Regardless of gender, this hormonal imbalance that occurs from excess belly fat has negative consequences.

9. It raises your risk of having a stroke.

For the same reason that having too much belly fat increases heart disease, diabetes and cancer risk, it also is directly correlated with a higher risk of stroke.

As more plaque begins to build up in the arteries it can become detached from the wall and float around the bloodstream, and a blood clot can form. If it’s close to the brain, a stroke can result when oxygen and blood is blocked from flowing throughout the brain.

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There’s a direct correlation between your body mass index (BMI) and your risk of stroke. As your BMI goes up, so does your risk.

10. It increases the chances of getting dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

People who have large bellies (especially later in life) have a whopping 250% increase in their chances of getting dementia or showing serious signs of cognitive decline.

Another study highlighted over at the Huffington Post suggested that belly fat may actually cause dementia and Alzheimer’s. The protein that metabolizes fat in the liver is the same protein found in the brain that controls memory and learning, and a problem with belly fat is that it depletes this critical enzyme in both places.

So not only does belly fat result in physical issues and major health complications, it also ruins your brain.

Featured photo credit: Young handsome man drinking from a red can via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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