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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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