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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 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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