The Belly-Fat Wars:

You Can't Outrun Your Fork

EnergyExpress BellyFat 1017

Of all the things America worships—the Tesla, the Google, the sour-cream-and-onion potato chip­—the flat stomach is one of the hardest to achieve. Photoshop is a big help, as are simpler airbrushing techniques, but for most people, looking down, belly fat is as normal as cotton socks on little kids. It’s just how it is.

Maybe not. Let’s review some basic body-fat facts to educate and inspire you to get a handle on belly fat. You can’t wish it away, but once you understand it, you can take action.

LOSE YOUR OMENTUM. Scientists talk about three kinds of fat. One kind—called triglycerides —runs in your bloodstream. The second is subcutaneous, right under your skin. The third— who knew?—is omentum fat. It’s the stuff inside your belly, pushing out the waistband of your jeans, squeezing vital organs. The omentum fat under your stomach muscles has other names, too—love handles, visceral fat, intra-abdominal adiposity — but you should know it for what it is: the most dangerous body fat in the world.

WHY IS BELLY FAT WORSE THAN JIGGLY THIGHS? Omentum fat has more momentum than the other kinds, which just sit there, defying you to put on your Speedo. It travels like a heat-seeking missile directly to your liver, where it gets dispersed to your arteries, and from there, you’ve got trouble in River City. High LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) is one of several serious health problems linked to omentum fat. Belly fat also constricts your lungs and pushes up on your diaphragm, making it difficult to breathe.

The good news is that reducing your omentum, even just a little, brings significant improvement in your cholesterol, your blood pressure, your blood sugar and your lung function. And the belt on your jeans won’t feel like a boa constrictor.

STRESS GOES TO YOUR STOMACH. Belly fat isn’t just the result of eating too much of the wrong food. It also comes from too little sleep and from ignoring the stress in our crazy-busy lives.
Getting enough sleep is a no-brainer, so let’s focus on stress. Cortisol is a stress hormone. If you do nothing to consciously relieve your stress—with exercise, breathing techniques, meditation, mindfulness, relaxing in nature—your cortisol levels will spike. And here’s the cruel part: Cortisol actually holds on to the fat that is stored in the belly region, even when we cut back on calories. (How did cortisol get so mean?)

WHAT WORKS? Belly-fat blasting is a growth industry. Ads for special drinks and powders that “target the belly fat” are everywhere. Ignore them. Waste of money. (Well, maybe not La Parle Obesity Soap, yours for two bucks in 1903.) Educate yourself instead on eating real foods, in appropriate amounts, including some full-fat foods known to battle the bulge: avocados, eggs, almonds, yogurt, berries, green tea, vitamin C-rich foods (oranges, red peppers) and high-fiber foods.
One of my favorite lists of fat-burning foods has been compiled by nutritionist Josh Bezoni. His book “Belly Fat Free” is packed with startling information about foods that fight belly fat (including dark chocolate!) and foods that add it, such as sugar, fruit juices and fake butter. (If you’re taking notes, underline and circle the word “sugar” and put a big X over it).

Even more eye-opening is Bezoni’s brave and true take on “obesity additives.” Highly processed foods are the Lucky Strikes of tomorrow. Most mainstream food companies are intentionally loading their products with chemicals and additives that make us hungry, fat and addicted, Bezoni says. There’s tons of solid research to support his case.

Of course, regular exercise always helps control belly fat, but you can’t outrun your fork. You also can’t spot-reduce —meaning no amount of targeted crunches will eliminate belly fat.

So what will? You will, over time, if you are ready to change. Self-acceptance also figures in. If you can love your belly, you can begin to lose your belly, slowly, slowly. Why chase after a flat stomach when the real prize is a healthy one?



I got skinny on fat and realized
I would never have to diet again.
— Suzanne Somers  —

Marilynn Preston is the author of Energy Express, America’s longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new book All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at to learn more.
For more on personal well-being, visit © 2017 ENERGY EXPRESS LTD

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