The weird dad bod phenomenon is over and let’s be honest, even if it was great for self confidence, it sucked for our health! Health professionals were certainly frowning hard over this fad, especially knowing how dangerous abdominal fat can be. So how dangerous is it exactly? Well, belly fat increases glucose intolerance, risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, there’s the aesthetic aspect: it’s not necessarily nice looking and/or practical when it comes to clothing. So…How to get a flat stomach to boost your health and self-confidence?
Let’s delve into the dangers of abdominal fat and the solutions to lose it efficiently! Having a flat stomach is not impossible!
Warning: Abdominal Fat is Dangerous!
As men, our hormones tend to favour fat deposits around the abdominal area. Abdominal adipose tissue is different from the ones that can be found elsewhere in the body. For instance, this fatty tissue will secrete substances that can result in the development of lipid disorders as high LCD cholesterol and triglycerides. Furthermore, it can also result in carbohydrate metabolism disorders, like glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes. (1)
As a matter of fact, there are two types of fats in the abdominal area. I know…why make it simple! I’ll make it simple for you:
- The first type of fat is subcutaneous, meaning it’s located under the skin and on top of the muscle. Usually, this type of fat is the easiest to lose because it hasn’t been there very long and tends to be linked to recent food and/alcohol abuse.
- The second type is visceral fat. You’ll find it under your muscles and around your organs. Visceral fact is what makes a belly come forward and gives it a hard feel.
The most dangerous fat as you might have guessed it, is visceral fat. This insidious fat will free inflammatory molecules that can cause all sorts of problems (you don’t need). However, both fats will increase your risk of developing diabetes, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnoea, cancer and many degenerative diseases.
What does “feed” visceral fat? Visceral fat is often linked to a diet rich in carbs. When eaten too often and in important quantities, carbs will ALWAYS lead to insulin resistance. Eventually, the organism won’t be able to deal with the overwhelming quantity of sugar and starch. And in other terms, that’s the beginning of type 2 diabetes… (2)
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In addition, as men, we have another problem to take into account when it comes to abdominal fat. That problem is stress. Cortisol, a hormone produced during stressful episodes, can inhibit testosterone production and increase oestrogen levels. Which is a disaster for our manhood! Moreover, the combination of cortisol and insulin favours even more deposits of abdominal fat.
In conclusion, abdominal fat – or stomach fat – will dramatically increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer and…erectile dysfunction (due to poor blood flow).
How to Get a Flat Stomach for Men – Real Long Term Solutions
A Healthy Diet
Here’s a easy recap of things that will help you have a healthier diet without too much hassle:
- Print a glycemic index. This will help you chose foods with a low glycemic index – thus, this will reduce your sugar levels spike after carbs consumption. Consequently, you’ll release less insulin and won’t be stocking additional abdominal fat.
- When choosing carbs, go for whole grain and low glycemic ones. Cook them “al dente”.
- Don’t forget legumes, there are quite carby but way healthier!
- Don’t eat more than 4kg of carbs/legumes per month.
- Ideal plate ratio: ½ vegetables, ¼ proteins and ¼ legumes or carbs. For weight loss, one portion of carbs daily is enough.
- If you feel like your meals aren’t satisfying enough, up protein and/or fat intake a little bit. They both play a crucial role when it comes to satiety. For fat, you can do that with nuts (a small handful), virgin olive oil, organic butter, avocado, organic unrefined coconut oil, low fat cured cheese, etc.
- Bread isn’t your friend. If you can’t live without it, limit your consumption to the one slice per day maximum. Opt for a sourdough bread or a whole grain freshly baked bread.
- Allow yourself little pleasures like a couple of squares of dark chocolate (70% minimum) after a physical day. Or a home-made yogurt parfait with Greek yogurt and fresh berries (and no added sugar).
- Limit your alcohol consumption. When out and about (once a week or every two weeks), go for white alcohols like white wine or vodka. 2 units maximum and if you like it with sodas, go for the light version!
Physical Activity to See your Abs and have a Flat Stomach
If you are not into weight lifting or callisthenics, go for cardiovascular exercises. To optimize your abdominal weight loss, nothing beats the HIIT method (High-Intensity Interval Training). This method consists in alternating phases of high-intensity and rest, usually for a ratio of 2:1 (2 minutes of high-intensity exercise and 1 minute of active rest) for about 15/20 minutes daily. You can apply the HIIT method to many sports or you can find specific routines on the web.
Starting a regular physical routine is great but sticking to it, is way better. Chose something you really like doing. At the end of the day, that will make all the difference! Don’t hesitate to try different things: martial arts, weight lifting, running, football, rugby, swimming, boxing, callisthenics, canoeing, etc. If you need a bit of support, go with a friend or find an online exercise mate.
Also, take into account that exercise boosts metabolism. Therefore, it will make you hungrier. If you are exercising out, always take a home-made snack with you. A couple of hard-boiled eggs or an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter are excellent post-workout snacks!
Ultimately, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Follow your plan and allow yourself a little leeway (but not too much). If you are planning to go to the restaurant, go! Although, it would be wise to avoid the huge plate of pasta! Allow yourself to have little pleasures when you’ve accomplished a goal, you deserve it! Eventually, you’ll have a flat stomach and most importantly, a good health.
(1) Low Testosterone Associated With Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome Contributes to Sexual Dysfunction and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Men With Type 2 Diabetes. Christina Wang, Graham Jackson, T. Hugh Jones, Alvin M. Matsumoto, Ajay Nehra, Michael A. Perelman, Ronald S. Swerdloff, Abdul Traish, Michael Zitzmann, Glenn Cunningham. Diabetes Care. 2011.
(2) The regulation of adipose tissue distribution in humans. Björntorp P1. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996.