4 Cures for the Beer Belly Blues
By Jordana Haspel
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
When you hear the words "St. Patrick's Day," you
probably think of one thing: beer. Preferably green beer, but anything will do,
from an Irish stout, to a Mexican Corona. The important thing is that it has to
have those bubbles, that bitter taste, and that famous buzz.
Unfortunately, too much beer can lead to something
else: a beer gut. That's that thick layer of fat around the middle that makes
some people (men included) look like they're in their third trimester. In fact,
the so-called beer belly is more common in men than in women, because men are
more likely to store fat in their abdominal area, while women tend to store fat
in their hips and thighs. Whatever your gender, that spare tire is bad news.
While excess fat anywhere on the body can cause trouble, belly fat is
especially mischievousresearch shows that people who carry their fat on their
stomachs have a higher risk of obesity-related health problems than people
whose fat sits on their seats.
the name, beer bellies do not necessarily come from beer. If you have a body
type that stores fat in your belly, then most of the weight you gain will end
up there. But there is a link between alcohol consumption and increased belly
fat, though researchers are not sure why. If nothing else, a can of beer has
153 caloriesnot a huge amount if you drink just one, but if you have four (as
many people do when they drink), that's over 600 calories! And that's not
counting the nachos, wings, chips, and other snacks people often nibble on when
they're drinking. No wonder heavy drinkers often weigh more!
So what can you do to shed those unsightly (or too-sightly)
pounds? There's no simple answer. Contrary to popular belief, sit-ups and
crunches won't do it. While they'll help build the muscles you need for a
well-defined six-pack, your pack will stay hidden under the layers of fat if
that's all you do. That's because targeted workoutsfocusing on parts of the
body where you want to lose fatdon't work. Fat loss happens throughout your
body, not just in specific places.
All is not lost, however. There are
some things you can do to trim your tummyand the rest of your body as
well. After St. Patrick's Day is over, you may want to give these tips a
- Avoid trans fats. You've probably heard this
before. Trans fats are the new really bad thing to eat. Considered the worst
kind of fat, manufacturers in the United States now have to list the amount on
their nutrition labels, and some cities have banned their use in restaurants.
But it turns out they may also blimp out your belly. According to a 2006 Wake
Forest University study, trans fats not only make you gain more weight than
other foods with the same number of calories, but they specifically increase
belly fat. In fact, not only do trans fats add more weight, but they actually
move fat from other parts of your body to your belly. Bleh!
- Relax. Stress
leads to higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which leads to an increase in
abdominal fat. So let go of your worries through meditation or yoga, or go for
a soothing massage. Not only will this help keep your belly in check, but
you'll feel a lot happier, too.
- Get some sleep. People who don't get enough
sleep are more likely to be obese, according to a 2004 Columbia University
study. Researchers found that people who slept four hours or less a night were
73 percent more likely to be obese than those who slept between seven and nine
hours each night. Why? It may be because some of the hormones that regulate
your appetite and metabolism increase when you're sleep deprived. So snuggle
under your covers for a few extra minutes each night and you won't be as hungry
during the day.
- Get some exercise. You had to know this was
coming. Working outespecially cardiois the best way to get rid of excess body
fat. Combine this with healthy eating, and you're on the road to significant
weight loss. Any time you use more calories than you eat, that fat starts to
fade. So bust out Turbo Jam®, Hip Hop Abs™, or
any of our other fitness programs, and start Pushing Play!