The metabolic syndrome is diagnosed when someone has at least three of the following:
- abdominal obesity
- high triglycerides
- low levels of high-density lipoprotein ("good") cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- increased levels of sugar in the blood.
In addition, excess belly fat raises the risk of developing cancer, migraine headaches, dementia, Alzheimer's disease and a host of other health disorders.
Knowing the causes and some of the dangers of excess belly fat, lets talk about how to get rid of it. I know what you are all thinking, “Oh God, she’s going to say we need to exercise.” Well, yes I am going to say that because there is no other “magic pill.”
Now, if you have read some of my other posts in this blog, you are already aware of some of the causes of excess body fat and belly fat. You may want to refer to “GOOD FAT vs BAD FAT,” for a quick reminder.
One of the best and most effective ways to lose fat, besides making good food choices, is strength training exercise. Here is how it works.
Because your body is an adaptive system, it will adapt to whatever load you place on it. Let's say you are a person with a high percentage of body fat or obese. Underneath that fat you have a strong skeletal and muscular system. Your body actually has to build muscle to carry the extra fat. Just the very act of standing, walking across a parking lot or lifting your arms up and down requires more effort when you are carrying excess body fat. Now the one advantage you have in this situation is, while you are in the process of trying to lose body fat with strength training, you can maintain your muscle mass and bone density which will maintain a higher metabolism. That’s good news because a higher metabolism is directly associated with lean muscle mass even while you are losing body fat. The big mistake people make when trying to lose fat is they try starving or eliminating certain meals out of their day. This will cause you to also lose your lean muscle mass, therefore slowing down your metabolism. You may drop a few pounds, but you will gain it right back and usually some extra.
Remember, it's the lean body mass that's burning calories day in and day out, even when you're doing nothing. If you reduce that muscle mass by allowing it to go away (by not challenging your muscles), then your metabolism is going to slow down. The solution to all of this, the strategy I want to focus on here, is to engage in strength training while you are losing body fat. This will leave you with a greater proportion of lean body mass to body fat, meaning that you will be slimmer, yet not loose any muscles along the way.