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    Burn Off That Belly Fat

    No one likes a pudgy waistline or a muffin top but sometimes, especially during and after menopause, it seems really hard to get rid of them! You can blame it on your reduced levels of estrogen, which shifts body fat to your waist. I get it, and I’ve experienced it.  It’s frustrating and depressing to try to wriggle into a skirt, or button up jeans that used to fit. 

    Expanding belly fat does more than make it hard to zip up your clothes though. 

    Belly fat is not limited to the extra layer of padding located just under your skin (subcutaneous fat). It also includes visceral fat, which lies deep inside your abdomen, padding your internal organs. Although subcutaneous fat presents cosmetic concerns, visceral fat contributes to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and chronic illness.

    The good news? You can reduce the cosmetic and physical threats posed by belly fat with specific types of exercise and Keto-Green nutrition.

    But first: how do you know if you have too much belly fat (besides looking in the mirror)? Measure your waist:

    • Use a cloth tape measure, and measure your bare stomach at about 2 or 3 inches above your navel. Pull the tape measure so that it is snug but does not push into your skin. Write this number down.
    • Then measure the circumference of your hip bones using the tape measure again. Record this number.
    • Divide the waist number by the circumference at your hip bones. This math yields your waist-to-hip ratio. Here is what your results mean:

     

    Excellent

    Good

    Average

    High

    Extreme

    <0.75

    0.75-0.80

    0.80-0.85

    0.85-0.90

    >0.90

     

    As you exercise and follow my Keto-Green eating plan, you’ll want to periodically measure to see your numbers improve as your belly fat is reduced. When your numbers improve, you reduce your risk for chronic illnesses like heart disease.


    Exercise Away the Belly Pudge!

      With regular exercise (and my Keto-Green diet), you can shed belly fat more easily than body fat elsewhere. That’s because exercise boosts the output of the hormone epinedrine.  One of its jobs is to increase fatty acids in the bloodstream so the body can use them for fuel.  Fat cells in the abdominal area are very sensitive to epinedrine. In response to exercise, they liberate fatty acids quite readily. In fact, it’s much easier to work off fat from the abs than it is from the thighs and hips, where fat cells are more stubborn.  

    Some forms of exercise, however, are better than others for battling belly fat. Try these:

    HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training.

    This is a type of short workout that has been shown to burn fat more effectively than regular bouts of steady aerobic exercise, especially around the waistline. It also increases fat-burning growth hormone, which tends to decline rapidly as we age. What’s more, HIIT improves insulin sensitivity, meaning your body uses insulin as it should – which prevents fat storage around your waist and the risk of serious disease. I love to box, which is a form of HIIT.

    With HIIT, you can reap the benefits of cardio and strength while maximizing your fat burn in a short amount of time. The “intervals” in HIIT involve alternating between short bursts of hard effort and short periods of less effort. Please check out my 16-minute HIIT workout in my new book, Keto-Green 16. You can do it at home, it takes very little time, and you’ll love it.

    Walking.

    This do-anywhere activity can practically spot-reduce fat from your waistline. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, put a group of men and women, aged 60 to 70 on a nine to 12-month exercise program that consisted of walking or jogging. On average, the subjects exercised 45 minutes several times a week.  By the end of the study, both the men and the women had lost weight.  But get this: Most of their weight was shed from the abdominal area. This all goes to show that a simple exercise program like walking or jogging can melt off abdominal fat.

    Strength-training.

    You can work your abdominal muscles with crunches, sit-ups, or other targeted ab moves, including yoga. But just doing these exercises won’t get rid of belly fat. However, they do tighten your ab muscles, so that when you shed the layer of fat covering them, your stomach will look flat and tight as a drum.  So – yes, you do want to perform moves like crunches, sit-ups, and planks periodically during the week.

    For a super-duper ab sculpting workout, check out and sign up for exercise expert, Betty Rocker’s upper body and ab workout at thebettyrocker.com. You’ll love it!

    For added inspiration, here is a quick workout with good techniques using weights I did with trainer and coach, Mindy Lee.


    Reduce Your Waist with Keto-Green!

    Keto-Green helps you lose weight, specifically from your abdominal area, and keep it off for good, because it targets poorly balanced hormones that pile pounds onto your waistline. In 2019, I commissioned some research on my Keto-Green 16 diet. In those studies, participants lost an average of 2.25 inches around their midsections in only sixteen days. 

    Prior studies agree with my findings. In 2016, researchers in Spain compared the effects of a keto diet to a low-calorie diet for reducing visceral fat (the dangerous kind) over a period of 24 months. The keto dieters lost nearly 5 inches from their waistline, while the low-calorie dieters lost only 1 ½ inches. 

    How’s that for waist reduction? To get started on your own waist reduction plan:

    Go Keto-Green.

    A good starting point is to follow the 16-day plan outlined in my book Keto-Green 16. It gets you into the fat-burning - especially the belly-fat burning - state of ketosis fairly quickly, but without the side effects of conventional keto dieting like keto flu.

    The diet features: plant-based alkaline vegetables, especially greens, to help balance your hormones; beef; organic and free-range poultry; wild-caught fish; and vegetarian protein sources. Protein is a great metabolism booster. Research has found that people who eat more and better-quality protein have much less belly fat and are less prone to gaining it. You also get to eat healthy, plant-based fats found in nuts, seeds, avocadoes, and certain vegetable oils. One of these is MCT oil, which is less likely to be stored as body fat. It also helps you get into ketosis. 

    Do intermittent fasting.

    It is, hands down, one of the best strategies you have for fighting belly fat—for three reasons. First, intermittent fasting inhibits what’s called alpha fat receptors. These are proteins in fat tissue that decrease fat-burning and restrict the amount of blood flow that passes through cells in the abdomen (you need good circulation to help burn fat). Having active alpha-2 receptors makes it difficult to get rid of belly fat.

    Second, your abdominal tissue has about 400 percent more receptors for the stress hormone cortisol, than tissue elsewhere in the body. This makes it easier for the body to store fat in response to stress. So intermittent fasting is not only good for your stress response but also good for preventing a certain degree of fat storage in response to stress.

    Third, intermittent fasting forces your body to get energy by converting tough-to-budge fat (including belly fat) into ketones and finding energy reserves beyond stored glucose (thus burning fat). This is one reason you’ll often feel more energetic with this type of fasting.

    A 2014 study found that people also lost 4% to 7% of their waist circumference with intermittent fasting. This indicates a significant loss of harmful belly fat that could otherwise build up around your organs and cause disease.

    Supplement to slim your waistline.

    You’ll want to supplement with omega-2 fish oil, first of all. The important components of fish oil are the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Both can actually reduce body fat – particularly in the belly. Researchers in China did statistical analyses of seven studies involving omega-3 fats and overweight adults and concluded that supplementation produced a significant reduction in waist circumference. The study was published in 2017 in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.

    I advise supplementing with 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 (with 360 milligrams EPA and 240 milligrams DHA) taken once in the morning. It’s important to choose a high-quality fish oil that is certified by the International Fish Oils Standards (IFOS), guaranteeing quality, potency, and purity. Depending on your health, you may require more.

    Don’t forget MightyMaca Plus. It is beneficial in overall weight loss, by helping control blood sugar levels in the body, boosting energy for workouts, and regulating hormones. One or two scoops daily of Mighty Maca Plus in smoothies or tea is  a good way to harness all the powers of this amazing herb.

    Then there’s vitamin D. As a fat burner, it appears to target belly fat by working with calcium to reduce the overproduction of cortisol, which triggers the storage of belly fat.

    The Institute of Medicine advises 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day. You may need more, so discuss dosage with your physician. Vitamin D should routinely be supplemented with vitamin K, because vitamin D sends your body messages to deposit calcium and K tells it where to deposit it.  

    There you have it: the total Keto-Green lifestyle formula to pare down belly fat and keep it from coming back. Remember, excess belly fat can cause many health issues, but with the right exercise routine, along with Keto-Green nutrition, you can trim and tone your midsection in no time, no matter what your age.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca

    Dr. Anna Cabeca

    Dr. Anna is a Triple Board Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging Medicine expert, and author of the best selling book, The Hormone Fix.

    Dr. Anna helps women heal the 9 most dreadful symptoms of menopause with natural, safe solutions. Follow her for content on hormonal imbalances, vaginal dryness, menopause (and more) that are medically backed, and created to empower women — not just treat them.