No one wakes ups randomly one day to discover they have a belly, but after years of beer consumption from weekly bar outings and summer evening parties making keg stands or playing beer pong, your poor stomach has now been replaced with the dreaded beer belly.
Each beer you consume is about 150 calories, which adds up quickly after several hours, days, weeks, and months of constant drinking. When drinking alcohol, your liver prioritizes the burning of alcohol instead of fat, leaving you with excess pudge around the waistline.
However, did you know that visceral fat, also known as beer belly fat, is more dangerous than other areas of fat accumulation?
Why Visceral Fat (Beer Belly Fat) Is More Dangerous Than Other Fats
Visceral obesity or fat is concentrated fat found between many critical internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines. Storing higher amounts of visceral fat is associated with increased risks of a number of health problems including heart disease, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
One way to tell if you are storing excess visceral fat is to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging scan. Another relatively good indicator of visceral fat is to take a waistline measurement. Research has shown that the size of our belly is a relatively reliable indicator of the health risks linked to visceral fat.
The 4 Crucial Steps for Getting Rid Of Beer Belly Fat
The good news is that you don’t have to say goodbye to beer or your social life forever. Here are 4 steps you can take for getting rid of your beer belly:
1. Assess Your Alcohol Consumption (this is very important)
By not drinking, you’ll increase fat mobilization, improve insulin sensitivity, and increase the natural production of hormones. However, it’s often hard for most people to quit drinking altogether.
Luckily, researchers have actually found that moderate beer drinkers had a 42 % lower risk of heart disease compared to non-drinkers! Try picking one day a week to enjoy beer. It’s an excellent motivational way to control your intake while also ensuring you can enjoy yourself at a summer outing or holiday party.
This also helps you mentally by having something to look forward to and reduces the urge to cheat more often! Making an effort to record how many drinks you have may also help you reduce or slow down your drinking. Some drinkers trying to cut down have been successful by pacing their drinking or sipping their drinks slowly.
2. Fix Your Diet
A healthy diet—full of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats (avocado and olive oil), is critical to getting a flat belly.
Various methods of fasting, like intermittent fasting, can be beneficial when trying to lose fat. By fasting for a period of time, you control the “hunger hormone,” control your body’s insulin sensitivity and reduce overall calories to help aid in fat loss. (Note: fasting is not the same as starving yourself—going without food all together will only slow down your metabolism and make it harder to shed fat.)
Beer is high in calories and carbohydrates, and consuming too much of both is sure to put fat loss at a halt. By increasing your protein intake and decreasing your carbohydrate intake, you’ll help accelerate some fat loss.
When reducing your carbs, you will help burn fat as fuel and reduce the amount of water you may be holding from all of the beer consumption. Increasing your protein intake will have a more thermic effect on your metabolism, helping you reduce hunger and improve your ability to build muscle, which in turn aids in fat loss.
3. Get Active
Physical activity is so important for counteracting the risks that visceral fat can bring. Sneaking in some extra movement in each day can add up to a lot of caloric burn and increased metabolism over time.
Take 10 minutes each day to perform a mini cardio workout (any time during the day- get creative) or even just daily walking will help! Contrary to popular belief, doing crunches will strengthen your stomach muscles, but will NOT burn the belly fat that covers your abs.
4. Strengthen Your Core
It’s essential to build up your core muscles in general, and it’s a great addition to your workout routine that doesn’t require much time or equipment at all. Here is a great 10-minute core workout video – without crunches!
Losing your beer belly takes time and commitment, so be patient and don’t stress! Stress has been shown to lead to hormonal imbalances, especially involving cortisol, which stimulates the storage of fat around the abdomen and stomach.
Set yourself realistic goals and don’t panic if you don’t see changes right away. Any change, even small changes, can help you reduce the harm that alcohol can cause. Furthermore, your belly will thank you.