Pop Quiz: Which of the following type of body fat is most harmful to your health?

A) Underarm fat

B) Hips, thigh, and buttock fat

C) Abdominal fat

D) None of the above

E) All of the above

The Answer: C

Difference between Good and Bad Fat

We’re all pretty aware of the difference between the good and bad types of consumed fat. Saturated fats clog arteries whereas unsaturated fats typically aid our health. For example, you can probably agree that eating a cheeseburger with a bag of potato chips isn’t the best option when compared to fresh salmon and a side of greens dressed with olive oil. But, what about the other side of the story? What’s the difference between the different kinds of body fat we carry?

The reason Answer C for the pop quiz is because belly fat lies deep inside the body. Doctors call this visceral fat because it wraps around your “viscera”-your vital organs such as your heart, liver, lungs, and stomach. And, against conventional wisdom, it’s not lifeless fat, it actually acts like an organ itself; generating hormones that can actually cause weight gain while preventing the production of healthy substances that can lead to weigh loss. In fact, recent studies are changing the doctor’s view about obesity as they learn more about visceral fat and its affect on the body’s internal chemistry. What this fat ultimately does is cause us to age quicker and become vulnerable to disease.

But here’s the good news, it’s relatively easy to get rid of visceral fat. Why because, abdominal fat is metabolically very active. You’re not stuck with it forever, you can burn it up!

Just follow these 5 important tips to get rid of that visceral fat:

  • Amp up your cardio routine. Cardiovascular exercise, which is any activity that gets your heart rate up for an extended period of time, is an excellent way to burn fat and accelerates your metabolism. If you haven’t been keeping a regular cardio routine, start one today. Go for a brisk walk or hike in the hills. And if you’re a veteran cardio queen, add 10 more minutes to your regular routine. Take it to the next level and challenge yourself!
  • Do more strength training. Adding resistance with weights to your workout allows you to increase your lean muscle mass and boost your resting metabolism. You’ll burn more even while you’re sitting on the couch sleeping!
  • Don’t forget to make time for rest and relaxation. Try meditative yoga or set aside 30 minutes a day to read a book in your favorite chair. You can also take a warm bath before bed. We need time-outs at least once a day to catch our breath for our bodies and minds. The less stress we have, the easier it is to control those stress-related hormones that tell the body to hold onto fat.
  • Unsaturated fats. Focus on nourishing your cells with healthy unsaturated fats, such as those from nuts, olive oil, and fish. Avoid the saturated and Trans fats commonly found in processed, packaged foods and fatty cuts of meat. Try to keep your intake of healthy fats at approximately 30 percent of your daily caloric intake.
  • Focus on waist size, not pound size. If you’re on a weight-loss plan or are about to start one, don’t worry so much about what the scale reads. As you trim body fat and increase lean muscle mass, you might not see a huge difference on the scale right away. So instead of using that to gauge your progress, measure your waistline once a week and track your results. You’ll see your waistline get smaller!

With these tips in mind, you’ll not only shed the belly fat but you’ll also feel lighter and more energetic.