It’s totally normal & healthy to have body fat. Also there isn’t a universally perfect body fat percentage to achieve to be healthy. Based on genetics and some other factors, everyone stores fat a little differently. Of course, it’s better to look at overall health through a lense that includes more metrics than just body fat.
Increased belly fat does carry risks for serious negative health outcomes. This is true for folks who live in smaller bodies as well. Belly fat isn’t just subcutaneous (the fat you can “pinch” and see), it can also include visceral fat which is the real issue in terms of health. Visceral fat is found in your belly, wrapping around your organs.
Scientists know that abdominal fat cells are biologically active. So think of fat as an organ in your body. It produces hormones and other harmful substances that can significantly impact your health. Visceral fat is directly linked with higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance.
What causes visceral fat? Genetics can determine where we store body fat. Also, excess calories, and not enough physical movement are contributing factors. Heavy consumption of processed foods and alcohol also contribute to visceral fat.
What can we do about it? At this point in time, there are no therapeutics available to treat visceral fat. But you can absolutely manage it with a healthy lifestyle. A diet that includes whole foods, daily movement, managing sleep, stress and alcohol intake will all help you lose visceral fat.
As always, start where you are. Pick one thing to work on, and begin. You don’t have to completely overhaul your diet and exercise routine overnight. And if you need help, find a coach and a community who are ready to support you. Click here to book a free consultation with coach Crystal today!