Visceral Fat Explained

flat belly
Visceral fat is the fat layer that is found deep in the abdominal cavity.

It surrounds vital organs such as the pancreas, the kidneys, the liver and the intestines. Visceral fat acts as a cushion surrounding abdominal organs and therefore an amount of visceral fat should exist within the normal range.

Excess visceral fat is dangerous since these fats are associated with diseases such as dementia, depression, type-2 diabetes, heart diseases and cancer. Visceral fat is also known as “active fat” since it affects the hormonal function of the body.

Visceral fat is more dangerous than subcutaneous fat (the fat stored below the skin). Accumulation of visceral fat leads to a condition known as “visceral obesity”.

Adiponectin is a protein substance that is released by fat cells. It promotes insulin sensitivity. Adiponectin was found to be less secreted in the case of individuals who have visceral obesity. Excess visceral fat also leads to the production of cytokines which in turn lead to inflammation. Excess visceral fat may or may not be associated with abdominal obesity.

Visceral obesity is attributed to different factors such as your genetic makeup as well as lifestyle. Those who have a sedentary lifestyle and tend to consume more calories than what they burn are more likely to accumulate excess visceral fat. Also, stress was found to increase visceral fat since it leads to the rise of the cortisol hormone that increases fat storage.

Hormones are also involved with visceral fat accumulation. In men, low levels of testosterone are associated with increased visceral fat. And in women, low levels of estrogen are associated with increased visceral fat. Post-menopausal women are more likely to accumulate visceral fat than younger women. In women, excess visceral fat was found to be associated with breast cancer.

Visceral fat can be measured using MRI or a CT-scan. However, these are expensive tools. A cheaper alternative to MRI is waistline measurement. Around 10% of the total fat is visceral fat and so an overall high fat is associated with excess visceral fat. A body composition analyzer can determine the visceral fat content of the body. Usually the analyzer takes into consideration your age, gender, height and weight.

The analyzer gives a visceral fat rating that ranges from 1 to 59. If the rating is 12 or less, then visceral fat is within the normal range and can be monitored to make sure it doesn’t increase. However a higher rating indicates that there is excess visceral fat that requires action.

Visceral fat can be reduced through a balanced lifestyle and exercise. Make sure you exercise regularly. Eat a healthy diet and ensure you get good night sleep. Remember to avoid trans fats completely. You can use some of the available apps to help you make sure your plate contains sufficient calories. Stay away from stress and avoid alcohol consumption and smoking. Visceral fat reduction may not result in reducing your clothes size, but its health effects are immense.

Liposuction cannot help with visceral obesity.

It can only reduce the subcutaneous fat. However, a regular workout can immensely help with visceral fat. You can also combine strength training with your usual workout to improve fat reduction and weight loss. Also doing high-intensity cardio exercises can be of great help. Working out makes your body burn the excess fat that has been stored.

Losing visceral takes time just as it took time to get stored in your body. You should have enough patience and persistence to keep going and continue losing visceral fat on a regular basis until you reach a normal level. Make sure you regularly work out and control your lifestyle. You can also choose some healthy supplements that help reduce fat storage in the body such as Omega-3.

How to Fight Menopause Belly

As women go through perimenopause and then menopause, they face different challenges whether physically or emotionally.

One of the main concerns for women during menopause is their belly fat. Even if a woman never had to worry about it before, belly fat becomes a real concern when the menstrual cycle ends.

Belly fat is not only the fat layer surrounding the waist, but it also includes the visceral fat that is inside the belly and between the organs. This visceral fat can be considered more serious since it is associated with diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.

Thus belly fat is not only a cosmetic concern but it is a serious health problem.

Why does abdominal fat accumulate during menopause?

During menopause, the estrogen level decreases in the female body. This causes fats to be redistributed from the hips to the abdomen.

Also cortisol is no longer controlled by estrogen and thus it increases fat storage in the midsection. The result is belly fat that seems resistant to attempts to lose it.

However, the good news is that you can still fight belly fat if you know how.

How to fight belly fat?

Get ready

It is a wise decision to always be ready for what lies ahead.

Therefore, you don’t have to wait till menopause to fight that belly fat. Start ahead of time to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat a healthy diet and work out often. A good balance between food intake and burning calories is essential. It is way easier to lose weight before menopause and you will already be in better shape when you get there.

Set a goal

Set an achievable goal to lose a certain amount of weight in a certain time.

You need to track your progress and to see where you stand and plan accordingly. Make short-term goals and modify them when you need as times passes. Don’t stress yourself because weight loss may not be as easy or quick for everyone, but use your goal to guide you.

Persistence is the key here, if you make no progress or when things get worse. Understand that it is normal for the metabolism to decline with age and be patient. Your goal is absolutely worth it.

Healthy diet

An healthy diet is essential for losing weight.

Make sure you cut back on sugars and junk food. Start by replacing the unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives. Follow a diet that is rich in proteins and whole grains. Healthy fats such as fish oil and olive oil can reduce fat storage and thus support your weight loss diet. Eat enough fresh vegetables and fruits and reduce the consumption of preserved or canned food.


One of the main causes of belly fat in menopause is decreased activity.

Make sure you work out often, like a few times each week. You should perform cardiovascular exercises to burn more calories. It is recommended to spend a reasonable amount of time exercising to maintain your body in good shape.

Weight lifting can be very helpful as resistance training. It helps build more muscle tissue that would otherwise decrease with age. It also helps increase the calories you burn naturally every day.

Make sure to contact a professional fitness trainer to help you with a proper working out plan that suits your needs and health condition.

Cope with stress

The effects of stress are exacerbated during menopause.

The cortisol levels increase with stress and cause more abdominal fat to be stored in the stomach area. Stress can also make you crave for sweets or junk food that hinders your weight loss progress. Therefore it is crucial to learn to manage stress the right way. Make sure to sleep enough hours every day and to avoid stimulants.

Get rid of the stressors you can eliminate and learn to accept and adapt to the ones you can’t change. Learn not to resort to alcohol since it can cause the weight gain to get even worse. It is time you treat yourself once in a while with a short break or an activity you like.


Losing the fat around your waist may not be so easy and it doesn’t happen overnight.

Henceforth it is necessary to accept yourself and your body shape, as you are. Remember that it is out of your self-love that you are trying to lose that weight, and as such you should first of all love yourself.

Belly fat during menopause can greatly impact our lives when it comes to our appearance or to our health condition. However, when we understand why it appears and how we can fight it, we are ready to make the right decisions at the right time.

This can make our transition to menopause smooth and our bodies strong and healthy. Life is all about making choices and fighting belly fat is one of the best decisions you can make for your longevity and fitness.

Are You Fat Because Of Your Job?

Maybe you are wondering why your waist keeps expanding. How much did you weigh before starting your present job? How much do you weigh now? Who or what should you blame for this?

The amount of stress you are experiencing at work might be the culprit of your weight gain. It is a sad thing to observe that while some people are climbing the corporate ladder, they are also packing more pounds. Harris Interactive conducted a survey in 2013 of over 3,000 CareerBuilder workers. 41% of the respondents admitted they gained weight with their present jobs. Employees who sit long hours at a desk and have high-stress levels were more prone to weight gain.

55% of them stated that they are too chubby and most of them linked that to their jobs. 25% have gained over 10 extra pounds and women are more likely to gain weight. 53% of the respondents pointed out that sitting at their desks all day is the top reason for this, and roughly 36% of them said they overeat because of stress.

There’s loads of evidence that too much sitting is harmful, and the number of “knowledge workers” fastened to their chairs for long hours is one reason why obesity in the United States is increasing. Furthermore, while many seem more conscious of their health than ever, approximately 80% who gained weight in the survey admitted that they eat snack many times at work, most probably not the healthy carrot sticks.

Still, it’s apparent that stress is the main cause of work-related weight gain. 77% of the respondents say that they are heavier now with extremely high stress. It was reported that employees who have extremely stressful jobs are 53% more likely to become overweight than those who have less stressful jobs.

Many scientists have been doing several studies on the relationship between feeling under intense pressure for prolonged periods of time and expanding waist. Stress increases the body’s production of a hormone called cortisol. This hormone makes a person crave foods high in sugar, fat, or both.

Exercise is one of the best antidotes of this kind of scenario. The CareerBuilder survey states that wellness programs sponsored by employers, which were aimed to encourage people to exercise more without having to leave the premises are very important. But, only a quarter of the workers in this survey have access to fitness amenities, and only a small group actually uses them.

A medical doctor from the Vitality Institute named Katherine Tryon once said that there are plenty of reasons a person’s work could affect his waistline. Diet, behaviour, and physical activity have something to do with it too. Vitality Institute is a New York-based global research organization.

Here are different factors that can influence your weight, and ways to shove clear of their negative effects.

Sitting At The Desk For Long Hours

Having little or no physical activity is the most noticeable root cause of work-related weight gain. Sitting at the desk most of the day is the primary reason for the expanding waistlines. A research shows individuals who walk or stand throughout the day burn more calories, which means lesser pounds gained in the long run. But, a British study in 2013 failed to find a strong connection between the times spent sitting and overweight. It is true that sedentary behaviour definitely does not help, clearly, there are other factors bolstering weight gain as well.

The Long Commute

An average American spends almost half an hour commuting to work and then again going home. This is a fact published by the US Census Bureau. According to the American Community Survey, 86% of employees commute by car.

Workers who take public transport to and from their workplaces are likely to have lower BMIs than those who drive or ride in a vehicle. Dr. Tryon suggested that companies need to consider ways to turn commuting into a vigorous activity. It would be better that businesses offer bike racks and showers to their workers.

Unhealthy Options For Lunch

Workers who work in locations with plenty of drive-thrus are more likely to get some food. According to a British study in 2014, these people are expected to have higher BMIs.

In reality, people with the easiest access to takeout joints are twice as likely to be obese. If you lack healthy options for lunch nearby, you should make an effort to make and pack your own meal ahead of time.

Distracted Eating

Having your meals at your desk every single day works against the waistline in so many ways. With this practice, you are unable to fully experience eating. Because you are making phone calls, answering emails, checking a website while eating, you are not focusing on the enjoying your food.

Doing these things all at the same time makes you forget that you have eaten lunch. You may also unconsciously grab something else, not realizing that you had just eaten a full meal.

Poor Eating Habits of Your Coworkers

If you often go to lunch with your colleagues, there is a very high possibility that their poor dietary choices may pass into you. The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics identified that individuals are likely to conform to the “eating customs” in social settings.

If your co-workers are ordering high-fats or high-sugar foods, you are more likely to do it also. This makes a lot of sense, particularly in a work setting. It is normal for you to wish to fit in. It would be much easier at work if you just go along with the crowd, even if it’s unhealthy.

Candy Jars and Freebies

In a workplace, for certain, there is someone who always has a bowl of candy out. If you are a dieter or a stress eater, this person is a huge enemy. When someone puts something delicious on display, people are going to eat much more of it compared when those treats are tucked away in a drawer.

The same principle is applicable for the leftover desserts lurking in the office kitchen. If there is a general area for sweet treats, it is hard to resist such temptation.

The Vending Machines

When you are too busy and the cafeteria is too far away, your saviour will be the vending machines. Unfortunately, most of the snack options are very low in nutrients and high in calories.

Try to make your snacks healthy by having fruit-and-nut bars at your desk. Drink a glass of cold water before giving into a soda craving. Choose a small pack of trail mix or unsalted nuts if you ever visit the vending machine. Pick something packed with healthy fats and protein.

Extreme Stress At Work

High levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, can trigger sugar and fat cravings. It can also make your body hang onto fat and accumulate it around your midsection. A German study in 2014 discovered that on-the-job stress is an obvious risk factor for diabetes (Type 2).

Also, people who are promoted are feeling so much pressure to please the bosses while managing more people and projects. It seems they forget to exercise and relax. With bigger responsibility, you may feel that all eyes are on you, and office breaks are no longer suitable. While you devote extra time to work, your weight suffers.

The Late Nights

Workers who work until midnight to meet all deadlines or manage heavy workloads may blame their lack of sleep for excess weight gain. In 2013, a University of Pennsylvania study stated that those adults who lack or only got 4 hours of shuteye for 5 nights in a row gained more weight compared to those who got 8 full hours of sleep. This is because of the extra high-calorie meals they eat during late hours at night.

It is highly suggested that you find a way to start work earlier to get more sleep.

Digital Devices

It is very important to highlight that job-related obesity does not end when you leave the workplace. In a very connected world today, many workers find themselves very hooked to their mobile devices even in their off hours, making it more difficult for them to get away from work stress and demands.

A study confirmed that frequent use of these devices is connected to the increased rates of deskbound behaviour. This can lead to unwanted weight gain. Individuals who used their phones and other gadgets very often were more likely to miss out opportunities for physical activities according to a Kent State University study in 2013.

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