Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weight Loss Plan for Women Over 40 - Why That Belly Fat May Be More Than Just Unsightly

For some women over 40, belly fat is a big problem. Most women who have this problem want to know what a good weight lose plan for women over 40 is. What some women may not know is while belly fat is annoying and unsightly, it may cause more serious problems than not being able to zip up a great pair of skinny jeans. A survival mechanism from our distant past, belly fat was accumulated during times of plenty and then used up during the long months when food was scarce. This remnant from the past is no longer necessary with our plentiful supplies of food. Now the problem is for many people is how the belly fat just accumulates and accumulates!

What is really interesting is that belly fat is unlike the other fat beneath our skin that serves to protect us from the cold and absorb the shock of minor bumps and scrapes. Accumulated fat around the waist line, called visceral fat, is attached to the internal organs. It is found on the outside of the stomach, the liver, spleen and the intestines. The biggest difference between it and subcutaneous fat (fat found beneath the skin on the rest of the body) is belly fat acts as endocrine gland, secreting hormones into the body. One of the most damaging chemicals it secretes are cytokines that cause inflammation and damage to tissues throughout the body.

The more belly fat a person has, the greater the chance for developing insulin resistance that can result in the development of Type 2 diabetes. With the advent of insulin resistance, blood sugar levels can swing wildly, increasing hunger and more overeating. It becomes a vicious cycle causing more weight gain and even more dangerous belly fat.

So, how can the cycle be broken? The guidelines are pretty much the same as for all good weight loss plans. Although belly fat tends to be more stubborn than subcutaneous fat, it will start to melt away with a diet and exercise plan that specifically targets belly fat.

Foods to avoid are refined carbohydrates and saturated fats and trans-fats. White flour, sugar, fatty meats and hydrogenated oils should be completely removed from the diet. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains and lean meat. Complex carbohydrates found in whole grains and produce are digested at a slower rate, preventing the spiking of blood sugar. High levels of blood sugar lead to storage as fats, so stick to foods that don't cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. Fresh produce is full of the nutrients the body needs to stay healthy, and with today's diet conscious population you can find a multitude of recipes that use fresh vegetables as the main ingredient.

Starting an effective exercise plan is just as important as watching your diet. Walking is an excellent way to get calorie-burning exercise. It's low-impact on the joints, a wonderful way to burn calories, and,provides a great cardiovascular workout. Walk at a brisk pace and aim for covering two to three miles every day. At the optimum pace, a walk this long should take between a half hour and 45 minutes. Although walking the dog is good exercise, if your dog likes to stop at every tree and fire hydrant, take him for a quick walk, circle back home, drop him off, then head out for a fast paced two-mile walk by yourself.

Interval walking, alternating between a brisk pace and a brief really brisk pace, burns even more calories. These bursts can be less than a minute in length but really pay off with fat burning that continues even after the exercise stops.

Now, you know that walking is easy and belly fat burning, excellent weight lose plan for women over 40. So grab your walking shoes, find some exciting vegetable-based recipes, and start losing that dangerous belly fat. You'll look spectacular and feel so much better!

Train Hard! Drop the Pounds!
Monique Hawkins

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