Technically referred to as abdominal obesity, it involves the build-up of subcutaneous fat around the abdominal area. 

I have been asked severally about how to reduce pot belly and belly fat, suffice it to say that I have also had issues with pot belly considering that I birthed three children already. Pot belly is technically referred to as abdominal obesity and it involves the build-up of subcutaneous (fat under the skin layer) and visceral (fats between the organs) fat around the abdominal area. Pot belly is not only a source of worry amongst women but a major concern amongst men too. In women the problem is often associated with the after effect of pregnancy while in men it is usually ascribed to the accumulation of fat at the stomach line mainly as a result of poor eating habit or a sedentary life style. In this issue of health tips on MalboPharmacy.Com, I will explore the related causes of pot belly and their possible remedies and prevention.

1. Causes of Pot Belly
a) Excessive Eating and Drinking Habits

Appetite is largely what controls our level of food intake, and the urge to eat is not always a sign that we are hungry. Although appetite is a sign of good health, caution is needed in order not to give yourself completely to the whims of your appetite. What this means is that we can eat large quantities of food at a sitting than we need due to the promptings of our urge and appetite for more. The consequence and outcome is an extended bowel and accumulation of extra fat consumed. Unfortunately, if we don’t curb our appetite, the quantum of food we consume at a given time will continue to increase and that is how the size of our stomach will also grow and more fat deposited on our waist line. This is also applicable to alcohol consumption; some people consume up to 1000cl of beer in one sitting and arrogate to themselves some heroism. Unfortunately, this is an unhealthy behaviour that not only leads to pot belly but results in other health complications, such as liver failure.

b) Poor Dieting

: Overtime we have thrown away healthy and nutritious diets and replace them with high fat and carbohydrate foods which are highly processed and devoid of essential nutrients and fibre. Our style of cooking has also changed, with fried foods becoming very popular in our daily menus. This change in diet and method of cooking has led to rapid accumulation of fat at the waist line.

c) Sedentary and In-active Lifestyle

The ‘fast-lane’ leaves no room for workout and physical activities. Most white-colour jobs involves sitting for long hours with considerable movement and burning of calories. These leads to an imbalance between calorie intake through food and calories burnt through work-out and physical activity. Physical exercises and activity not only assist in burning body fats, but contributes greatly to the toning and firming of our body muscles. Our abdomen is covered with a layer of six (6) abdominal muscles that extend from the ribs to the pelvis. These muscles aid movement, breathing and also provide postural support to the trunk and play a role in defining our form. A sedentary lifestyle with low to absence of physical exercise can cause these muscles to lose their firmness and begin to sag, protrude and then collapse into pot belly.

d) Hormonal Changes in Women

More often than not women experience a decrease in oestrogen level as age and approach menopause, this affects fat distribution in the body with more fat being deposited at the waistline. This factor contributes only a small percentage to the causes of pot belly compared to diet and sedentary lifestyle.

2. Prevention and Remedy
a) Disciplined Eating and Drinking Habits

I therefore advise us to eat just enough not until we belch and are uncomfortable. It is better to frequently eat little quantities than to consume large meals at every sitting. Avoid downing a huge meal right before bedtime because your metabolism is slower when you sleep, as such your body tends to burn fat less efficiently. Although curbing ones appetite is very difficult, especially when you have been given to the whims and cravings of your appetite, it is very important that we learn to discipline ourselves when it comes to food intake and alcohol consumption. A study suggests that ‘Sipping as few as 90 calories’ worth of vodka can slow your metabolism by 73 per cent’. If it is not possible to completely cut down on beer, it is wisdom to greatly reduce the amount consumed. Switching to either light beers (less than 100 calories per drink) or wine can also be a good alternative, but this is not an excuse for excessive consumption of wine. In addition it is very important to reduce the amount of fats in our meals. Fat are not readily broken down by the body and their rate of metabolism continue to decline as we age, which means we tend to accumulate more fat as we grow older. We will be better-off if we eat more vegetables, fruits and other diet rich in mono-unsaturated fats.

b) Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is an absolute for every individual not only for maintaining a straight abdomen but for general wellbeing and healthy life. Do exercises that will tone your stomach muscles and make them firm, enough to help you maintain a straight form and posture. In some literatures, the following exercises have been recommended which include Sit-ups, Crunches, Leg Lifting, Jack Knife Sit-ups, V-up. In addition take time out to do some jogging, it is said that people who run for at least four hours a week melt more calories than non-runners. Research published in Obesity notes suggests that staying at 80 per cent of your max heart rate for 40 minutes during exercises can amp your metabolism for 19 hours afterward. However, it is important to note that even the most toned abdominal muscles will not necessary strengthen abdominal muscles, if they are buried under a beer gut and a load of abdominal fat.

c) Use recommended and certified fat burners

The use of probiotics greatly boosts metabolism and help in breaking down of body fats and therefore reduce its build-up and accumulation. It is said that downing five 5-ounce cups of green tea a day boosts metabolism. According to research notes, a daily intake of 400 to 500mg of Vitamin C and 800mg of Vitamin D may contribute to burning and losing of fat, while taking 6 grams of fish oil (omega-3) per day and hitting the gym three times a week can help nix body fat. In addition I also recommend the use of SafSlim™ a revolutionary breakthrough in targeted belly fat science powered by SAFActive78™ which targets unsightly and health-threatening OMENTUM fat, the fat that accumulates around the belly region.

d) Physical Posture

: What I mean by physical posture is your form when you stand on your two feet or when you walk around, that is, either a sagging or upright posture. Some of us stand and walk around in a sagging and slumping form with our back vertebra bone curved into a bow. This posture gives us an appearance of a protruding tummy because our abdominal muscles will slump downward towards our pelvis. I recommend that we always stand and walk upright, when we do this, we pull our upper body upwards, stretching the abdominal muscle into a flat and straight position at the same time straightening out back vertebral bone which is healthy way of avoiding hunch back in old age.

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