Not all fats in your body are created equal. For example, most of the fat in the abdomen is called visceral, which is known as the “bad” type of fat. This is because it is found around vital internal organs, which can increase the risk of certain diseases.
Unfortunately, with age, the risk of having excess visceral fat increases. However, the good news is that with exercise and a healthy diet, you can begin to lose excess belly fat.
1. Avoid Excess Sugar
According to Morgin Clare, MS, RDN, author of Fit Healthy Momma, cutting out sugar (especially sugary drinks) or reducing your intake is one of the best ways to shed belly fat as you age. “Studies consistently show that excess sugar leads to unwanted fat, especially that stored in the abdomen,” she says.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition also found that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with an increase in abdominal fat in adults.
2. Track calories
Another piece of advice Claire gives to those who are trying to shed some belly fat as they get older is to keep track of your calories throughout the day. And while some people may be wary of this process, Claire says you may only need to do it for a while to get a good idea of what your body needs.
“Many people underestimate how much they actually eat, so I suggest tracking for at least a week so you can get a clear picture of your current calorie intake,” says Claire, “and it will make it easier to indicate meals and days when they are too high.” which contributes to the accumulation of excess fat.
3. Switch to whole grains
It may be time to cut out white bread and refined carbs if you’re trying to lose weight this year. According to Elizabeth Ward, MS, RDN, co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan, The Natural Guide to Hormones, Health and Happiness, “Eating whole grains instead of highly refined grains is associated with a lower risk of excess belly fat (visceral fat).”
And if you’re wondering where to start switching to whole grains, Ward suggests “whole grain bread, cereal, quinoa, whole grain pasta, or popcorn.”
4. Eat Most of Your Calories Before Dinner
Another habit that can contribute to an increase in belly fat often goes completely unnoticed by those who are trying to lose weight, namely: eating most of the calories in the evening hours.
“Your body processes food more easily early in the day because that’s when insulin is more effective. It’s the hormone that moves the glucose produced by digestion into your cells so they can use them for energy, Ward says, and as insulin gets more and more sluggish as the day goes on, more abundant. eating late in the day increases your chances of storing what you eat as belly fat.”