Juggling job and family responsibilities makes managing time a priority for working moms. Finding time for diet and exercise can be a struggle, but ignoring belly fat can lead to more weight gain and contribute to health problems. Pregnancy and c-sections, as well too many trips to the vending machine or drive through, contribute to accumulating belly fat. Busy moms can lose the weight with lifestyle adjustments and making health a priority.
About Belly Fat
Extra fat in the abdomen is a bigger concern than fat in the thighs or other parts of the body. Most fat is subcutaneous, and accumulates under the skin. Belly fat is visceral and accumulates around the organs in the abdomen. According to Mayo Clinic, visceral fat is more likely to produce substances that damage the heart and blood vessels, interfere with the body’s insulin use and increase risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and some cancers.
Diet is the first place moms look to when tackling fat. Munching on carrot sticks and celery isn’t the only way to lose weight. Making small changes and making them a habit can improve health and lead to long-lasting weight loss. Studies show that a diet high in fiber leads to less accumulation of visceral fat, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Institute of Medicine recommends women take 25 grams of fiber a day. Switching to a high-fiber bread for your lunchtime sandwich and eating an apple can fulfill more than half those requirements.
Doing more sit ups will not reduce belly fat, but regular jogs around the neighborhood can. People who use diet alone to control their weight are more prone to accumulating belly fat, according to WebMD. Aerobic activity is the most effective way to shed visceral fat. Walk briskly, jog or attend a dance class for 30 minutes four times a week to optimize the benefits of exercise. Some moms find it most convenient to set their alarms early and get their exercise in while the family is still snoozing. Others stop at the gym on the way home from work. Start a family tradition to have a family walk or bike ride after dinner, creating a healthy habit for everyone.
Sleep is restorative to the mind and the body. Having adequate sleep helps busy moms cope with stress and make wise choices during the day. Don’t worry if you aren’t getting eight hours a night. According to WebMD, six or seven is ideal for tackling visceral fat. Study participants who slept five hours or less or eight hours or more a night gained more belly fat than those who slept six or seven hours a night, says WebMD.