Fat that accumulates around the vital organs and around the mid- section is known as visceral fat. It’s the most harmful type of fat because it produces inflammation, which affects the rest of the body and leads to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. To reduce weight in this area, it’s important to go on a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains, and to reduce portion sizes and therefore caloric intake.
In addition to reducing caloric intake, to hasten the loss of visceral body fat, it’s also important to exercise — aerobically and with weights — five or more times per week for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Make sure you incorporate cardiovascular exercise with resistance training. This will help you build lean muscle and lose as much fat as possible. You might even consider enlisting the help of a trainer.
The good news: Most people tend to lose fat in the belly area first, then from other areas. Abdominal exercises will help tone your muscles but won’t help you preferentially lose fat from the belly area.
It is, however, important to know that genetics plays a role as well — those who are predisposed to gain and lose weight in certain places will continue to do so no matter what kind of diet and exercise program they are on, but again, the first place the weight usually comes off is in the abdominal area. Remember, the road to a healthy weight begins with that first step, so the best advice is to watch what you eat and get out there and start walking!