When boys get out of their teens, the dreaded Dad Bod looms closer to them. Some welcome the change, while others are keen on preventing it, hitting the gym every day. But the Dad Bod has earned fame over the years. Women started to love it, making men prouder of their growing bellies.
Still, no one could deny that a potbelly poses health risks. Doctors don’t promote it, and are in fact worried about the hype it’s getting. Sure, weight doesn’t automatically indicate one’s health, but we all know that a high percentage of body fat — plus being physically inactive — can set you up for disease.
Doctors don’t intend to body-shame. They only want to educate. But it would be hard to encourage men to lose their belly fat if they don’t understand the science behind it. That said, here’s the truth about the Dad Bod, how you can prevent or trim it down:
Men tend to accumulate fat around their middle, and it’s not “ordinary” fat, which you’d find under your skin. Abdominal fat is often visceral fat, or fat that wraps around your organs. The fat under your skin is called subcutaneous fat, and you can shed it off through exercise.
However, despite the growing abundance of belly fat among men, they are actually the “thinner” sex. Generally speaking, women have 25% body fat, while men only have 15%. That’s because men have a leaner muscle mass, which allows them to burn fat faster. But visceral fat is another story. Though it can be burned by exercise, a bigger lifestyle change is more effective at getting rid of it. Visceral fat comes with a number of health risks. And men aren’t the only ones facing them. Women can develop visceral fat around their organs too, but since it’s greater among men, they face the worse threat.
Visceral fat produces hormones and inflammatory substances. Over time, those hormones can promote long-term inflammation and increase your risk for chronic disease. If it causes heart disease, it means plaque has formed inside your arteries, blocking the blood flow and affecting the heart.
The liver can also be in danger. If free fatty acids travel to the liver, you may develop insulin resistance, potentially leading to type 2 diabetes.
Worry not, though, because not all men with Dad Bods will meet such fates. Many diseases are hereditary. If you don’t have a family history of chronic illness, your chances of developing one are often lower. Still, that’s not an excuse to neglect your visceral fat. While you don’t need six-pack abs to be healthy, try to trim the belly fat down to the point where the roundness disappears. And speaking of trimming down, men lose weight faster than women. Again, this is due to your leaner muscle mass.
Getting Rid of Visceral and Subcutaneous Fat Healthily
Extreme diets and exercise aren’t necessarily to burn down belly fat. Little changes to your routines are often healthier and more manageable. Try these methods:
Cut Down Alcohol
Alcohol is one of the most common causes of belly fat. Social drinking is a culture in many countries, contributing to the rise of belly fat most especially in men. Hence, it may be hard to quit alcohol. If you’re really committed to losing the Dad Bod, reduce your alcohol intake each time you attend drinking parties. It’ll become a habit eventually.
Stress releases cortisol, a hormone that impacts your metabolism. It also drives you to overeat, drink, or smoke. So unwind now and then to avoid increasing your stress levels. Do something that relaxes your mind and body. This can put you in the mood to eat healthier.
Reduce Carbohydrate Intake
Refined carbs is another culprit for the development of visceral fat. Cut back on white rice, white bread, pastries and bagels, pizza dough, and the like. If you need your carb fix every day, stick to whole grains like oats or brown rice. Consider the ketogenic diet as well, in which you’d increase your protein and healthy fat intake while reducing your carb intake.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you exercise or how much you’ve changed your diet, the fat just won’t go away. Subcutaneous fat in the lower belly is one of the most stubborn. If it bothers you, consider an effective fat loss procedure, like liposuction. It’ll help you gain confidence in your body in just a few days. Liposuction can be done without surgery, allowing you to flaunt your new flat belly without the swelling and bruises involved. It may also tighten your skin, making your body look younger.
While a little weight around your middle shouldn’t make you feel less worthy, you should still be concerned about its health implications. Your body might be trendy, but it shouldn’t promote bad habits.