Take a look at stories posted online about ways to lose those love handles and muffin tops that resist diet and exercise. Not one of the people featured looks a day past 25. The fact that they’re rock-ribbed and svelte just rubs salt in the wound.
The truth is, it’s men and women in their 40s and 50s who could really use some secret tips about burning that belly fat. It’s the guys with “dad bods” and moms with stubborn saddlebags who wage a never-ending battle to get flatter stomachs and contoured waists.
Yes, aging makes it tougher to burn fat. We could once rely on our relentless metabolism keep us trim, but that calorie-burning engine gradually slows down once we enter our 30s. So if you’ve already got a gym membership and steadfastly refuse to eat ice cream, why aren’t those bulges less, well, bulging?
Maybe it’s time to try changing things up a bit. Here are some fat-fighting trends that, besides being popular, actually appear to work.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Exercise, whether it’s walking the dog or logging miles on a treadmill, is a good habit. But not all exercise burns fat. Numerous studies show that the best way to reduce the kind of fat that is frustratingly stubborn is to push your heart rate through short, but intense, interval training sessions. It’s a good idea to ease gradually into this kind of intense training.
Also called Bikram Yoga, classes generally run about 90 minutes in rooms that are heated to about 105 degrees. The warm conditions promote better flexibility and help release toxins within the body. A 160-pound person who participates in an hour-long hot yoga session can expect to burn roughly 477 calories, according to HealthStatus.com, which uses algorithms developed by researchers at Emory University. By comparison, the same person would burn around 189 calories in a hatha, or regular yoga, class for the same duration.
The Keto Diet
Dieting is the go-to solution for most people who want to lose weight. But most diets aren’t sustainable and can’t target specific areas of the body. The low-carb, high-protein keto diet is increasingly popular and represents a fundamental shift in eating habits. Because of that, the diet not only results in weight loss but changes the way your body functions by using fat for fuel.
To truly target specific areas of the body for fat reduction, many people turn to liposuction, the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure performed on both men and women. Liposuction removes subcutaneous fat, which is stored directly underneath the skin. It’s what you grab when you “pinch an inch” and is the stubborn fat that causes the unwanted bulges and rolls. Visceral fat is found much deeper in the body, behind muscle and the subcutaneous fat. This type of fat is stored around the abdominal organs and can only be reduced through diet and exercise. Liposuction actually removes fat cells, unlike what occurs when you lose weight by dieting, which shrinks fat cells.
It’s a good idea to be in good health before getting liposuction, but you don’t necessarily need to lose weight first.
“It is a misconception to think that you must lose weight before having liposuction,” says the website of the Cosmetic Surgery Institute, where Dr. Mo Zakhireh performs liposuction for patients throughout the Palm Springs area. “Our surgeons find that after liposuction, the body’s metabolism sky rockets for the next 6 months and our patients actually lose more weight and tone up after liposuction.”
Ultimately, exercise and eating a healthy diet are still the keys to keeping trim. In fact, studies confirm that maintaining an exercise program after getting liposuction will enhance the results. Liposuction is a body contouring procedure that should be reserved for those stubborn spots that just won’t budge no matter how much you exercise. And for men and women over 40, it may be the perfect option for getting the bodies they want.
This article was produced in collaboration with the Cosmetic Surgery Institute of Palm Desert.