How to lose belly fat: Six tips to shift weight by reducing stress levels

Visceral fat is a health hazard. It’s linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and high cholesterol. What’s a good way to get rid of it?

In light of various studies, one way to reduce visceral fat levels is to minimise stress in your life.

Researchers from the University of San Francisco examined whether chronic stress could predict changes in visceral fat levels.

The 18-month observational study looked at 113 adult mothers and assessed their baseline stress and visceral fat levels.


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Visceral fat levels were measured using a ViScan AB-140.

The research team compared chronically stressed mothers – caring for a child with autism – and lower stressed mothers who had a “neurotypical” child.

Data revealed that chronically stressed mothers had greater visceral fat increases over 18 months compared to the lower stressed mothers.

The research team concluded: “High chronic stress may increase risk for visceral fat gain over time.”

Medical News Today reported that stress “plays a role in storing excess visceral fat”.

This is because a stressed person is swamped with the hormone cortisol.

The Society of Endocrinology explained that cortisol is made in the adrenal glands and released into the bloodstream.

Dietician Dina Aronson added: “Repeated elevation of cortisol can lead to weight gain.”

Although visceral fat is stored inside the body, the waistline can be revealing.

This is because some of the fat stores itself in the omentum – a flap of tissue under the muscles.

As visceral fat levels increase, the omentum becomes harder and thicker, adding inches to your waistline.

Harvard Medical School recommends using a tape measure to “keep tabs on visceral fat”.


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How to measure visceral fat

Measure the waistline at the same level as the navel.

Harvard Medical School regards a waist circumference of 35 inches or larger as a sign of excess visceral fat.

Best ways to minimise stress levels

The NHS lists how to reduce feelings of stress – thereby decreasing visceral fat levels.

First, be active. Exercise can help clear your mind, enabling you to deal with stress more effectively.

Second, take control of the problems in your life. Seek out solutions and implement them.

Third, connect with people who add to your happiness. Laughter is an excellent stress reliever.

Other stress-busting activities include making time for yourself to do what you enjoy, set new goals – such as learning a new language – and help others.

Take up volunteering roles or try to do someone a favour everyday.

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