You may have heard of the phrase ‘skinny fat’ but never really understood what this means! Well, it refers to having too much visceral fat which can be just as bad for your health as having too much belly fat! Unfortunately, you can’t ‘see’ visceral fat, but there are several ways you can reduce it.

What is Visceral Fat?

Visceral fat is a type of fat that’s stored within the abdominal cavity. Unlike the fat that’s stored just under our skin and is more noticeable, such as belly fat, visceral fat is stored much deeper and is not easily seen.

This can be dangerous because it’s not obvious to spot, and you can, for example have a completely flat stomach, but still have a high level of visceral fat.

Visceral fat can be found wrapped around your major organs like the pancreas, liver and kidneys. It’s normal to have some visceral fat, but too much of it can be dangerous and lead to health problems in the future.

Here, your most common questions about visceral fat are answered.

How Do I Get Visceral Fat?

As with normal fat, visceral fat levels can increase due to lack of exercise, excessive alcohol and a poor diet. Smoking can be a contributory factor too, along with stress.

What are the Dangers of Having Too Much Visceral Fat?

Too much visceral fat can increase the risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.

It’s also likely to lead to higher blood pressure too, which in itself can be dangerous and lead to a higher risk of developing one of the above conditions.

How Do I Get Rid of Visceral Fat?

There are lots of things you can do to help prevent visceral fat from building up and to remove any excess that you may already have. 

1. Take Regular Exercise
This is one of the best things you can do. Try to do some form of cardio exercise for at least 30 minutes per day and add in some strength exercises at least a couple of times a week too. Getting your heart pumping and building your muscles up will help to burn fat quicker. 

2. Eat a Balanced Diet
There’s no need to go on a crash diet, partly because they do more harm than good. Just ensure that you eat a balanced, nutritious diet and try to cut back on some of the foods which aren’t good for you. Instead, substitute them with healthier alternatives.

Deep fried and high sugar foods are particularly bad for increasing visceral fat. Instead, aim to eat more fruit, vegetables and lean protein such as skinless chicken and white-fleshed fish. 

3. Reduce Your Stress
When you’re stressed your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which increases the amount of visceral fat that’s stored. Also, being stressed can mean turning to bad habits, such as comfort foods and alcohol.

Try and reduce your stress levels with meditation, yoga, deep breathing and of course, exercise. 

4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep Regularly
A good night’s sleep can play a big part in reducing your visceral fat, as it can lower blood pressure and reduce stress.

One of the best things you can do to get a good night’s sleep is to avoid checking your phone just before bedtime and to keep it out of reach during the night. Half an hour before you go to bed, switch the TV off and read a book or magazine instead. A warm bath and a hot caffeine-free drink can also help.

5. Cut Back on Alcohol Consumption
Drinking lots of alcohol can increase your blood pressure and cause your liver to become fatty. If you drink alcohol regularly then try to cut back on your intake, as any reduction, however small, will help. If you do cut back, make sure you don’t undo all the good by binge drinking when you do take alcohol!

6. Quit Smoking
There are numerous benefits to giving up smoking, and reducing visceral fat is just one of them. As with drinking alcohol, excessive smoking can lead to a fatty liver so if you smoke regularly then try to quit or at least cut down.

How to Measure Visceral Fat

Because it’s so deep in our bodies and not obvious from the outside, an MRI scan is the most accurate way to measure visceral fat.

This isn’t something that’s cheap or readily available though, so if you’re looking to get an idea of your visceral fat levels at home, there are a handful of ways you can get a rough idea.

  • Measure Your Waist

Excess belly fat is usually a good indicator of excess visceral fat. There’s no set rule, but generally if a man’s waist is 40 inches or more, and a woman’s waist is 35 inches or more then it’s a sign of visceral fat.

  • Check Your BMI

While not the best method, your BMI will help to give some indication of visceral fat. It’s not a full-proof method of determining visceral fat, but it can play a part.

  • Measure Your Hip to Waist Ratio

This test shouldn’t be used in isolation, but it’s another potential indicator you can use. It involves dividing your waist size by your hip size. As with a BMI, the higher the number, the more likely you are to have excess visceral fat.

The Fitness Room Honeybourne offers a friendly, safe gym environment, personal training, meal plans and support to help you on your fitness journey. 

Call us on 07540 060269 for a free consultation and to find out more about how exercise can help improve your mental health. 

The Fitness Room Honeybourne offers a friendly, safe gym environment, personal training, meal plans and support to help you on your fitness journey. 

Call us on 07540 060269 for a free consultation and to find out more about how we can help you adopt a healthier lifestyle and reach your fitness goals.