Many people as they get older see an increase in belly fat. You might have noticed a change in your loved one’s figure over the years with his body storing more of its fat in his belly area. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat can be harmful to the health of your loved one. Fat in this area can be an indicator of an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, and even dementia in elderly individuals.
To help your loved one get back onto the path of wellness, he’ll need to be willing to make some lifestyle changes to help him reduce his belly fat and improve his health. Sometimes having an accountability partner like a family member or senior care provider can help him stay on track when the changes seem daunting or when old habits want to sneak back into his life.
Make Diet Adjustments
While your loved one will want to look at his overall consumption of daily calories there are also certain types of food your loved one will want to look at reducing or eliminating to help him reduce his belly fat (and overall fat).
Too much sugar in a diet is one of the main causes of belly fat. Sugar that is not used immediately for energy is stored as fat and that often ends up in the belly. While your loved one may easily think of eliminating foods like doughnuts, candy bars, and sugary cereals, there are hidden sugars out there that need to be reduced as well. Have your senior care provider help your loved one look at nutrition labels to see if any high hidden sugar levels are entering his diet.
Too much processed food can lead to belly fat. Foods like frozen meals, fast food, and sugary soda all add to belly fat. Help your loved one add fresh meats, vegetables, and whole grains to his diet to reduce the amount of processed foods.
There’s a specific type of exercise to reduce belly fat, but the more your loved one can do aerobic exercise that gets his heart beating, the better the exercise will work at reducing fat. More exercise needs to go hand-in-hand with a new eating habit. Look for low-impact workouts for your loved one like swimming or using a stationary cycle if he has problems with his joints. Having someone hold him accountable, like his senior care provider, is another great way to keep him motivated.
Stress can add to belly fat. Stress creates belly fat by increasing the body’s cortisol levels, disrupting sleep, and lowering a person’s metabolic rate. Your loved one can try yoga or listen to calming music or possibly even see a therapist to help him reduce the stress in his life and the negative effects it has on his body.
It took a while to get the belly fat so it’ll take a while to reduce it. Give your loved one lots of encouragement along the way to help him reach a healthier weight.