Belly fat is not only uncomfortable, it can be a serious health problem. “Abdominal fat is a big risk factor for stroke, heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and kidney disease, alone and in on top of other risk factors it leads to, connected to inflammation, obesity, and hormonal problems,” says Dr. Stacie Stephenson, also known as “The VibrantDoc,” a recognized doctor in functional medicine and the author of the book Vibrant: A Groundbreaking Program to Get Energized, Reverse your Aging, and Glow. So how do you know when it is time to shed belly fat? We talked to experts who went over how to know when to make good lifestyle changes.
1 — Bigger Waistline
If you have had to loosen your belt up, it might be time to go to the gym. Dr. Kristina Hendija said, “Check your ab circumference. Visceral fat usually accumulates in the ab area, leading to a larger waistline. Though this is normally not the first sign of a dangerous amount of visceral fat, it could be the most easily noticeable one.”
Dr. Stephenson adds, “If your waist is 35 inches or more for women or 40 inches or more for men, at the smallest area, usually right over your belly button (without you sucking it in), it is time to lose some fat.”
2 — Your Waist-to-Hip Ratio is Too Much
Dr. Stephenson says that, “Measuring your waist at the smallest place and your hips at the widest place, then divide your waist by your hip number. The number should be no more than .85 for females or .95 for males. Above this is an indicator of ab obesity, even if you are at your normal weight.”
3 — You Cannot Touch Your Toes
“You feel burdened or self-conscious by your belly. That alone is a good reason to make a change,” Dr. Stephenson says. “Also, if your belly pokes out but you cannot pinch much flab, that a sign because the fat is mostly under your muscle, where it causes even more problems. In addition, if your belly gets in your way when you bend over and attempt to touch your toes, making you out of breath, it is time to do something about it fast.”