We store two types of fatty mass: that located in the deepest part of the skin (subcutaneous fat) and that known as visceral. The latter is located in the abdomen, under the muscles of the abdominal wall; between our organs (intestinal, liver, stomach) or on the walls of our arteries. “Visceral fat can generate dysfunctions in our organs and in particular the liver, which can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. This type of fat is also much more mobile than subcutaneous fat. : it circulates more in the blood, thus increasing the level of blood triglycerides and cholesterol”, underlines the dietician Nathalie Négro. Until menopause, women are relatively protected from these risks thanks to estrogen.
These hormones secreted by the ovary, ensure the formation, maintenance and functioning of the genitals and breasts in women. But after menopause, the drop in estrogen levels favors the visceral localization of fat mass. This contributes to increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease in women.
Abdominal storage: multiple factors
In addition, if men naturally store fat in the abdominal area, women accumulate it more in the thighs and buttocks. This trend is reversed from the forties, especially when the woman approaches the menopause: the hormonal changes that take place during this period of life promote the storage of fat in the abdomen. In addition to menopause, other phenomena contribute to the fact that fat lodges, preferably, in the abdominal cavity. “Stress induces increased production of a hormone called cortisol. The latter promotes the accumulation of fat in the abdomen. In addition, menopause is sometimes accompanied by side effects that can be difficult to live with (mood swings, hot flashes, etc.).
It also coincides with a period of life that can be difficult: departure of children, retirement, or death of a parent…
It is therefore not uncommon to feel a certain discomfort and stress during menopause. This promotes, again, the accumulation of visceral fat, ”says Nathalie Négro. In some women, the curves in the belly are present early, well before menopause. Heredity partly explains this phenomenon. “Furthermore, female smokers store more abdominal fat than others,” says Nathalie Négro, because nicotine disrupts the production of estrogen in the body.
Limit fructose intake
Visceral fat is invisible. Nevertheless, the total amount of abdominal fat can be assessed through CT scans or MRIs. To limit its accumulation, some common sense advice is needed.
First of all, quality sleep is essential. “Lack of sleep causes stress and therefore, an increased production of cortisol”, confirms Nathalie Négro. From a nutritional point of view, a nutrient is well known to promote the storage of abdominal fat. This is particularly the case of fructose. “This common sugar in our diet is naturally present in fresh fruits and dried fruits. It is found in the food industry, for example in agave or maple syrups, in honey or in the form of glucose-fructose syrup in most processed products with added sugar: candies, cookies, surimi , sodas, ice creams, fruit yoghurts… Excess fructose is harmful to health. Fruit consumption should be limited to two or three servings a day. It is also necessary to avoid, as far as possible, processed products and sweeteners rich in fructose”, indicates Nathalie Négro.
Rebalance the plate
To avoid seeing your waistline thicken, you obviously have to be vigilant about weight gain. A few general tips help limit the accumulation of excess pounds. “For each meal, you have to make sure that the plate contains all the families of foods: proteins (meat/fish/eggs, etc.), vegetables and starchy foods. However, you should always provide twice as many vegetables as starchy foods because the fibers they contain slow down digestion and guarantee good satiety from one meal to another. This avoids nibbling, ”says Nathalie Négro.
Moreover, skipping a meal even if you are hungry is not a good idea. Because the body catches up with the next meal by stimulating the appetite and stores more fat than necessary. “Nevertheless, when you’re not hungry, you can avoid a meal altogether, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. The most important thing is to listen to your food sensations, that is to say, the internal signals of hunger and satiation”, notes Nathalie Négro.
Avoid dietary mistakes
Dairy products, on the other hand, are protective in relation to fat gain, in particular because they contain calcium. “Contrary to popular belief, you should not consume skimmed milk when you want to lose weight or slim down your waistline. Semi-skimmed milk is necessary because it contains healthy fats with anti-inflammatory properties. Similarly, dairy products (yogurts, white cheeses, skyr, etc.) with 0% fat do not protect against weight gain. They should therefore not be abused on the pretext that they do not contain fat. Because they remain caloric, “warns Nathalie Négro.
The challenges of “bodycontouring”
Despite good hygiene and dietary rules, abdominal fat can resist. This is where technology comes into play with the development in recent years of energy-based devices capable of literally melting fat effortlessly by causing adipocyte lysis. Adipocyte lysis consists of eliminating fat cells or adipocytes, by inflicting such stress on them that this results in the phenomenon of apoptosis or self-destruction of these cells. Much less invasive than liposuction, we have seen the appearance of cryolipolysis or the application of intense cold with Coolsculpting (Allergan) or, conversely, heat provided by hyperthermic laser with SculpSure (Cynosure). Wave microwaves or Coolwaves (Deka) and lately high frequency focused electromagnetic waves with Emsculpt (BTL) have enriched the offer of fat treatments.
All these devices therefore allow body remodeling, or bodycontouring without scars or surgery, but be careful, with very specific indications and of course in a doctor’s office.
Dried fruits and nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, etc.) contain a lot of fibre. They are interesting in case of small hunger, as part of a snack. “But again, you shouldn’t consume them excessively because they contain a lot of fat. The recommended portion is 20 to 30 grams per day (5 almonds for example). It has to fit in the palm of your hand, ”says Nathalie Négro. In the evening, alcohol and too fatty foods should be avoided. In addition to the risk of abdominal fat accumulation in the long term, they lengthen the duration of digestion and thus weaken sleep. Finally, do not forget to practice regular physical activity. No need to do a marathon: walking (even 10 minutes a day) helps to slim the waist!
Benefits of cures
The use of hydrotherapy can be interesting. Some resorts have, in fact, cures specialized in the care of people who are overweight or in a situation of obesity. These cures are also of interest when you have a targeted objective: to refine your waistline, for example the first benefit of a cure is to take time for yourself, to better understand your eating behavior but also your lifestyle. in general. A cure covered by Social Security lasts, in fact, 3 weeks, which allows a real break. Multidisciplinary teams (spa doctors, dieticians, sports coaches, etc.) offer patients taking the therapy therapeutic patient education sessions validated by the Regional Health Agency (ARS) to enable changes in lifestyle over the long term. The objective is that the patient can become independent and continue to adopt a healthy lifestyle when returning home. “Thermal water can also provide digestive well-being; that of the resort of Brides-les-Bains acts on the liver.
It also improves digestion and transit.
Associated with the care and the rebalancing of the food, that makes it possible to reduce bloating and to improve the transit and thus, to feel lighter on the level of the belly”, summarizes Nathalie Négro.
Dr Benjamin Cozanet, medical specialist in aesthetic medicine.
What are the most effective technologies to get rid of abdominal fat?
Technologies such as cryolipolysis, radio frequency, ultrasound… are effective against subcutaneous abdominal fat.
But the Emsculpt Neo technology is the only device in the world today that can also target visceral fat. Indeed, high-intensity focused electromagnetic waves (HIFEM) can trigger more than 20,000 supra-maximal contractions, that is to say 100% of muscle capacity in one session. A protocol of 4 to 6 sessions therefore makes it possible to obtain the results of very intense physical activity which are the solution to destocking it.
What are the advantages of HIFEM compared to other lipolysis technologies?
HIFEMs have the advantage of burning 30% fat mass but also allow you to develop 25% more muscle mass.
When the phenomenon of apoptosis is definitive, the body is refined, but also toned and sculpted. Emsculpt Neo technology is also the only body contouring device to have no Body Mass Index (BMI) limit.
Does the combination of HIFEM and radio-frequency (RF) technologies offer a real efficiency gain?
The association of HIFEM and RF technologies of the Emsculpt Neo makes it possible to treat a set of indications with a single technology. Indeed, in addition to the supramaximal contractions caused by the HIFEM, the RF will selectively heat the treatment areas. This allows for much greater muscle gain. But the heat will also have an action on the localized fat and will also make it possible to tighten the skin.
What are the best indications?
All people, regardless of their BMI and who want to lose fat, slim down, redefine their silhouette and tone their body.
We can treat all types of patients: from the sportsman who wants to shape or regain control, to the slightly overweight person who wants to reshape and even the obese patient who wants to start losing a significant level of fat.