Whats this beer belly?
November 3, 2006 10:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm a 25 yr old man. Why do I have a belly? How to get rid?

Since I finished university 2 years ago I've been behind a desk 9-5. I've snacked a lot, got little regular exercise and I like a few beers. I'm 6ft, 13.5 stone (189 pounds). I should be at most, 12.

I am aware there is a little excess fat, but its not too bad if I tense my stomach muscles. Is this just a case of sit-ups? If i don't tense at all it practically looks like I'm pregnant! Not a good look. Is this normal? I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this, and any general tips to stop it.

Oh and further to this, I just took a job which will involve a 90 min drive to and from work everyday.
posted by tomw to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Nope. It's probably that you DID do situps. That paunch is called 'Liquid Grain Storage' or a 'Milwaukie Blister' ... it usually appears when you ingest a lot of excess calories and carbohydrates, i.e. in the form of Milwaukie's Best.

More cardio exercise, my good man. Burn those calories. Go run for two miles, or bike on a stationary or mobile bike for 30 minutes per day... and depending on your metabolism, you should start to see it wear away in about a month.

Don't do situps, though, because when you stop doing them again ... fwoomp, you're 6 months along overnight.
posted by SpecialK at 10:11 AM on November 3, 2006

(I've been working 80 hrs week on a project... by the end of the summer, after running two miles and/or spending 30 minutes on a stationary bike with my heart rate up around 160-170, I had my blister burnt off. It's back with a vengeance now.)
posted by SpecialK at 10:12 AM on November 3, 2006

Since I finished university 2 years ago I've been behind a desk 9-5. I've snacked a lot, got little regular exercise and I like a few beers. I'm 6ft, 13.5 stone (189 pounds). I should be at most, 12.

I am aware there is a little excess fat,

Um, there is the answer to your question.

Go exercise and eat healthy. There are approximately fifteen billion AskMeFi questions on this topic. This is not a difficult thing to figure out.
posted by Anonymous at 10:13 AM on November 3, 2006

6' 189 lbs?! That's a tummy, not a belly. I know this isn't the answer (the answer is cardio), but I see that degree of tummage as attractive, on my man at least, and try to dissuade him from losing it. Just something to consider.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:25 AM on November 3, 2006

Get more exercise. Try & move around more at work, like go for a walk at lunchtime or at least walk down the street for lunch instead of driving.

Moving from a college lifestyle to a 9-5 desk job makes most people (except jerks with amazing metabolisms, but I will ignore their existence as they are freaks of nature :-p) gain weight. Desk jobs are fattening, so you have to work extra hard if you want to keep your college figure.

Or you can accept the belly and amuse small children by telling them you are the world's first pregnant man. You can then charge $5 to touch the belly, and become rich so that you will no longer have to work a desk job.
posted by tastybrains at 10:27 AM on November 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

I was pretty similar when I was your age - solved it by a) drinking a bit less in the week and b) swimming three times a week. Worked for me!
posted by prentiz at 10:28 AM on November 3, 2006

When I took a 9-5 office job, I gained twenty pounds within my first year. Taking it off was neither easy nor fun. Advice, in addition to the above:

--Drink less, or (more importantly, arguably) switch from drinking beer to drinking liquor. Not mixed drinks--neat or on the rocks.

--Do you eat at your desk? If so, don't.

--Eating is often primarily a social activity rather than a means of nourishment in an office environment. People are always bringing high-calorie foods in for (supremely depressing) "parties" of one kind or another--every time a co-worker has a birthday, here come the donuts. Attend the gathering but don't eat.

--If your co-workers notice a change in your eating habits while at work, they'll make jokes that, though well meant, will encourage you to resume your former habits--ignore the jokes.
posted by Prospero at 10:42 AM on November 3, 2006

Drink less beer and more water. If you must continue snacking, bring in healthy snacks.

Also, what tastybrains said.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 10:44 AM on November 3, 2006

Yup, like everyone else said, cardio. Crunches and situps, supposedly, will tighten up your ab muscles, but won't burn the fat that encases them. I've started riding my bike once or twice a week to work (a 12-mile ride that takes about 40 minutes) and have noticed some difference.

But it'd be easier if Ambrosia Voyeur would just talk to my wife...
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 11:13 AM on November 3, 2006

I have the same problem and I'm fifteen years older than you. The solution as everyone else says, is cardio. I restarted commuting by bike two months ago and am now up to between 17 and 25 miles a day depending on which route I take.

That works out to about an hour of cardio every weekday, since I generally drive one day.

Since I started I've dropped 12lbs and my resting heart rate has dropped about 20 bpm. My beer gut has shrunk considerably. I think I have lost more fat than that, but it has been replaced by heavier muscle in my legs.

I'd tried doing all the dietary changes but I found them almost impossible to stick to, whereas cardio -- at least biking -- is fun and I really miss it if I don't do it.

In terms of drinking I agree that switching from beer to spirits or wine is an easy fix. However you have to watch that you don't end up drinking more ("might as well finish the bottle") instead of less.
posted by unSane at 11:24 AM on November 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

I decided a few months ago I needed to lose some extra pounds and a small belly. The solution was simple and has worked:

1. Regular exercise
2. Being more "careful" about what I eat.

The first is important no matter what form it takes. Many people think they can skip it and try to go on crazy diet plans but regular exercise can mean also long walks in the morning or evening. Everything counts. I just started going to the gym a few times a week and walk my dog for several miles every evening. Not a big lifestyle change.

The second...what I mean by "careful" is dont eat junk food. Dont eat when you're not hungry - avoid eating food as "something to do" Choose stuff you know is healthier but you still like over stuff that is just dipped in fat because the cook didnt know what else to do. I drink wine over beer. I dont count calories. And when I do go out to eat at a nice place once every few weeks, I let myself have whatever I want - from foie gras to dessert. Its not about depriving yourself, its about being sensible.

In that sense, that part about taking a bit of responsibility for what you're eating is a bit of a lifestyle change.
posted by vacapinta at 11:38 AM on November 3, 2006

I believe the venerable Men's Health has a publication entitled "Banish Your Belly."
posted by mecran01 at 11:41 AM on November 3, 2006

It takes discipline. Give up the snacks. Walk 30 minutes a day. You will notice a great benefit to start with that. Of course more than 2 beers in one day has so many calories. I think you know what you have to do. As they say, "just do it." No tummy looks good on a man.
posted by JayRwv at 12:00 PM on November 3, 2006

Cardio. You want to burn more calories than you consume for a while, and then possibly settle down to an equal level once you hit your target size. You don't burn fat that's right next to a particular muscle group by exercising that area. You burn fat with cardiovascular exercise.
posted by mikeh at 12:13 PM on November 3, 2006

I am aware there is a little excess fat, but its not too bad if I tense my stomach muscles. Is this just a case of sit-ups? If i don't tense at all it practically looks like I'm pregnant! Not a good look.


Is this normal?


I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this,


and any general tips to stop it.

Exercise, and/or eat less. Drinking less is fucking depressing, so I'd suggest drink a glass of water when you'd normally snack, consistently have something small (a couple of sandwiches, say) for lunch, and default to something small for breakfast; coffee, toast, fake butter, strawberry jam works for me, though I don't quite have a six-pack.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 12:31 PM on November 3, 2006

As my Grandpappy used to say, " Whenever I get the urge to work out, I lie down on my couch and it goes away!"

I wouldn't this advice if you wish to live a healthy lifestyle.
posted by blister at 12:48 PM on November 3, 2006

should say:

I wouldn't follow this...
posted by blister at 12:49 PM on November 3, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Interesting stuff.

@schroedinger, thanks but it was particularly the pregnant look rather than the fat I was talking about. Thats what I'm saying, its not fat. Its the liquid thing SpecialK was talking of I think is the problem.
posted by tomw at 12:59 PM on November 3, 2006

Also - watch your posture. It's easy to slouch if you're sitting at a desk in front of a computer but slouching tends to make the pregnant look somewhat more pronounced.
posted by lumiere at 2:50 PM on November 3, 2006

You have a 90 minute drive to work. How many miles?

It may be possible, believe it or not, to commute on a bicycle. Can you do a train partway and a bike partway? Is the mileage relatively low, but there's tons of traffic (ideal for bicycling, but I'm assuming not)? Or, you could drive partway and bike the rest.

This works best if there's a shower at your work but is by no means impossible otherwise. I like bike commuting personally for a few reasons, and one of them is that it burns calories like crazy and I have to get to work anyway, so why not that way? Besides, once I'm at work I can't easily cop out of getting home.

Like other posters mentioned, though, to get rid of the gut you'll have to burn calories, this means more exercise than you're currently getting.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 3:24 PM on November 3, 2006

I will let you in on a little secret. Most men over 25 that appear trim are really wearing a girdle. By 50 they are wearing specially engineered pants that hold their bellies up and in. That is why old men wear their pants so high!

Each day you make a lot of choices, don't live on auto-pilot. Drink more water. Skip fried foods, cheese, mayo and that last beer. Take the stairs, park at the back of the lot. If you skip a few unnecessary bad foods here and there, increase activity a bit, you can have more beer.

Lower your personal standards and you can have as much beer as you want. It worked for me.
posted by SMELLSLIKEFUN at 3:39 PM on November 3, 2006

tomw, that liquid thing SpecialK mentioned, 'Liquid Grain Storage' is just a fancy way of saying beer belly. It really is just fat. Stomach fat is sometimes carried more internally whereas lovehandles and paunch elsewhere is usually right under the surface, so it feels different but the cause is the same. You get rid of it exactly the same way you get rid of other fat.
posted by hindmost at 6:48 PM on November 3, 2006

Make a commitment to yourself to NEVER allow yourself to get bloated by being too full. In fact, if you can hack it, never get 100% full. That "i could still eat" feeling has nothing to do with being undernourished -- if you've eaten a resonable portion, your body can cope. Especially if it's healthy food.

Feeling as if you're not stuffed (but wouldn't mind being so) is a good reminder to yourself of your continuing efforts to lose weight. It can also be a feeling of victory -- more food was available to you, but you conquered the urge to pig out.
posted by graytona at 8:32 PM on November 3, 2006

Not so fa(s)t, buster.
posted by rob511 at 8:38 PM on November 3, 2006

As a massage therapist and wellness consultant, I do a lot of advising in this area.

The weight around you belly is caused by stress - it is cortisol, a stress hormone, that diverts fat primarily to the abdomen.

Please, please, please, oh please, just check out these two doctors;

Author of the Perricone Weight Loss Diet
This sight has the cutting edge dope on how to overcome obstacles to weight loss. The doc understands that you have to eat to be healthy, and if you are healthy, your weight will normalize itself! The absense of B.S. in this diet is its most amazing feature.

Dr. Hyman is the author of Nutrigenomics - the science of how diet can throw certain genetic switches in your DNA makeup. Your DNA is not a static blueprint set down for all time at birth - your dna is as alive as you are. What you eat can influence which gene in a gene pairing is active - greatly reducing your risk for obesity, heart attack even cancer. This Doc is Harvard medical and he really knows his stuff.

The info you will find is too extensive to mention here, but it will show you how to reduce cortisol, improve insulin desensitivity, decrease systemic inflammation - responsible for poor metabolism, and create thermogenesis - the process by which the body burns fat in the cellular mitochondria and releases it as heat, instead of storing the fat in fat cells.

Please, if you have the time - take a look and tell me what you think.

Good luck!!!
posted by SalvoSensu at 11:03 PM on November 5, 2006

As a massage therapist and wellness consultant, I do a lot of advising in this area. The weight around you belly is caused by stress - it is cortisol, a stress hormone, that diverts fat primarily to the abdomen.

posted by unSane at 1:07 PM on November 6, 2006 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks. I'm going to increase cardio from barely anything to whatever I can manage...
posted by tomw at 12:17 PM on November 13, 2006

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