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Men's Top 5 Gut-Busting Diet Mistakes

What not to do for your belly's sake.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

You tell yourself you are putting in the work to slim down your midsection, but the mirror is telling you something entirely different.

There's your belly, hanging over your belt. What's that about?

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Before you lose the belt, remember that there's more at stake than looking buff. Excess belly fat can tag along with a laundry list of chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

There are plenty of reasons why your efforts to flatten your stomach may be falling flat -- including these mistakes about what, how, or when you eat.

Thinking You'll Work It Off

If you're eating and drinking more calories than you're burning, you're heading in the wrong direction. And though you may be confident that you can make up for it in the gym, think twice.

Exercise is not enough. This is something that Brett White, MD, a family medicine physician at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, often tells his patients who need to reduce the size of their midsection.

“There’s a mythology about the role of exercise in weight loss,” White says. “Even if they get a bike or a treadmill, they still have to change their diet. Exercise is critical for cardiovascular health. But realistically, losing weight starts with what we put in our mouths.”

San Francisco-based dietician Manuel Villacorta, RD, founder of the weight management web site eatingfree.com, sees many men in their 40s and older who have discovered the shortcomings of exercise in their weight loss efforts.

“It’s what worked before,” Villacorta says, “but now they are finding that it doesn’t have the same effect.”

Of course, you need to be active to lose weight and keep it off. Just don't count on exercise alone to cover your calories -- especially when you're packing away too much too often.

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