You totally want to ditch your scale, don’t you? You may have this weird kind of relationship with your “weight”. I mean, it doesn’t define you (obviously). What you weigh can matter but only to a certain extent. Let’s look at your waist circumference (well…you look at yours and I’ll look at mine).
Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”):
Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”? The apple is kinda round around the middle (you know – belly fat-ish, kinda beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs.
THAT is what we’re talking about here.
Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases).
Yup – that apple!
And it’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”. The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there.
This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is. It’s this “un-pinchable” fat.
The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.
And the apple-shaped people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do. So as you can see where your fat is stored is more important that how much you weigh.
Am I an apple or a pear?
It’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not. The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape. You can do it right now.
Women, if your waist is 35” or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category. Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course.
For men the number is 40”.
Of course this isn’t a diagnostic tool. There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases. Waist circumference is just one of them. If you have concerns definitely see your doctor.
You may have heard of the term metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Having just one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome.
However, any of these conditions increase your risk of serious disease. Having more than one of these might increase your risk even more.
Most of the disorders associated with metabolic syndrome have no symptoms, although a large waist circumference is a visible sign. If your blood sugar is very high, you might have signs and symptoms of diabetes — including increased thirst and urination, fatigue, and blurred vision.
If you know you have at least one component of metabolic syndrome, ask your doctor whether you need testing for other components of the syndrome.
Here’s some tips which will help reduce belly fat:
1. Eat more fiber. Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways. First of all it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food. Some examples of high-fiber foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.
Here’s a NEW recipe you can try
2. Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer. It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.
3. Nix added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).
4. Move more. Get some aerobic exercise. Lift some weights. Walk and take the stairs. It all adds up.
5. Stress less. Seriously! Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.
6. Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).
Funny how all of these things will also support your health in so many other ways besides your waist circumference. And staying fit and functional as we age is what it’s all about right?
My suggestion? Pick one thing on this list that you could improve upon. And once this one becomes part of your routine, add another. Here’s an example:
Maybe you already exercise but how about trying something new. When was the last time you went to a yoga class for instance. Double bonus here- decreased stress and exercise 🙂
My point is not to overwhelm yourself and try to do too much all at once- that can just lead to more stress because really, tackling this whole list is not going to be realistic.
Creating new habits take time- especially if you want them to last.
Enjoy the journey, that’s why you’re here.
And if you’d like some guidance with what to eat and how to workout for a leaner, stronger you, check out my 30 Day Slim & Sculpt Program. The program comes with a variety of workouts, and 3 weeks worth of balanced meal plans that are simple and easy to follow. If you have any questions, I am always available for support.
You’ll be amazed at the difference 30 days can make!