Can It Be Too Easy To Think (Or Worry) About Your Weight?
Yes, it probably can, but you know what? There is something else that may be more important when it comes to real health. That is your waist circumference.
Ahh, just a minute! It’s not just about the “pinchable” fat under the skin (you know, that “muffin top”), it’s about the internal fat around your abdominal organs that can be the real issue.
That internal fat (AKA “visceral fat”) is known to release a bunch of hormones and inflammatory compounds that can mess with your blood sugar, blood fats (i.e triglycerides), blood pressure, and disturb your metabolism as well.
In today’s post, yes it may seem like I am coming across as a tough health coach, personal trainer, or your other health care professional, but I care about your health and that is why taking this topic on head-on. I’ll describe how to measure your waist circumference (and give you a quick reference chart) and then give you a bunch of actionable tips to help you reduce it. And (of course) there’s a super-nutritious recipe for you on Thursday.
Why Your Waist Circumference Matters 100x More Than What You Weigh
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, blood pressure, and disrupt your metabolism (the stuff being addressed in the previous blog posts).
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. Here is your quick reference chart, in the following image.
Women, if your waist is 35” (88cm) 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” (102 cm).
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 and start a healthier lifestyle too 🙂
Some Tips For Helping Reduce Some Belly Fat
● 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.
● 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.
● Nix added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).
● Move more. Get some aerobic exercise. Lift some weights. Walk and take the stairs. It all adds up.
● Stress less. Seriously! Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.
● Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).
Pick 1 to 2 tips listed above and start doing it. Please share with others who you are concerned about. Follow www.theotherpainclinic.com to learn about Thursday’s recipe.