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Why Your Waist Circumference Matters!

March 22, 2017

 

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.

 

To be honest, I have totally ditched my scale-never get on it.  I'm not suggesting you do the same, its just for me, I don't ever let that number on the scale get into my head and then obsess over it.  But what I do know is that if my pants start getting tight, I better start doing something about it.  And also what  I do know is that my waist circumference is really what matters most.

 

What doctors and other health professionals now know is that waist size is a very strong indicator of our overall health! 

 

So lets talk about waist circumference.

 

Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”):

 

Do you remember those 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)?

 

Yep – 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 where your fat is stored is more important that how much you weigh.

 

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.

 

Measuring your waist is very simple. Place the measuring tape around your waist about one inch above your belly button, this is where your natural waist is. Remember, being healthy doesn't necessarily mean being skinny!! It means being at the optimal weight and having the right waist size for your personal body type,. 

 

Women, if your waist is 35” or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category, especially for diabetes. One study showed that for women, each 2-inch increase in waist circumference was associated with close to a 13% increase in mortality and even higher in men!  (Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course.)

 

For men the number is 40” and are 12 times more likely to develop diabetes.

 

Research shows that waist size is one of the most controllable risk factors of heart attacks!

 

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.

 

Here are 6 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).

 

Not only are the above tips to help you reduce belly fat, but also all of these tips are something we should all try to incorporate into our daily living. It will help us be healthy from the inside out!  

 

If you need help, please feel free to contact me!

 

 

 

Here's a great yummy recipe for you to try (High fiber side dish).

 

Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussel Sprouts

 

Serves 4

 

1 lb brussel sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)

2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

dash salt and pepper

 

Preheat oven to 400F. 

 

In a bowl toss sprouts with garlic, oil, and lemon juice.  Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.

 

Bake for about 15 minutes.  Toss.

 

Bake for another 10 minutes.

 

Serve and Enjoy!

 

Tip:  Brussel sprouts contain the fat-soluble bone-loving vitamin K.  You may want to eat them more often.

 

References:

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-abdominal-fat-and-risk

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/visceral-fat-location

 

http://www.drsharma.ca/inspiring-my-interest-in-visceral-fat

 

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-definition/abdominal-obesity/

 

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/weights-poids/guide-ld-adult/qa-qr-pub-eng.php#a4

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/6-proven-ways-to-lose-belly-fat/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-tips-to-lose-belly-fat/

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