You’re sick of your scales and totally want to ditch your scales, right?
You might even have a strange kind of relationship with your ‘weight’ like most people.
We all know our weight doesn’t define us.
What you do weigh on the scale can matter, but only to an extent.
We do need to look at waist circumference too and we are going to do that today.
Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”):
You know how body shape is often describes as a fruit shape like an ‘apple’ or a ‘pear’ shape? The pear has a smaller waist and then is rounder around the hip/thigh area and the apple is kind of round around the middle (you know- belly fat-ish).
THAT is what we are talking about in this post today.
One of these shapes is associated with blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes), higher risk of sleep apnea and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases). Have a guess which shape it is?
Yep- you got it! The apple!
This isn’t because of the ‘pinchable’ under the skin fat that we often call a ‘muffin top’. The serious health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen that surrounds the liver, intestines and other vital organs in there.
This ‘un-pinchable’ internal fat is called “Visceral Fat” and it is where a lot of the problem actually is.
The reason this visceral fat is a serious health concern is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.
And importantly apple shaped people tend to have more of this visceral fat that pear shaped people do.
So now you can see why where your fat is stored is more important than how much you weigh.
Am I an apple or a pear?
The easiest way to figure out if you’re in the higher risk category or not is pretty simple, you just have to measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape. It’s so easy that you could do it right now!
For women if your waist is 90cm or 35” or more then you could be considered to have abdominal obesity and therefore be in the higher risk category. If you are pregnant then you are exempt from this.
It’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not.
For men the number is 102cm or 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 any concerns then you should definitely see your doctor.
Tips for helping reduce 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.
- Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).
- 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.
- Get active and move more. Get some aerobic exercise. Lift some weights. Walk and take the stairs. Every little bit counts.
- Get rid of added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).
- Stress less. For real! Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.
High fiber side dish recipe: Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussel Sprouts
450g brussel sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)
2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
pinch salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
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.