What you weigh can matter, but only to a certain extent…
It certainly doesn’t define who you are as a person but if you’ve had a ‘funny’ relationship with the scales so far, you may feel that giving them up is like waving goodbye to an old friend and you may feel the need to continue using them.. here’s why you should ditch the bathroom scales once and for all and concentrate on waist circumference instead.
Waist Circumference (“Belly Fat”):
Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions?
An “apple” or a “pear”?
The apple is round around the middle (belly fat-ish/beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs.
That’s what we’re talking about here.
Did you know that the apple 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).
It’s not because of the subcutaneous fat (under the skin). The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs.
This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is. It’s the “un-pinchable” fat that we need to be concerned about.
The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.
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.
Here are a few tips for helping reduce some belly fat:
- Eat more fiber. Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways. It helps you feel full aswell as helping 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.
- 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).
We will be exploring this more in my 12 week Total Body Brilliance Program.