Do you hate looking in the mirror thanks to your recently formed belly fat? You are not alone many women and men in their middle age have the same problem so there is some comfort that you are not in that boat alone. However, I know I would rather be in the skinny belly boat.
Let’s get real here. Who likes getting on the scales?
I certainly would rather be tossed into a pit of snakes with a mouse tucked into my pants than look at the number on those scales.
Letting go of that number is one of the most liberating things you can do for yourself.
What you weigh only matters a little bit in the grand scheme of things.
Let’s look at your waist circumference (well…you look at yours and I’ll look at mine).
Waist Circumference AKA Belly Fat
Remember the fruity body shape descriptions? If you are round in the middle you are an “apple” or if you have large thighs and bottom but are smaller on top you are a “pear”. Heavens to mercy why does it have to be a food analogy?
Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues such as insulin resistance and diabetes or heart issues such as high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases?
My favourite – the 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 in that area.
This internal fat is called “visceral fat”. The dangers of visceral fat are very real and should be taken seriously. It is this fat that disrupts hormonal communication within a number of vital organs.
Visceral fat releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.
Unfortunately, apple-shaped people tend to hold a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.
So where you store your fat is far more important than 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. Of course, if you are pregnant you are exempt from this measurement.
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.
Tips for reducing that belly fat:
- Eat more fibre. Fibre can help reduce belly fat in a few ways. It will help you feel full and also helps to reduce the number of calories you absorb from your food. High-fibre foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less “energy-dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food. Some examples of high-fibre foods are Brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.
- Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces cravings, and increases metabolism (it has a higher TEF than fats and carbs) and helps you feel fuller longer and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.
- Definitely NO added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks and that includes fruit juice which is loaded with sugar and lacks fibre.
- Move, move and move some more. Get some aerobic exercise. Lift some weights. Walk and take the stairs. It all adds up.
- Stress less. Seriously! Elevated levels of 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)
- Avoid trans fat, that most evil of all fats that are found in some kinds of margarine and spreads. It has been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance and abdominal fat. Check the label before buying.
- High alcohol consumption has been shown to significantly increase the risk of fat around your middle.
- Eat fatty fish like salmon, they are good protein source and there is some evidence to suggest omega-3 fats may help reduce visceral fat.
Recipe (High fibre side dish):
Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 1 lb Brussels 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.