What is belly fat, and why does it matter how much of itI have?
According to the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/belly-fat/WO00128), belly fat is "the extra layer of padding located just below the skin (subcutaneous fat)...[and the] visceral fat — which lies deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs." An excess of belly fat is dangerous because it can lead to a raise in blood pressure, a change in cholesterol levels, it can alter insulin resistance, and raise estrogen levels. All of these changes in your body have been linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and premature death.
So how much belly fat is too much? The Mayo Clinic states that a waist measuring 35 inches or more for women, and 40 inches or more for men, is dangerous. To measure your waist, follow these steps:
- Take a fabric tape and place it just above your hip bone.
- Pull it till it's tight, but not where it's pulled into your skin.
- Make sure the tape measure is level all the way around your waist.
- Exhale, relax, and measure.
I find it helpful to have someone I trust help me with this. If you are beginning a weight-loss program be sure and write this number down. You will want it for future reference, as it will help encourage you on your journey. I never trust the number on the bathroom scale, but the measurements I take. Weight loss is measured more accurately by the inches you lose, not the numbers on the scale.
Ok, so I've taken my measurements and found that I'm in that danger zone, or I'm uncomfortably close to it. What do I do now?
1) Talk to your family physician. Most will discuss with you the right way for YOU to reduce that belly size.
2) Start a food journal. A food journal will help you know exactly what you are eating, when, and why. Chances are you're consuming many more calories than you think you are. Make sure you keep track of what you drink as well. A lot of us are consuming a lot of calories in what we drink without even realizing it. There are several choices of food journals online, some free, some paid. If you’re more comfortable with pen and paper, there are food journals for you too! Here are some online journals I've tried:
3) Once you’ve found where your eating habits are (possibly) going wrong, find some healthier eating options:
4) Hydrate!!! Water is the #1 weight loss tool!!
5) Find an exercise plan that works for your schedule that is something you enjoy. Taking on the newest fitness craze just because it’s what everyone else is doing probably won’t work for you. Are you interested in extreme fitness? Like to dance? Ready to join a gym? Want to exercise alone? Here are some ideas
a) Walking. Most anyone can walk a little. Start out by walking just a few minutes a day, say 10. Work your way up to 30. Soon you will find yourself walking a mile, or two.
b) Swimming. A few laps in the pool will do wonders. Is there a pool close by you? (http://kansascity.about.com/lr/kansas_city_swimming_pools/75530/1/)
c) Find a local gym. (http://kansascity.citysearch.com/listings/kansas-city-mo-metro/health_clubs_gyms/81736_3997)
d) Buy a video and workout at home. Here are some I recommend:
o Insanity: The Asylum (http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/CoachLisaP7287?bctid=895599538001)
o P90X (my favorite!!) (http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/CoachLisaP7287?bctid=25219321001)
o 10-Minute Trainer (http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/CoachLisaP7287?bctid=25219892001)
o Brazil Butt Lift (http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/CoachLisaP7287?bctid=59417476001)
o Yoga Booty Ballet (http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/CoachLisaP7287?bctid=1803292126)
Remember, I AM NOT a doctor, nor do I have any medical training. My advice is based on things that have worked for me personally. Always get the advice of your physician before starting any weight loss program.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me!