Why Your Waist Circumference Matters More Than Your Weight

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.

Let's look at your waist circumference (well...you look at yours and I'll look at mine).

Waist Circumference (AKA Belly Fat):

Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an apple or a pear? The apple is round around the middle (more abdominal fat) and the pear is rounder in 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)?

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 as you can see where your fat is stored is more important that how much you weigh.

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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. 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 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).

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/

 Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.