If your waistline could talk, what would it say? We know that belly fat is more common after menopause, but what about women’s expanding waistlines and the risks of visceral fat?
Extensive research has shown that belly fat also carries serious health risks.
Your weight is largely determined by how you balance the calories you eat with the energy you burn.
➡ If you eat too much and exercise too little, you’re likely to carry excess weight including belly fat.
However, aging also plays a role.
➡ Muscle mass might diminish slightly with age, but fat increases.
➡ Loss of muscle mass also lowers the rate at which your body uses calories, which can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.
Many women also notice an increase in belly fat as they get older — even if they are not gaining weight.
➡ This is more than likely due to a decreasing level of estrogen, which appears to influence where fat is distributed in the body.
The tendency to gain or carry weight around the waist — and have an “apple” rather than a “pear” shape — might also be part of your genetic makeup.
But don’t use that as an excuse…
Women’s expanding waistlines and the risks of visceral fat, however, is more than skin deep.
➡ Visceral fat is stored in your abdominal cavity (it is also known as ‘active fat’ as it influences how hormones function in your body).
➡ An excess of visceral fat can have potentially dangerous consequences. And, because it is close to many of your vital organs such as the pancreas, the liver, and the intestines, an excess of visceral fat can hurt you in countless ways if not eliminated and controlled.
The higher the amount of visceral fat a person stores the more at risk they are for certain health complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
In other words…what you cannot see can and will hurt you.
The problem is that belly fat isn’t just limited to the extra layer of padding located just below the skin (called “subcutaneous fat”). It also includes visceral fat — which lies deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs.
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal cholesterol
- Breathing problems
Research has also linked belly fat with an increased risk of premature death — regardless of overall weight.
➡ Several studies have found that even when women were considered at “normal weight” based on standard body mass index (BMI) measurements, a large waistline increased the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
So how do you know if you have too much belly fat besides the obvious signs?
Measure your waist:
➡ Stand and place a tape measure around your bare stomach, just above your hipbone.
➡ Pull the tape measure until it fits snugly around you, but doesn’t push into your skin. Make sure the tape measure is level all the way around.
➡ Relax, exhale and measure your waist, resist the urge to suck in your stomach.
For women, a waist measurement of more than 35 inches (89 centimeters) indicates an unhealthy concentration of belly fat and a greater risk of health problems.
The work ahead- – –
➡ You can tone abdominal muscles with crunches or other targeted abdominal exercises, but just doing these exercises won’t get rid of belly fat.
Fortunately, visceral fat responds to the same diet and exercise strategies that help you shed excess pounds and lower your total body fat.
How To Win The Belly Fat Battle: (you know what I’m going to say, I’ll bet…)
Eat A Healthy Diet
➡ Emphasize plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and choose lean sources of protein and low-fat dairy products.
➡ Limit added sugar and saturated fat, which is found in meat and high-fat dairy products, such as cheese and butter.
➡ Choose moderate amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — found in fish, nuts and certain vegetable oils.
➡ Replace sugary beverages (but stay away from artificial sweeteners). Drink water or naturally flavored drinks.
➡ Keep portion sizes in check. Even when you’re making healthy choices, calories add up.
➡ At home, slim down your portion sizes.
➡ In restaurants, share meals — or eat half your meal and take the rest home.
➡ Include physical activity in your daily routine. This Is NOT Negotiable.
While you can lose weight without exercising, you will not keep it off…and belly fat is a lot more stubborn than you are…In addition, visceral fat can cause serious health issues you may not identify until it is too late.
➡ To lose excess fat and keep it from coming back, aim for slow and steady weight loss — up to 2 pounds (1 kilogram) a week.
➡ Consult your doctor for help getting started and staying on track. And check out the articles under the Fit For Life Category on the right side of the page for more guidance on fitness and weight loss, as well as the articles under Nutrition.
The threats posed by belly fat can be reduced, which is the same as saying that you have the power and yours is the decision to save your life.
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