6 pack, 12 pack, 1 pack, love handles, muffin top, to name a few…….but is it really about your looks or is it more about your health?
Does a 6 pack mean you have a healthier life?
The waist has for many years been one of the key attributes for a gorgeous or handsome physique, yet many of us may not know it is also one of the most powerful tool we have to predict ones health over the next few years.
Now, I am not saying that the person with the 12 pack is healthier than the muffin top, or they don’t need to worry about their health because they do! But there is a relationship to what is happening on the outer level of your gut and at a deeper level……….inside you.
Our abdominal cavities contain some of our essential organs – our digestive tract, intestines, stomach, bowel, spleen and spine, all of which assist you on a daily basis to keep you alive and well.
What is the big deal about waist fat?
Well, these organs like anything else need a great environment to thrive and keep healthy in, so when we add a few kilo’s here and a few there, those organs get covered in what is called visceral fat – or organ fat . It both pushes the organs out of their home but also makes us a lot more sensitive to T2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke, Amputations and illness.
So what causes fat to be stored around the abdominal area? age, beer, menopause, food, stress….
Most of us have come to expect that as we age, that is what happens – the dreaded middle aged spread – but in reality this is not something we must endure, and if we find ourselves there now, then this is something you can change, quite simply.
Food does play an important part of this fat accumulation and research says that while the popular sugar does contribute to this, the main reason is still our intake of saturated fats – Hard animal based fats. So by simply changing from saturated to more unsaturated (vegetable based) fats – olive, avocado, or sesame, we can assist with waist reduction.
Menopause or hormonal change. Yes this can increase our waist circumference. Being young and being a premenopausal women keeps you healthier and lowers your risk so as we change hormonally with age our risk increases, causing our bodies to store more fat around the middle. Those foods that you were able to eat when young now can have a bigger impact on your health.
PCOS is another hormonal condition that can cause increase the weight around the waist, and so patients with PCOS need to be more disciplined with their food choices and reducing their saturated fat intake from an earlier age.
Stress effects abdominal fat greatly – lack of sleep, shift working or financial and family stress increase your levels of blood cortisol (a hormone) that makes your body store more fat around the middle. So yes while we are all waiting to win lotto this week – ask yourself “if this is my life situation as it is now, then how can I respond better to this , or what can I do to change how I feel about this?” Often you cannot change the stress itself!
Stress is not just what is happening around us or to us, but how we respond to this – so maybe try walking – to deal with the day, a boxing class – to get rid of frustration, yoga – to calm yourself down, or a spa – to relax. There are many ways that could you can reduce the impact of stress on you health.
The good new is that with the correct diet and exercise regime you can reduce your waist fat and therefore reduce your risk for ill health.
Some great guidelines for waist measurements and risk are:
Increased risk: 94cm
Greatly increased risk: 102cm
Increased risk: 80 cm
Greatly increased risk: 88 cm
The best place to measure your waist is around the belly button – not where you usually wear your pants!
Measure your waist with the above guidelines and then you can easily aim to reduce your waist by simply changing your food, your activity and your response to stress.
We encourage you to go ahead and take small steps to change your health, and if you need any help, advise or motivation then please call us to make a time for us to help.
We love to see you a more happier and healthier version of you!