By Patrick Carrothers for the Owner of WeightWise4U.com
Shrinking Your Waist Could Lengthen Your Life
Many studies since the mid-90s show a connection between waist size, aka belly fat, and death rates. Does that get your attention?
First, at this point in your weight loss journey you may be making real progress, losing some weight, making some changes in your lifestyle. I congratulate you!
Now I encourage you to keep it up so you can make a significant difference in your overall health. To do that I need to give you the skinny on waist size and why it’s important.
In a large study that tracked 15,000 adults, researchers found that waist size was more helpful of predicting mortality than your Body Mass Index. According to the criteria used by the World Health Organization, about 70% of the study participants were centrally obese as defined by their waist to hip ratio and waist circumference. That means greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
What researchers found is that a man with normal-weight central obesity had a 78% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease than a man with a similar BMI but no fat around the middle. For women in this same scenario, normal-weight central obesity more than doubled the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
A good long term goal for a woman is a waist size less than 35″. If you’re a man, your waist goal is to be less than 40″. Does this seem confusing? It can, because you’re being encouraged to lose overall weight, but at the same time we want you to focus on losing that difficult visceral fat around the belly too.
So what helps to lose belly fat?
Whatever your ability level, try to get your body moving for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If that’s not realistic for you, then start where you can and work from there. The important thing is to start where you can. Have you always felt like you couldn’t work out enough so you just didn’t do anything?
Today is the day I want you to just move around so you are having some fun and keep it up for however long you can. Tomorrow go for one minute more. Work yourself up to the next level gradually.
Your goal is to eventually get yourself huffing and puffing. If you’ve been sedentary for a while, I recommend you talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Are you walking the neighborhood now for 30 minutes? That’s great! But it’s time to kick it up a notch. Get your heart rate up and your breathing up. Keep it going and also keep adding a little intensity to your routine every week.
Start changing up your routine to work multiple areas of your body. Mix some lunges or squats into your walks. Do a body weight strength routine once or twice a week. If you are ready, follow along with an exercise video.
Get More Fiber
Research shows soluble fiber reduces dangerous visceral fat. The Institute of Medicine recommends dietary fiber intake for adults aged 50 and younger of 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, and for men and women older than 50, an intake of 30 and 21 grams, respectively.
But Americans are falling seriously short of the recommended goal, with an average intake of about 15 grams per day! Eat more of these fiber-rich foods:
- Oat bran
- Acorn squash
- Dark leafy greens
Learn Correct Portion Sizes
It may surprise you to learn what a serving should look like, especially if you frequently eat at restaurants! If you need to learn more about healthy portion sizes, click here to read my post on “Portion Distortion.”
Get Your MUFAs
If you haven’t already, switch to polyunsaturated fats like sunflower oil, canola oil and olive oil. These are high in monounsaturated fatty acids or “MUFAs.” Avocados and olives are excellent sources also.
In a recent study, 39 young adults of normal weight were fed 750 extra calories per day for 7 weeks. Half of the subjects got the extra calories from polyunsaturated fat in the form of sunflower oil while the other half got their surplus from saturated fat in the form of palm oil. The diets were the same in other regards.
Those individuals who ate the saturated fat had a significant increase in the amount of fat in the liver and abdomen, particularly visceral fat surrounding their internal organs. Those given the polyunsaturated fat had three times as much of an increase in muscle mass!
Get Your Greens, Tea That Is
Green tea consistently shows very positive effects in reducing visceral fat and body fat in a number of studies. The secret ingredient in green tea seems to be substances called “catechins.” If you prefer black tea, it also has a high concentration of catechins, but not as high as green tea varieties. Dark chocolate has a high count also, but watch the calories on this one!
To see a great collection of instant Green Tea concentrates in delicious flavors, check out my Herbalife selections here: Green Tea Concentrates. If you want to see pricing, or order online, you need to register. Or contact me. and I’ll complete an order for you.
Practice Stress Reduction Until It Becomes A Habit
A body under stress puts out more cortisol, a hormone that is linked to higher levels of visceral fat. Who doesn’t feel under stress these days? So it is very important that you take active steps to reduce and manage your stress.
Whether it is via deep breathing, meditation, journaling, enjoying outdoor activities, or something that works for you, find a way to lessen stress and make it a habit.