Does the number on your scale get you down? Your weight shouldn’t define you (or depress you if you’re healthy and fit) and it’s not the only thing that matters when it comes to your health.
What’s more important is your waist circumference. This is a super easy thing to check, too – you just need to measure your waist at the level of your belly button.
So, grab a tape measure and find out what your waist circumference measurement is right now!
What makes this measurement so much more important than the number on your scale? Where you store your body fat is important because that indicates the type of fat you have and can predict health concerns down the road.
Have you heard of the ‘apple’ and the ‘pear’ body shapes? People with the ‘apple’ shape tend to store their fat around their middles (so they look like an apple with skinny arms and legs) and people with the ‘pear’ shape tend to have more fat around their hips and thighs.
Did you know that a person with an ‘apple’ shape is more likely to develop sleep apnea, blood sugar issues and heart problems (such as high blood pressure, blood fat and arterial diseases)? The health risk for these individuals is not the fat that is under the skin (the jiggly fat that drives most of us insane); it’s the fat that’s stored inside the abdominal cavity that’s the problem. This fat starts to crowd the organs and has the ability to release fatty acids, inflammatory compounds and hormones (like cortisol and estrogen) that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugar and blood pressure. And, this abdominal fat, also known as visceral fat, can make you even fatter because these substances promote more and more fat cell proliferation! It’s a lose-lose situation for anyone with weight issues!
Luckily, people can make some dietary and lifestyle changes to address this issue and reduce their risk of developing the diseases related to abdominal fat.
Eat at least 10 grams of fiber at every meal and snack. Fiber helps you feel full and it can slow down absorption of calories from food. It also helps bulk up the stool to ensure toxins and fats released are eliminated quickly. Include Brussels sprouts, ground flaxseed, chia seed, avocado and blueberries in your diet to get more fiber.
Make sure to get enough good quality lean protein each day. Protein fills you up faster and keeps you satiated longer. Protein also takes more energy to break down so you use up more calories during digestion. Good sources of protein include organic chicken, farm-raised eggs, grass-fed bison, chickpeas, black beans, and rolled oats.
Avoid all added sugars. Ditch processed, packaged foods and all fruit and soda drinks. Sugar just triggers more fat storage.
Get up and move! Aerobic activity is great for burning calories and resistance or weight training builds strong muscles. Get active and find little ways to get more movement into your day.
Relax…you can’t avoid all stressors in your life but you can learn how to manage and handle stress in a more healthful manner. Take deep breaths, tell yourself that it will all blow over, count to 10 – do anything that works for you to avoid losing your temper or freaking out when something stressful comes up! Always look for the positive in any situation, no matter how impossible that may seem.
Sleep at least 7 hours every night. Sleep is SO important for weight management because when you’re sleep deprived, your hormones become unbalanced and your body hoards fuel in the form of fat to help protect itself. Lack of sleep is a stressor on the body so make sure you’re getting good quality sleep every night. Make sleep a priority!
Are you an apple or a pear?
Women, if your waist circumference measures 35 inches or higher, you are most likely a pear and at risk for the diseases mentioned above. If you’re pregnant, though, you’re exempt.
Men, your limit is 40 inches.
Waist circumference is a really good indicator for future health problems so you should take this seriously. Start incorporating the tips I’ve given you to minimize your waist circumference and reduce your risk of serious health issues later in life. If you’re struggling with abdominal weight and you’re already doing all these helpful tips, you probably need additional support from a nutrition expert or your doctor.
Contact me directly if you’d like to chat about your weight concerns and I will help you figure out what options are available for you. Book a FREE 1 hour consult today!