I often try to keep articles on the lighter side. But this is important. Read this!
WHAT IS YOUR WAIST SIZE?
Knowing could save your life
I don’t mean your pants size!
What is the size in inches measured just above your hip bone?
Is the tissue there fairly firm? Can you pinch it easily?
We’re talking about visceral fat (commonly called “belly fat”). Not the subcutaneous fat that may cover other parts of your body. (Your belly may have some of both)
When you lose weight, Subcutaneous fat is usually lost in layers (sort of like an onion). This is one reason you may lose weight in your face or arms, for example, but still not lose fat around your waist. Subcutaneous fat lies just below the skin. In layers.
Visceral fat, on the other hand can be the last to go. You may even see fairly thin people still have large amounts of belly fat. It’s the last to go because it is not on the surface.
It is housed deep in your body and surrounds many of your vital organs. That’s what makes visceral fat far more dangerous.
All of what follows is information directly from Johns Hopkins
· Visceral fat is just as dangerous to your health as high blood pressure or smoking!
· Fat around the belly makes you more likely to have a heart attack. It also makes you more likely to have a stroke. These are the leading causes of death in diabetes. This type of fat makes it hard for your body to use its own insulin (“insulin resistance”). And, it may even lead to certain cancers.
· Deep belly fat is a problem in healthy adults. It makes it harder for the body to use insulin well (causes “insulin resistance”). This often leads to type 2 diabetes.
· Here is what we found in one study at Johns Hopkins. Take a man with a big waist size (over 40 inches). Compare him to a man with a small waist size (29 – 34 inches). The man with the big waist is 12 times more likely to have diabetes.
Women are not exempt
· You may be more likely to get health problems from this kind of belly fat if: • You waist is more than 40 inches if you are a woman • Your waist is more than 35 inches if you are a man.
· Diet alone is not enough to reduce deep belly fat. A study looked at the effect of diet and exercise. The study had 33 older women take part in it. They were all obese and had type 2 diabetes. It looked at 3 ways to lose weight: a low-calorie diet; a low-calorie diet plus walking for 50 minutes 3 times a week, used as exercise; or just walking. This lasted for 14 weeks. The low-calorie diet did not work on belly fat. But, diet plus exercise (walking) did. And, just the exercise (walking) worked too. Those two groups lost about the same amount of belly fat
· Exercise is key to prevent and lose belly fat. Here is what the first major study found (published in 2005 in the Journal of Applied Physiology). There were 175 people who took part in this first study. These were people who did not do exercise. They were all overweight. They were put into 1 of 4 groups: a no-exercise group; or 1 of 3 exercise groups. After just 6 months, there were differences in belly fat. Those in the no-exercise group gained more belly fat. But not the people in the exercise groups. They were able to prevent or lose belly fat.
· Include both aerobic and resistance exercise
Exercise is the key to fighting deep belly fat. But, what is the best exercise plan? According to the experts, your best bet is to combine two types. They are: • Aerobic exercise • Strength training (also called “resistance training”) such as weight lifting. A 6-month study was done at Johns Hopkins. The people who took part in it were 104 men and women. They walked on a treadmill or cycled, plus they did strength training. They lost an average of less than 5 pounds of weight on the scale. But, they lost about 18 percent of their belly fat. This is measured using MRI (“magnetic resonance imaging”).
Those in the no-exercise group lost no belly fat. (Diet only)
The ADA has a plan for you if you have diabetes. It is based on what we now know about both types of exercise. They recommend:
• Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week
• Strength training 3 times a week that targets all major muscle groups.
Check with your doctor before you start a new exercise plan. See your doctor first if you have not exercised before.
The message on deep belly fat is clear.