Where do you carry most of your weight? Having extra weight on your body can be especially risky for your health when it's centered in your abdomen. Why is that?
The Negative Impact of Belly Fat
There is no one universal body type, which means we can all carry weight in different places. The most dangerous place to carry extra weight is the abdomen, which can put strain on the vital organs of the body because not just one type of fat can accumulate there, but two: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is found right underneath your skin, and while having too much isn't a good thing, the type of fat that is of greater concern when located in the belly is visceral fat. This type of fat is found much deeper in the abdomen and can actually develop around the vital organs, encasing them.
Carrying the majority of your body fat in your belly increases your risk for developing the following medical conditions, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Mayo Clinic:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Colorectal cancer
Recommendations for Men and Women
In addition to weighing yourself to determine if you fall within the ideal weight range for your height and calculating your body mass index, the most important thing you can do is measure your weight circumference. Take a tape measure and wrap it around your abdomen right above your hip bones. Take a deep breath, exhale and then measure your relaxed abdomen to get an accurate measurement. For men, a waist measurement greater than 40 inches increases your risk for developing the aforementioned diseases. For women, the number to be aware of is 35 inches. If your waist measurement is above these numbers, it's time to take action.
How to Take Charge
As you get older, your body composition may change, making it harder to lose weight in your belly. Here are some suggestions to help you get the weight off and keep it off:
- Eat a diet rich in fiber.
- Cut back on trans and saturated fats.
- Stay hydrated all day long.
- Add a supplement to your routine such as raspberry ketone, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) or white kidney bean.
- Kick your sugar habit.
- Make sure half of your meal is comprised of vegetables.
- Eat lean protein.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day five days a week.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Train your abdomen using a variety of exercises including cardio and weight training.
Getting your belly fat under control can make a major difference in your health. Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any new fitness regimen or adding any supplements to your daily routine.