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Do you weigh yourself everyday? Do you want to ditch your scale?Or, do you have this “number” that is your ideal weight? You may have this weird kind of relationship with your “weight”. Does any of this sound familiar?
- You see your weight as your worth.
- If you are not this “ideal weight” you are a failure.
- You binge on whatever comfort food makes you feel better.
- You starve yourself, but see little difference on the scale.
- You get up before dawn to spend two hours at the gym 5 days a week and the scale doesn’t budge.
What you weigh can matter but only to a certain extent.Let’s look at your waist circumference (well…you look at yours and I’ll look at mine). Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”): Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”? The apple is kinda round around the middle (you know – belly fat-ish, kinda beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs. THAT is what we’re talking about here. You may have heard the terms ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. These are along the same lines. It is the body type category that we are born with. However, that doesn’t mean you are “stuck” with it. It means that you take the body type you were born with and make it the best body for you. Lifestyle and knowledge of your body type can be your best friend. Not sure where you fit in, here is a quiz from bodybuilding.com that can narrow it down for you along with recommendations.
Celebrity examples Endomorph: John Goodman and Marilyn Monroe Ectomorph: Brad Pitt and Kate Moss Mesomorph: Mark Wahlberg and Madonna Source: wellnessed.com
So how does this affect you?Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases). Yup – that apple! That would be an endomorph. Also remember that it is likely to fall into more than one category, so trial and error is needed to find the right nutrition and workouts for you. For example I am mostly a mesomorph (I build muscle easily) but have a tendency to hold fat in my gut which is an endomorph trait. And it’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”. The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there. This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is. It’s this “un-pinchable” fat. The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure. And the apple-shaped (endomorphs) people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped (mesomorph) people do. When it comes to thin people or ectomorphs, they are just a likely to have visceral fat, it is just hidden better. This is where the term “skinny fat” comes in. Being thin or skinny does not equal healthy. So as you can see where your fat is stored is more important that how much you weigh. Am I an apple or a pear? It’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not. The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape. You can do it right now. Women, if your waist is 35” or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category. Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course. For men the number is 40”. Of course this isn’t a diagnostic tool. There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases. Waist circumference is just one of them. If you have concerns definitely see your doctor. Tips for helping reduce some belly fat:
- Eat more fiber. Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways. First of all it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food. Some examples of high-fiber foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.
- Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer. It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.
- Nix added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).
- Move more. Get some aerobic exercise. Lift some weights. Walk and take the stairs. It all adds up.
- Stress less. Seriously! Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.