It is Lose Your Waist Wednesday and it is the day we talk about belly fat.
This question came to me over the weekend.
A reader asks, why is it that whenever I gain weight I gain it in my mid section? My legs look fine. My arms look fine. And even my hips look fine.
I don’t see why the extra pounds go right to my middle.
Answer: You Must Know
When you begin to put on weight, especially visceral belly fat, your body is telling you that it is shifting out of balance, veering into an unhealthy state. And… a vicious, sickly cycle often ensues unless you take control of your weight. Sounds dramatic I know. But if you do not get a firm grip on fighting belly fat then your chance for disease is magnified in ways that curtail your vitality big time. Know that when one fattens up in the midsection, it has everything to do with what we eat, what we do not eat, as well as how we exercise. The how’s of exercise we’ll go into at another time, but just know that for now, over exercising often has negative effects on belly fat storage.
Here’s the thing: First congratulations on being concerned about weight gain in the middle. Often people just assume that they will gain weight in the middle as they age, and that this is normal. You need to know that it is not normal and can have devastating health effects if the visceral fat increases as the years unfold.
To get you started, and to put you fully in awareness mode, you should take the waist to hip ratio test. This test will let you know what your probabilities are of incurring diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular attacks, strokes and other life debilitating diseases. Scary yes, but the good news is we have control to live a more vital lifestyle than we ever imagined through proper diet and proper exercise plans. You’ve done well to identify that your mid section is increasing in size and your next step is to go to http://www.bmi-calculator.net/
Insulin: The Key Player in Belly Fat
Numerous hormones contribute to belly fat, but none proves more powerful than insulin, your fat storage hormone. High levels of insulin tell your body to gain weight around the belly, and you become more apple-shaped over time. Additionally insulin drives inflammation and oxidative stress, creating myriad downstream effects.
Eventually you become insulin resistant, which leads your body to generate belly fat and hold on to that spare tire for dear life. Fatigue after meals, sugar cravings, blood sugar swings or hypoglycemia, high triglycerides, low HDL, low sex drive, and problems with blood clotting are also common among people who are overweight.
Simply put, less insulin equals less belly fat, since insulin makes you hungry and stores belly fat. The best thing you can do to prevent disease and all its problems is to lose weight.
The Number One Thing You Can Do to Reduce Belly Fat
High insulin levels don’t just exist in a vacuum. They influence other hormones like leptin, your satiety hormone. When insulin blocks leptin, your body thinks it is starving even after a Big Mac, fries, and a large soda. Ever wonder how you can still be hungry right after a big meal? It is the insulin surge and the leptin resistance.
More than any other food, sugar becomes responsible for hijacking your brain chemistry and your metabolism to create insulin resistance and all its repercussions.
Calorie for calorie, sugar is different from other calories that come from protein, fat, or non-starchy carbs such as greens. Sugar scrambles all your normal appetite controls. So you consume more and more, driving your metabolism to convert it into lethal belly fat.
Fructose, the most metabolically damaging sugar, just makes things worse. It goes right to your liver, where it starts manufacturing fat, which triggers more insulin resistance and causes chronically elevated blood insulin levels, driving your body to store everything you eat as – you guessed it – dangerous belly fat.
You also get a fatty liver, which generates more inflammation. Chronic inflammation causes more weight gain and diabesity. Anything that causes inflammation will worsen insulin resistance.
Another problem with fructose is that it doesn’t send informational feedback to the brain, signaling that a load of calories just hit the body. Nor does it reduce ghrelin, the appetite hormone that is usually reduced when you eat real food.
We are programmed to store belly fat in response to sugar so that we can survive the winter when food is scarce. Genes do play a role, but they are a minor contributor to the epidemic we are experiencing currently. We need to shut down the insulin surges—and thereby arrest belly fat storage and cravings.
Why Belly Fat is Not Your Biggest Challenge
You should know that the biggest challenge you’re facing with being overweight in the middle is not your waistline or your weight. It’s not your belly. It’s your brain. Changing the way you think about food so you get your mind working with your body, not against it, is critical to weight loss and healthy living that is with less pain and less mental anguish.
In my program that has been successfully running monthly for two years called 30 Days to Lean, you will learn how to train your brain. You will learn what foods to eat and what foods not to eat. This program, is designed for readers that are just tired of not knowing what to eat or are sick of diets. We focus on real foods. We focus on bringing health back to the body. We focus on hormonal balance. And we focus on Eating. Yes eating. For more information go to http://www.bodysmartway.
I leave you with the question: What can you do now to empower yourself?