Many of us our clued in on checking our body mass index (BMI)to determine if we need to watch our weight and that is a good indicator of healthy weight but we may also need to be checking our waist line measurements. When you carry excess weight around your middle your risk for many conditions goes up.
Be concerned if you are a woman with a waist measurement over 35 inches, or a man with a waist measurement over 40 inches. This is where the risk factors spike. And your BMI doesn’t seem to matter it is these waist numbers that are controlling everything.
A new study of middle-aged people that carry their excess weight around the waist and belly are 3 times more likely to suffer from dementia in their 70’s and 80’s. One theory is that waist fat releases toxins associated with the plaque that builds up in the brain. (The Journal of the American Academy of Neurology).
Dementia is pretty scary but so are the other diseases associated with belly fat. They are: heart disease, breast cancer, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke.
Stress can increase belly fat. The hormone cortisol regulates carbohydrate metabolism and blood pressure. Cortisol is released when we are stressed boosting your energy by producing glucose. Stress keeps glucose production high. The body converts excess glucose info fat and stores it in your mid- section for quick access by the body.
Slowing metabolism can also increase belly fat. As your age goes up your metabolism slows down and the amount of fat in your body slowly increases. This can start for men around 30 years old. And for women who have never had a belly fat problem you may have one after menopause. As we age we must adjust our diet and exercise routines.
The good news is that 99% of people will lose their belly fat first. To lose fat you must burn more calories than you eat. So reduce those calories and bump up your activities to whittle that waist down to size.
A small scale study showed women eating around 1600 calories per day and ate monounsaturated fats at every meal lost weight, lowered total cholesterol, lowered LDL cholesterol, raised HDL cholesterol, and lost inches around their middle. They lost MORE inches than those that followed the same calorie restrictions but did not include monounsaturated fats. So, don’t necessarily cut all fats from your diet when losing weight just the bad fats. Monounsaturated fats include: olive oil, avocado, cashews, sesame seeds, and pistachios.