Why Your Waist Circumference Matters 100x More Than What You Weigh

Why Your Waist Circumference Matters 100x More Than What You Weigh

You totally want to ditch your scale, don’t you?

You may have this weird kind of relationship with your “weight”.

I mean, it doesn’t define you (obviously).

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.

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!

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 “unpinchable” 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 people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.

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.

  • Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).

Recipe (High fiber side dish): Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Serves 4

1 lb brussel sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)

2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

dash salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a bowl toss sprouts with garlic, oil, and lemon juice. Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Toss.

Bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Brussel sprouts contain the fat-soluble bone-loving vitamin K. You may want to eat them more often.

When weekends sabotage our goals

Have you been on track during your weekday schedule? Have you drawn out a plan for your success in hitting your goals? I know for many of us, we are rockstars during the week. We stick to the nutrition plan and we get our workouts in every day that we can. We feel unstoppable.

But what tends to happen as the weekend approaches, is that we feel we’ve done quite well. We may have family gatherings and parties; and our friends are expecting us to enjoy some downtime with them too. We decide that since the week was so successful and we are feeling confident in our ability to do it again next week, maybe one or two days off wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Right? I mean, haven’t we all heard that those “cheat days” can actually help fuel our metabolisms even more? Oh…that’s such great plan!

Right?

WRONG!!!

The weekend should definitely be filled with downtime; with relaxing and having fun but did you know that in doing so, most of us pretty much ruin those awesome results from the previous week by overdoing it completely? You know the saying; two steps forward and one step back? Well honestly, some of us are taking two steps forward during the workweek and about five or six steps back on the weekend. Let’s look at some of the worst case weekend habits that you should eliminate immediately so that you can continue to move forward in your success journey…never to return to previous poor habits.

Ready?

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1. Going crazy and binge eating on the weekend
One of the most common poor weekend choices most of us make is binge eating on the weekends. The idea that we have done so well all week but need to let go once in awhile usually results with eating and drinking everything unhealthy in our reach. Who cares, right? We’re getting back on track again, come Monday, so this won’t hurt that much! WRONG AGAIN! This only puts us either back where we first began our journeys, or worse yet, further behind as we continue these poor choices. This way of thinking is also creating a poor relationship with the foods we eat, as we continue this binge and then restrict pattern long term. The key to being fit and healthy is not being overly restrictive; heck, I can out-eat anyone at certain times when I really want to…but having good balance and understanding what to do overtime help us to create those long term results we are looking to achieve. There are times you must be more strict in your diet and exercise, as you are working towards achieving a specific goal. But the goal is not the end zone, in order to maintain those results, balance is the key. When I decide to overindulge (which I do for sure!), then I make sure the very next meal is healthy and on track. I just feel better this way and learning how to find and create that balance so you don’t continue to live the life of going from one extreme of being overly strict and not allowing anything to deter you from your plans, to then completely going hog-wild and overdoing it; again and again.

2. Sleeping too much 
It can feel like such a luxury to sleep in when the weekend finally arrives, right? I know that this was such a wonderful enjoyment for me before too. Not needing to wake up to an alarm and even we  you do wake up; just laying in bed and not having to do anything feels amazing. Yes, rest is an important element to our success BUT spending your entire morning in bed is only going to screw up your body clock out of it’s routine. This will result in feeling like crap come Monday morning when that alarm does ring. Enjoying some extra sleep on the weekends is fine, but it will be helpful for you in the long run to get up no more than an hour later than your normal weekday wake-up call. This honestly helps to keep our body clocks regular and our bodies from going through severe shifts; week after week.

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3. Brunch dates? 
Brunch is a fun way to enjoy the weekends. They are so relaxing and a way to enjoy your friends and family over good foods. The problem is when those simple “brunch” dates turn out to be a huge cheat blowout. Have you ever decided to go all out and order the big breakfast deal? I know those hash browns, eggs, smoothies, breads, coffee and muffins look like a great choice, right? How about that ginormous stack of pancakes; covered in butter, syrup and cream? Yes, those treats are fun and helpful along the way but if you tend to over-do your brunch meals again and again and again and again…maybe you should take a look at another healthier option on the menu and make it more about enjoying the experience versus a food fest. I promise, it’s still worth it! (and no food coma later)

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4. But what about the booze? 
I’m not a drinker so this isn’t a problem of mine but I do know a lot of women and men who use alcohol as the way to unwind and relax over the weekend. Although, the occasional drink isn’t going to throw your goals too far off track; overdoing it is an easy next step as you start to enjoy the relaxed state of mind and body. Drinking in excessive amounts, prevents our bodies from losing fat and can lead to major weight gain over time. It also affects our ability to recover from exercise, it decreases our ability to build muscle and also leads to a list of other major health issues. If you enjoy having a drink or two on the weekends, make sure to keep it to a minimum or cut it out altogether if that isn’t a possibility for you.

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5. Overworking over the weekend
As I work from home, I know all too well how easy it is to fit in more work over the weekends. It’s also more accessible to work more at home because of technology and the ability to “catch up” over the weekend. But I’ve found that this leads to a new problem of adding more stress into our lives when we need to find that balance again. Work is vital to our daily needs. We can’t eliminate it altogether but we can most definitely set up boundaries so that we can enjoy the perks of weekend downtime and renewing our energy stores for the new week. Stress can lead to more weight gain and many other health problems, even disease; over time. Make sure to plan out your work and rest hours just as you plan out your meals and treats along the way.

Do any of these habits ring true for you? Where can you make some changes?

For me, I work on balance. I am not a fan of “diet and deprivation”. It never works. Sure, you will lose weight initially on any diet (heck, even on a “diet” of crappy foods can allow your body to lose weight if you are in a calorie deficit!) but what then? Can you sustain those daily foods and energy requirements long term? For the rest of your life? This is where I had trouble many times in the past. I would lose “all the weight” and feel so good about myself…only to regain it all and have to start over again. Sound familiar? It is for most people. The key isn’t in finding the “right” diet or the “right” exercise plan because our bodies don’t really care what we do along the way. Our body only achieves the results it achieves through the practices we continue to place into our lives. Workout and eat right for 90 days and lose 20 lbs? Great! Then what? Then most people decide to return to their previous habits and what happens then? The body is only doing what we are telling it to do.

If you need some extra help or attention in any of these areas, feel free to drop a comment below or message me at: spazzykay@gmail.com