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.

NO Sugar Challenge; end of week 1

I get it that the NO SUGAR challenge sounds super scary, right? I felt the same way when I took this on a year and a half ago, for the very first time. I figured it would be difficult but I had no idea my body would react the way that it did. I was feeling like a drug addict who needed the next “fix”! 🙂  All joking aside, sugar is no joke. We are bombarded with more and more sugar added to almost every food item these days and we don’t even realize what this is doing to our bodies over time.

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I thought, ‘what’s a little extra sugar every day or so’, but added up over every week, month and year…it’s scary how much extra fat that is storing up in our bodies. Think about it, we only use up a certain amount of calories and nutrients (dense or not) at a time..the rest is stored and “stored” means “FAT”. Sugar is no different. I dare you to go open your refrigerator and read some of the labels on your favorite items. I bet you that almost 80% of them contain “sugar”. Ketchup? Yep. Sauces? Yep. Everything in a box or container? Pretty much.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now, I know that most people are not willing to do this challenge. It’s uncomfortable and slightly scary but if you get to the point that you know it’s becoming a problem, then you will only be helping the quality of your future health. How about the extra weight around your tummy? Have you noticed this is almost impossible to lose? I can almost bet that the biggest culprit to this issue is sugar. Not the fat in your foods…but the sugars that are stored as fat in your body. Of course, that double double with a side of animal fries and milkshake would account for it too…

Anything that is excessive is fat. Except for veggies, I cannot fault a veggie for being a problem in our diets. But who ever had a kale and spinach obsession? 🙂

Now I promised that I’d share my foods this past week but it became a bit monotonous as I’m a creature of habit. I find that I do best when I eat similar foods throughout my week. If I have to come up with new and glamorous ideas every day, then I’d never be able to stay on track. Simplicity is what helps me most so this is what I share with you. In case you like lots of fun food ideas mixed into your week, you might want to visit some other healthy blogs or websites to get those ideas. I’ll share mine anyway if you’re interested:

Breakfast: Every day this week, I had one of two choices; first was my oats cooked in water with 1 red container Greek yogurt mixed in and 1 Tbsp all-natural peanut butter. I also had coffee with 1 Tbls half and half. No sugar added to anything and that includes stevia and xylitol this challenge. My second choice for breakfast was 1/2 cup oats blended in my VitaMix with 2 whole eggs and cooked up as a pancake. I would then top it with 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt and either some peanut butter or cut-up strawberries (although I have been saving my limited fruits for after lunch or dinner snacks).

Mid-morning snack: This stayed the same as it’s immediately following my workout. I have my Shakeology and blended it in my VitaMix blender with 1 cup water and 1 cup ice. I’m kind of obsessed with our new Cafe Latte flavor so this has been my daily flavor of choice. Before this challenge, I would always add one fruit selection to the shake but I’ll get back to that after this is complete.

Lunch: My lunches vary depending on what dinner was the previous evening. It’s either a salad topped with ground turkey, chicken or salmon OR sauteed veggies scrambled with 2 eggs and half of a blue container of shredded natural cheese. This is the time I’ll have my sliced up apple, topped with peanut butter and drink my tea with no sugar or stevia added.

Afternoon snack: My favorite snack at this time is usually my oats soaked for about 15-20 minutes in sugar free natural almond milk and mixed with greek yogurt and maybe a teaspoon of peanut butter. (I know, as I wrote my foods down, I realize I may have to do a NO PEANUT BUTTER challenge next…but why bother bringing me to my knees for no real reason?)

Dinner: Varies every day but our common choices (family favorites) are; tacos (to which I make a taco salad with no tortillas), grilled chicken anything, salmon, turkey meatballs – to name a few. I also got a bit creative this week and made a quinoa salad and enjoyed that atop a bed of greens and some olive oil. It actually is kind of fun searching out new and healthy ideas as I get stuck in my sameness for a long time…until I get so sick of something that I cannot eat it for months.


Pretty sane, right? I thought so 😉

So in wrapping up my week 1 of the challenge so far (just 1 week to go), I’ve realized that even though I struggled with cravings and mood swings the first time I did this (a year ago), I must have not gone back to as much sweetness and fruits as I thought I did because this week was cake (wait, did I say “CAKE”? I meant it was EASY!) I seriously had ZERO cravings or mood swings this past week and the only struggle I dealt with was the weekend habits of treating myself to a “little bit of this and a little bit of that”…right? Now that I’m observing and holding myself accountable to this challenge, I’m left with the feeling of “when did I create this weekend habit?” which is something we should all be more aware of throughout our health and fitness journeys. If we never assess what’s happening in the stretches of time that connect our results, we never actually realize what it is that is sabotaging our efforts along the journey.

Bottom line, start reading your own ingredient lists and start to buy only products that contain zero added sugar. No need to go crazy and dump everything in your home but being aware and creating a new “normal” will only add to better results as you continue to move forward.

What will happen in week #2?