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Food & Nutrition Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement Uncategorized

The Most Dangerous Fat Is the Easiest to Lose

The Most Dangerous Fat Is the Easiest to Lose

It’s every weight loss enthusiast’s dream to zap belly fat but, far from pure vanity, there’s actually a reason why having a lot of fat in the abdominal region can be dangerous. Fat is stored all over our body, but how does an expanding waistline grow your risk for chronic illness?

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Your body’s fat impacts your health differently depending on where it’s stored. While most fat found on other parts of our bodies (think arms, legs, buttocks) are considered “subcutaneous fat,” belly fat is more likely to be “visceral.”

PINCHABLE VERSUS PRESSABLE

“Subcutaneous fat” is the pinchable, squishy fat right between your skin and muscle that helps keep you warm, cushions you against shock, and stores extra calories. “Visceral fat” stores calories too, but isn’t as pinchable because it is located in and around your organs. It’s hidden deep within the belly region, which is what makes it firm (rather than squishy) when you press it.

PROXIMITY

Fat doesn’t just store calories—it’s a living tissue capable of producing and releasing hormones that affect your other organs. Because visceral fat sits near our organs, its release of these chemicals is poorly situated. Having more visceral fat can raise your LDL (a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol) and blood pressure. Visceral fat can also make you less sensitive to insulin, which increases your risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

TELLING BAD BELLY FAT APART

Even if you’re thin, you can still have visceral fat around the abdominal region—being “skinny” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. There’s no sure-fire way to tell visceral from subcutaneous fat short of an expensive CT scan, but it’s important for you to get a rough idea of what your visceral stores are. Here are a few tricks to figure out where your belly stands:

APPLES AND PEARS

You’re probably wondering, “What does fruit have to do with it?” These two fruits give a quick visual of where most of your fat is stored on the body. Pears tend to store fat in the lower extremities (hips, thighs, buttocks) as subcutaneous fat while apples tend to store fat in the upper region (belly, chest) as visceral fat. It takes a quick inspection, but this is an imperfect way to tell these two fats apart.

WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE (WC)

Feel for the top of your hip bone (it’s at the same level as the top of your belly button) and circle a tape measure around this point. Remember to relax and don’t suck in your gut (be honest!). Take 2-3 measurements and figure out the average. Men should have a WC of less than 40 inches (102 cm) and women should have a WC of less than 35 inches (89 cm).

WAIST-TO-HIP RATIO

The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) takes the circumference of your waist (see above) and divides it by the circumference of your hips. To measure your hips, stand in front of a mirror then figure out the widest part of your butt and measure that circumference. Then use this formula:
WHR = (Waist circumference) / (Hip circumference).
Men should have a WHR of less than 1 while women should have a WHR of less than 0.8.

KNOW YOUR FAMILY HEALTHY HISTORY

If your parents or siblings have insulin resistance, heart disease or non-alcoholic fatty liver, you may be at a greater risk for storing visceral fat. Keeping an eye on your visceral fat may be beneficial, but know that the causes of these chronic diseases are complex. If you’re in doubt, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider.


READ MORE > ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO FAT


BANISHING VISCERAL FAT

If you fall in the normal range for WC and WHR, that’s great! Keep working at your weight goals as you see fit. If you’re not there, don’t despair. Because of its proximity to the liver, visceral fat is usually the easier fat to burn. It’s the less risky subcutaneous fat that likes to stick around.

Unfortunately, you can’t forcefully spot reduce fat around your belly no matter how many crunches you do. The next best thing is to live a healthy lifestyle:

  • Go beyond weight tracking. You can track your waist, hip and even neck circumference in the app. Use this feature to see how your measurements change over time as you lose weight.
  • Sweat for 30-60 minutes each day. Visceral fat responds well to regular endurance exercises, such as running, biking, rowing, swimming, that elevate your heart rate. As your body uses fat to fuel exercise, it’ll start using up your visceral stores.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Eat a diet high in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein with calories set for gradual weight loss (e.g. about 1-2 pounds per week). Cut way back on added sugars and alcohol since these nutrients will more likely end up as visceral fat.
  • Sleep more, stress less. It’s easier said than done, but in order to take care of your physical body, you have to take care of your mental state. Sleep loss and stress can sabotage your health and fitness goals, so learn more about getting a quality night’s rest and use meditation or yoga to calm your mind. Remember, it’s not just about your health; it’s about your happiness, too.
BY TRINH LE, MPH, RD
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Food & Nutrition Holiday Fast Track Uncategorized

Tips To Stay On Track During Thanksgiving

Tips To Stay On Track During Thanksgiving

A time to be with loved ones, eat family favorite dishes and express our gratitude. I am talking about Thanksgiving. Along with all the wonderful things this holiday brings, it unfortunately can come with stress, unwanted pounds and feeling run down and sluggish. Add travel on top of that for some more added challenges, right?  However, if you are smart, you can stay on track to win.  I’m going to share some very easy and smart tips so you have no worries this Thanksgiving.

In no particular order, here are my best tips to still indulge, still have a wonderful time and still feel amazing throughout it all! We are going to watch out for the “B, L, T’s” (bites, licks, and tastes), stay active (Turkey Trot is a great idea!) and try to slow down.

With the proper hydration, proper sleep and staying mindful, you just can’t go wrong. It’s as EASY AS PUMPKIN PIE! Remember, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Let’s get started.

Drink More Water

No surprise there. You’ve heard it before and you will hear it again, but it is one of the best and easiest things you can do. Start your day off by polishing off two huge glasses of water, especially during a holiday like Thanksgiving. Your goal is to drink half your body weight in ounces. Example: if you weigh 150 lbs drink 75 ozs. It may sound a bit much but it is necessary. Trust me. Remember, you can flavor your water, if that helps.

Much of the time during the holidays people think by saving all their calories for the “big” meal is a fantastic idea. Sorry to tell you but it is not a good idea at all. It will just make you moody; you will over eat and in return, feel awful. It is never a good idea to not NOT eat. This will only backfire and make you feel more physically and mentally not so great and we do not want that.

  • Instead, start your day with a superstar breakfast. Great examples include; oatmeal, eggs, high-fiber cereal, smoothies, or the best choice–a green drink, are all great choices.
  • Again, most people try to save calories during the holidays but instead I recommend packing a snack and having something to eat before the big feast.
  • Also, bring your own dish if you really want to have this nailed. Nothing wrong with bringing in a veggie tray with hummus or fruit. This will help you not be so tempted to over indulge and keep your energy up.

Lighten up Dishes and Experiment with Recipe Modification

What this means is instead of comfort food all around the table, try a few new things. For example, try cauliflower mashed potatoes. You can make the traditional version, but try this too. You may be shocked at how much you like it. I make both every year but many guests request the cauliflower mashers! Remember, if you put it out, people will eat it.

  • Bring out the veggies and make sure you have a few healthier options with less fat, less sugar and less calories.
  • Great substitutions are to use applesauce or pumpkin instead of oil in muffins, cookies, or breads.
  • In place of sugar, try a sugar substitute or fruit purées.
  • Try Greek yogurt in replace of heavy sour cream or cream cheese for savory dishes.
  • Don’t forget to load up on the veggies and go for nutritional dense food like turkey, sweet potatoes, fresh cranberries, chest nuts and green beans.  At least there is still some nutrients in these. (Hopefully, they were not over cooked or drowning in butter!)

Eat Mindfully

This is a great time to eat mindfully, not only during the holidays like Thanksgiving, but for every day.  This is a huge tip if you want to lose pounds! We are all on the go, especially during Thanksgiving (travel, shopping, entertaining, etc.) but we need to slow down. This helps you to savor your meals.

  • A food journal would be a great tool right about now to help you monitor your meals.
  • Try to not hurry, try to watch your portions and try to skip seconds and you may just realize you don’t need them after all. This would be, in thanks, to that healthy breakfast and snack you chose in between. See how this works? This way you can still indulge without packing on all the pounds. Just be smart.
  • Remember to eat until you are SATISFIED, NOT STUFFED!

Try to Not Socialize by the Appetizer Table

Such a simple tip. Think about it. Ever been stuck with the awkwardness (we all have that one relative, right!) and then you look down a beautiful tray of fresh baked cookies or fried appetizers that are calling your name in hopes they will save you! Even if you are having a great time with all the food, you will eat mindlessly if you stay by the appetizer table. This takes you out of the present moment.

  • I say, grab some items on a small plate and walk away.
  • I also love to put a spoon in bowls of food like nuts, so people know how much they are putting in their hand. A simple tip with a great result and no one will notice. Plus, it’s more sanitary! Nuts are so great for you but not in HANDFULS!

Stay Active

Not a food tip, but you knew it was coming because I am a trainer! Exercise is usually put off  this time of year but I encourage you to not avoid exercise this year. In a dream world you would start the day off hitting the gym or do a Turkey Trot as I mentioned earlier. That can too much to ask though. So instead, I encourage you to be the motivator and keep the family active.

  • The best tip is to MOVE after the big meal.
  • This is a perfect time for the family to take a walk and have quality time together.
  • Record the game and put everything on pause. A walk, bike ride, hike, or taking the dog for a walk are all great activities. Plus, the kids will need to burn off some energy so have fun with them.
  • Play Frisbee, have plank or push up competitions and see who can do the most jumping jacks or burpee’s while you are at it. This will make you feel better and keep you healthy. Then when it’s time for pie, you won’t feel sluggish and you can still indulge!

So, that’s it! Try your best to focus on the holiday meal with friends and family. Be grateful for all you have and give thanks for all your blessings. We are all so fortunate to have this amazing food along with our health that ties us together. Give thanks and celebrate! Try to maintain your weight and not lose it. We all need a day of celebration that only comes once a year. Follow these tips you can have your “pumpkin pie and eat it too.”

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours. When you coming over?

EAT WELL. STAY FIT. FEEL GREAT

Source:  by Monica Nelson

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