Belly Fat – More than Just Unsightly – It’s Unhealthy
|February 4, 2010||Posted by healthsmartmom under Diet and Exercise, Exercises To Lose Belly Fat|
If you’re a busy mom like me, you usually don’t consider it a big deal to carry a few extra pounds on your frame (okay so now maybe it’s more than a few pounds!) You just chalk it up to “baby” weight (even though your kids are all in elementary school now!) However, if those extra pounds are around your middle, then you could be sporting a problem bigger than your waistline. Excess belly fat can affect the health of the rest of your body.
What do you know about belly fat?
In women, during child-bearing years, fat accumulates in the hips, thighs and also in the abdomen (seriously, where does it NOT accumulate?).But that extra belly fat is a health concern and a there are good reasons to start now to rid yourself of your extra baby weight.
Not only does having children add to your belly, but so does your age. As a person ages, they lose muscle unless something is done to preserve it. After the age of forty, muscle is lost at a faster rate. What replaces that muscle is usually fat. Our lives grow more sedentary and the pounds begin to pack on.
How Much is Too Much?
One way to tell if you have too much belly fat (besides your pants) is to take a measurement of your waist-to-hip ratio. Your waist measurement should not be larger than your hip measurement. Your waist measurement is taken at the level of your abdomen above the hipbone. Even without the hip measurement, a waist measurement above forty inches is a sign that you may need to lose a few pounds to come back into a proper waist-to-hip ratio.
When you have extra belly fat you are at greater risk for certain conditions like:
- Diabetes (Type 2)
- Heart disease
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Sleep apnea
These conditions can be treated with proper diet and exercise. Foods which are lower in fat and higher in fiber are more filling. Insoluble fiber helps to clean out your digestive system and takes a bit of fat from your food along with it. Fiber is also instrumental in lowering your blood cholesterol levels.
Stroke is caused when a blood clot or piece of plaque breaks loose and travels to the brain. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can increase your levels of good cholesterol (HDL). Good cholesterol helps to prevent dangerous plaques from forming in your blood vessels in the first place.
Sleep apnea is the cessation of breathing during the cycle of sleep. Your airway closes off several times during the night. People with sleep apnea often snore a lot as a means of keeping their airway open. Returning to a healthy weight often resolves the situation.
Many of these conditions can be dealt with successfully once the weight is lost.
And with the rise in childhood obesity – now is a great time to start a healthy family routine that includes more healthy snacks (and less junk food) and daily activity for the entire family.