Do You Have The Dangerous Type Of Belly Fat?
Not all fat is created equal! Some fat is fairly harmless…it’s the stuff you can’t see that’s the killer. Here’s a quick overview. There are two types of fat, subcutaneous and visceral. Knowing the differences between the two is an important factor in understanding how to shed the pounds!
Subcutaneous is the soft, fleshy fat just beneath the surface of the skin. That’s the fat where you can “pinch an inch,” but it’s also that fat that we can lose most quickly through diet and exercise.
The more dangerous type of fat is called visceral fat…It’s associated with a variety of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and sleep difficulties. Visceral fat is located underneath the abdominal wall, that’s marbled through your muscles, organs and intestines. Imagine the marbling in a ribeye steak.
A recent New York Times article said, “Although everyone carries some visceral fat, gaining excessive amounts seems to happen only if there is a dysfunction, often tied to age, in the storage of normal or ‘subcutaneous’ fat.”
“There are several possible theories for this, including that the body simply runs out of the ability to make new healthy subcutaneous fat cells to replace old, dying ones; or that weight gained quickly overwhelms the body’s ability to store healthy fat…There may also be an inflammatory process within subcutaneous fat that causes the dysfunction. Mouse studies suggest that in women, hormone changes during menopause may also play a role.”
Visceral fat wreaks havoc in our bodies is because it releases adipokines, which spikes blood pressure, zaps muscle quality, and diminishes insulin sensitivity, which can set you up for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Here’s how you can tell, right here, right now, what type of fat you have…
- Lie down on your back, and with your index fingers, find your pelvic bones
- Tighten your abs
- Feel your abs from side to side
- If your abs stay fairly flat while you’re pushing down, then the fat you have is subcutaneous. But, if your abs stick out, it means you have visceral fat…the dangerous type!
Do you carry a dangerous amount of belly fat?
Try the 10-second string trick to see how much belly fat you have! Cut a string to the length of your height, then fold it in half and wrap it around your waist. If the ends of the string overlap, then your waist is less than half of your height…right where you want to be! If the string is snug, you’re not alone.
In fact, two-thirds of all women are affected by abdominal obesity. If you’re a woman, you fall in this category if you have a waistline of more than 35 inches. For men, abdominal obesity is defined as a waistline of more than 40 inches.
Women who have an “apple” shape figures (carry their fat around their belly) run a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and other obesity-related ailments compared to those who carry their weight in their hips, buns and thighs (“pear” shaped).
If the ends of your string still have a few inches to go, here are 3 ways to combat belly fat:
1. Abs Are Made In The Kitchen!
Remember, abs are made in the kitchen! And, the key to healthy eating is to plan out your week. When you prepare your meals throughout the week, you keep down both your expenses and preparation time. I like to carve out Sundays as a day to prepare extra chicken breasts and freeze for the upcoming week. During this time, it’s also helpful to chop up veggies for fresh and tasty salads. Put these ingredients in mason jars and store in the refrigerator, so when it comes time to eat your lunch, all you have to do is pull out your pre-cut veggies, put on your chicken breasts, and within a few minutes, your lunch is made! Try out this recipe:
Delicious Quinoa Mason Jar Salad
In the bottom of the mason jar, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard and honey. Mix together until the oil and vinegar combine. Layer in zucchini, red peppers, peas, radishes, quinoa and spinach.
2 – Shoot For Small Action Steps
Any goal can be broken down to small action steps that can be completed one little step at a time. That’s the way you build a bridge, write a book, lose weight, or change your life…step by step. Instead of focusing on, “I want to lose 20 pounds,” focus on, “I’m going to work out five times this week.” And next week, make a similar goal.If you find that you’re not taking your small action steps, then either the steps weren’t really doable or you need to go back and check your motivation. The more specific your action steps are, the finer you can break them down into doable increments, the more successful you’re going to be.
3 – Challenge a friend
I’m often asked to name the most important aspect about working out. That’s easy: consistency! The most powerful forces in our lives are our habits. You probably have a number of things in your life (for better or worse) that you do habitually, without thinking. If you can make exercise one of them, you’ve won the battle.I have a hard time even telling people what my exercise “regimen” is because I don’t think of it that way. Being physically active is woven into the fabric of my life; I don’t think of it as a separate thread.One of the easiest ways to make your exercise consistent is to make it social, and challenge a friend. Gather a few friends together and invite each other out for hikes, walks, and other outdoor activities where you get to socialize while burning calories. You can even challenge one of your friends to my 28-day Fall Fitness Challenge!
4 – Go For Broke
Many people mistakenly think the only solution to getting rid of your pouch is to do crunches until the cows come home. But even if you have a strong, firm core, you still have to burn off that top layer of fat with the right kind of cardio. And, that’s where interval (or HIIT) training comes in.
HIIT is a simple concept. After warming up, push yourself with bursts of high intensity, then pull back the intensity to a steady state. Burst…then pull back, and repeat. This type of training will help burn the fat on your body, including your belly, in the fastest time. These workouts push you out of your comfort zone, and that’s when change starts to happen…in your workouts, your body, and your weight. Get started going for broke with this 1-min HIIT quick step!
DON’T FORGET…ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN!
80% of what your abs look like depends on what you eat.
An essential step to eliminating belly fat is balancing your blood sugar. By emphasizing protein at each meal and limiting your non-veggie carb intake, you can step off the blood sugar roller coaster and OUTSMART FOOD CRAVINGS that sabotage your progress.
Not All Protein Shakes Are Created Equal!
Read the Labels and See the Difference! Go to any health food store and you’ll see – there are a lot of protein powders out there! Even if you try to read the labels, it can be tough to navigate through the long list of unfamiliar ingredients. Here’s what I look for in a quality protein:
- Quality of Whey
If the protein powder you’re using doesn’t have these characteristics, it’s a waste of time and money!