Do you have a grabbable gut?

You don’t need a doctor to tell you that being overweight is unhealthy. But rather than focusing on the numbers on the scale, it is important to consider WHERE fat is located on your body when it comes to assessing your health risks. Over the past couple of years, the Heart Foundation has been running graphic ad campaigns around Australia trying to raise awareness about ‘grabbable guts’ or excess weight around the waist. These ads show that even if you are not overweight, having a ‘grabbable gut’ can be dangerous. Research shows that people with high amounts of fat around their abdomens- compared to other parts of the body- have a higher risk of developing health problems including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. This is because the amount of fat stored around your abdomen is usually indicative of fat surrounding your internal organs. Surprisingly, belly fat is a better indicator of your chances of developing T2 diabetes than your BMI (body mass index)- the ratio of weight to height. If you do have a grabbable gut don’t despair as there are simple things you can do to rid yourself of any excess baggage around your waist and improve your health in the long term.

What you can do:

Improve your diet: Losing weight around your mid-section is a great start to get your health back on track. The less fat you have around your waist, the lower your risks are of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. You can start by avoiding sugary drinks, watching the types of fats that you eat and reducing your portion sizes. Eating the wrong foods puts unneeded calories into your body, which is then stored as fat.

Get some exercise: I say some because I know how hard it can be to get started and I think some exercise is better than none at all. Along with a healthy diet, exercise assists you in losing weight, improves mood, boosts energy and combats disease. The health benefits of physical activity are numerous and should not be underestimated. Remember that change doesn’t happen overnight and simple modifications to your lifestyle can make a HUGE difference to your overall health!

Until next time, stay safe and be healthy!


T2 Diabetes: simple ways to reduce your risks

Diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate, but it’s also one of the most preventable diseases around. According to Diabetes Australia, 280 people are diagnosed with Diabetes every day and more than half the cases of type 2 diabetes are preventable. Maintaining a healthy weight and leading an active lifestyle are integral to preventing T2 diabetes.

This sounds easy in theory but in practice, it’s hard to implement. When most of us think of losing or managing weight, it can seem like a chore. But losing weight doesn’t have to involve munching on carrot sticks and slaving away at the gym for hours on end.  That doesn’t appeal to me…or most people for that matter.  Of course you could choose to turn to one of the countless weight loss gimmicks or fad-diets around, promising you instant weight loss with minimal (if any) effort.  But be warned that more often than not, these gimmicks can produce unsustainable weight loss results and are detrimental to your health in the long run. So if it sounds too good to be true then chances are, it probably is.

Diabetes prevention doesn’t have to be difficult and it certainly doesn’t have to be boring. There are simple ways you can improve your overall health and reduce your risks of developing T2 diabetes so here are some tips:

1. Get Moving!

Being inactive can significantly increase your chances of developing T2. According to studies, every two hours you spend watching TV on the couch could increase your chances of developing T2 diabetes by 14%. Studies have also shown that walking briskly for 30 minutes a day reduces the risk of developing diabetes by up to 30%.

2. Clean up your diet

The general rule is that the less processed food you eat, the better. Try to avoid refined carbohydrates (including white bread, white rice, pasta, donuts, potato chips etc.) and opt for whole grain and high fibre products instead. Also include more fruit and veggies in your diet.

3. Ditch the fast food

Fast food is often high in sugar and fat content which can contribute to excess weight. Most fast food consists of empty calories, having little or no nutritional value and being high in sodium (salt), saturated and trans fats (the stuff that clog your arteries). While the low cost and convenience of fast food might make it appealing, giving into junk food cravings simply isn’t worth it in the long run!

4. Drink coffee

According to this Harvard study, there’s good reason to give-in to your coffee cravings. The study found that coffee drinkers who downed more than 6 cups of coffee a day had a 29% – 54% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

5. Eat blueberries

Now this one is easy. Research shows that eating blueberries can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 26%. So add blueberries to your smoothies, eat some with low-fat yoghurt or on its own. The options are endless so make sure you always have a punnet stored in the fridge just in case those sugar cravings kick in. Tip: Blueberries can be quite expensive so grab a few punnets when they’re on sale and store them in the freezer for later use!

How do you keep your junk-food cravings at bay? Please share in the comments section below.

Until next time, stay safe and be healthy!