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!