By: Optavia

Excess Belly Fat

As a health coach, I always sit down with a potential client to do a health assessment, discover their current reality, and then determine whether one of our programs would be a good fit.  In that process, I often hear people describe themselves as "healthy", except that they have 50, 75 or 100 pounds to lose.  Because they have not been diagnosed with any specific disease, they are under the assumption that they are in good health.  But abdominal fat can have the potential to cause dangerous illness. 

For women, a waist measurement of more than 35 inches, or for men more than 40 can have far more serious implications than just how you look, or how your clothes are fitting. The subcutaneous fat that makes up those "love handles" or extra padding on the thighs or butt is generally harmless.  But that deeper belly fat, the visceral fat that accumulates around abdominal organs....has been very strongly linked to heart disease, cancer and dementia.  This type of fat is not the kind you can shed with doing ab exercises.  It is only through weight loss using a wholesome diet and exercise that will aid in getting rid of it.

The reason that visceral fat cells are so dangerous is that they secrete hormones and a host of other chemicals that are linked to breast cancers, colorectal cancer, coronary heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Given that 2/3 of American women are overweight or obese, losing weight may be the best defense for lowering the risk of these diseases. However, no pill or potion has been scientifically shown to dissolve abdominal fat.  You have to work at it by adopting a healthy lifestyle and engaging in exercise that burns calories. 

Becoming aware of the sugar you are taking in (it's in everything!), avoiding refined carbs, eating an adequate balance of protein and fiber, getting enough sleep and moving your body will all help to bring about the change you are looking for. And don't try to do it alone!  Find a buddy or a coach to walk alongside you!