So this week I thought I'd focus on something that we all have...
Good news though - Fat doesn't make you FAT!
In fact it is essential to our ongoing good health.
Not only does it help our body to absorb vitamins and minerals, it also produces and releases hormones that affect your organs.
But now don't get all complacent about your body fat.
There are 2 different types of fat.
And where they are found is critical.
Just like in real estate, it's a case of Location, Location, Location!
There is subcutaneous fat.
This is the fat that lies below your skin. It keeps you warm and cushions you from a fall or bump. It stores calories.
It is PINCHABLE.
The other type of fat is Visceral Fat.
It stores calories too.
It is found deep inside your abdominal cavity. It surrounds your organs. It is Firm to press.
It is not squishy and pinchable.
When you have too much visceral fat it can increase your LDL cholesterol. That is the bad kind.
It can also increase your blood pressure.
Visceral fat makes your body less sensitive to insulin which can increase your chances of Type 2 diabetes.
How do you know if you have too much visceral fat?
It is all about apples and pears!
What does fruit have to do with it, you ask...
Well think of the shapes of these 2 fruits.
And apple is round and a pear is triangular.
They give you a picture of where fat is stored on your body.
Pears store weight on their hips, thighs and bum.
And it is subcutaneous fat.
It is surface level fat.
Apples on the other hand, store fat around their bellys. Hence the name Belly Fat.
To get a more specific confirmation of whether you could be an apple or pear, there are 2 measurements to take.
The first is your waist measurement.
Feel where your hip bone is.
Feel the top of it and measure around from this point.
Take a couple of measurements
and Don't Hold Your Breath!
You want an accurate measurement!
It is best to have a waist circumference of less than 89cm (35in) if you are a woman.
If you are a man then your waist circumference should be less than 102cm (40in).
The second measurement is your hips.
Measure 20cm down from the top of your hips. That is the point at which to measure your hips.
Take the measurement with your feet together.
Now for a bit of maths.
Take your Waist Circumference and divide it by your Hip Circumference to get your waist to hip ratio.
WC/HC = WHR
e.g. 74cm/97cm = 0.77
Women should have a WHR of less than 0.8 and men should have a ratio of less than 1.
Having a greater ratio of visceral fat is linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes and other chronic diseases like Alzheimers.
Belly fat also produces inflammatory molecules that go into your blooldstream.
Continuous long term inflammation puts your body under severe stress.
As a result we become one big hormonal imbalance.
And that is a topic for another day.
So since you can't spot reduce fat around your tummy what can you do?
1) Keep track of your measurements. They are far more telling than the scale ever will be.
I have been tracking my measurement for 17 years, of and on!!
When you lose cm you're losing FAT.
If you're losing Fat then your risk of Type 2 diabetes and other lifestyle diseases are decreased.
2) Sweat each day.
Belly fat responds well to endurance exercise that raises your heart rate. Running, biking, swimming, rowing are going to help.
3) Choose to eat foods that are whole i.e. they aren't packaged and processed - vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats.
4) Sleep - get 7 - 9 hours of sleep per night. Your body needs time to repair itself. Lack of sleep affects your appetite.