Why Waist Circumference Matters More Than What You Weigh

I’ll be honest, I haven’t owned a pair of scales in……more than 10 years, so I don’t know what I weigh.

My experience with scales is that it can become a bit of an unhealthy habit, where you keep checking your weight and then berating yourself if you have put on even a few pounds. Of course, this isn’t everyone’s relationship and if you have a healthy relationship with the scales, carry on as you are but consider this too.

For my Clients I’ve noticed that if the scales don’t tell them what they hoped, it’s harder for them to stay motivated with positive diet changes. So I recommend them checking in less often. Once when we first start working together and then not for at least 8-12 weeks, depending on how they are processing. For me, lasting change is highly rated over quick wins.

I prefer to go with how I feel and how my clothes feel, that keeps me on track and if things are feeling a bit tight I reflect back on what I’ve been doing. It usually becomes clear at that point and I make an effort to get back to what I need to do. I also bear in mind that we go through natural fluctuations in our weight. Women with their mensural cycle and both Women and Men with the moon cycle, when the moon is at it’s fullest…we usually are too.

So whether you track your weight or not, track your waist circumference.

Waist Circumference – “Belly Fat”:

Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”?

The apple is round at the middle and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs.

THAT is what we’re talking about here.

Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases).

Yup – that apple!

And it’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”. The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there.

This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is. It’s this “un-pinchable” fat.

The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.

And the apple-shaped people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.

So as you can see where your fat is stored is more important that how much you weigh.

Am I an apple or a pear?

It’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not. The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape. You can do it right now.

Women, if your waist is 35” or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category. Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course.

For men the number is 40”.

Of course this isn’t a diagnostic tool. There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases. Waist circumference is just one of them.

If you have concerns definitely see your doctor.

Tips for helping reduce some belly fat:

Eat more fiber, as fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways. First of all it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food. Some examples of high-fiber foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.

Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer. It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.

Ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).

Move more. Get some aerobic exercise. Lift some weights. Walk and take the stairs. It all adds up. If you’d like to try a free mini yoga class in the comfort of your own home, sign up for my free video here

Stress less. Seriously, this has a huge effect on fat stores. Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.

Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look). If you have trouble sleeping, check out our workshop running with sleep expert Judy Clark from Babywinkz here

Recipe (High fiber side dish): Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels that are boiled have to be my least favourite way to eat them and sadly the way most people have been exposed to them. Have you ever tried roasted Brussels, or stir-fried, or chopped really finely into a salad…..they are gorgeous. Rethink brussels and give them a second chance!

Serves 4 – 5 mins prep time and 25 mins cooking time

1 lb Brussels sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)
2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice – you could also grate the rind in if you like a really lemony flavour
dash salt and pepper
Optional – fresh herbs if you have them available

Preheat oven to 400F/ 200C or gas mark 6.

In a bowl toss sprouts with garlic, oil, and lemon juice. Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes. Toss. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

If you need more veggie recipes I have a free download on my website especially for you, grab that here

Stay Healthy

Hannah x

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