I’ve come to terms with my quads, I enjoy squeezing my arms which have developed thanks to yoga, and during the Summer I often distract myself by playing with the bulge on my flexed calf. But there is an area I’m always a tad weary about. It’s my stomach. It is where I tend to store extra fat. I’m kind of a dude, actually, since women have a greater tendency to accumulate excess fat around their hips, thighs, and butt; Dear god, for once can’t that extra slice of cake go to my butt cheekies? Alas. In fact, I get a little neurotic about my stomach area. Most days I do the whole bit where I stand in front of the mirror, pinch, and frown, turn to the side, and pinch again. Chris, being the dutiful boyfriend he is, will comment that he loves me no matter what, but it still doesn’t take away the concerns, which stem not only from aesthetic consideration, but also health factors. Unfortunately, where you hold your fat matters, and stomach fat can cause a whole mess of maladies.
Let’s break down the two layers of fat. The first is subcutaneous fat, which is just below the skin. Subcutaneous fat is the kind of fat people dislike for vanity reasons. But the fat doesn’t stop there. Moving into further layers of skin we reach visceral fat. Ew, it’s a word that sounds so similar to gristle (and it’s not to far off.) And believe me, visceral fat should make you go “ewww” and “ahhh!” Visceral fat hugs your organs. And this isn’t a loving kind of hug. It’s the type of hug your big brother will give you that crushes your bones. It can affect your cholesterol levels and raise your blood pressure. Here are some of the other negative side effects excessive visceral fat can have on your body:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
It gets a little trickier. Just like I discussed Skinny Fat several blog posts ago, sedentary men and women who are naturally thin may also be at risk of carrying visceral fat. Because it’s not as apparent as someone with a “beer belly”, a thin person wouldn’t know they carried any unless they were to undergo a high-tech MRI. But why go spend the money when you can realistically audit yourself with a few simple questions. Do I work out regularly? Do I eat healthy food? Do I practice portion control? If you don’t do any of the above and do fill yourself with greasy foods more than fruits, vegetables, etc., then there is a good chance you might carry some visceral fat. No more playing out of sight-out of mind!
Thankfully this post isn’t all doom and gloom. Like most diet related health issues, they can corrected with time and patience. For one, practice portion control. This is much easier to do if you are able to cook your own meals or chose the food you eat at a dining hall rather than eating out a restaurant; don’t you just hate how the meals are too big for one sitting, but are two little if cut in half? Conspiracy, I tell ya!
Here is a good way to portion control your meals for your body size, because you use your own hand as a “yard stick.”
Proper Portion Sizes:
1 serving of lean protein= Palm of your hand
1 serving of complex carbs from whole grains: 1 cupped hand
1 serving of complex carbs from Fruits & Veggies: 2 cupped hands together
(Source: The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno)
The next thing you need to do is get off your lovely behind and start working out. Sigh, this goes for me as well… I feel as if this goes without saying, but don’t, don’t, don’t for the love of all things common sense crash diet. In fact, studies have shown that crash dieting can encourage visceral fat. Exercise smart. If you feel that you really need to work on that area you have to push a little harder than someone who wants to maintain. Walking briskly and worth purpose (no feet dragging here!) for 30 minutes, six times a week will help stave of accumulation. Bring that walk to a jog, start lifting weights, and/or try out some HIIT and you’ll blast that gunk away! And there are so many YouTube trainers out there with certifications and free workouts, so there’s no need to plunk down dollar bills on a gym membership. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to lose my stomach fat for vanity reasons. But at the same time I realize exercising and dieting in a safe, slow, and appropriate manner will also keep my unseen organs healthy, which is what really counts.
Peel Away ❤
Look what I did last night! One giant step for me;one dying breath for visceral fat kind!
Links to check out