As women grow older, they tend to notice weight gain, especially around their mid-section. Gaining fat around their bellies is especially unhealthy, when compared to gaining fat in other body sections. This can lead to a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Throughout the aging process, and especially after menopause, a woman's weight gain tends to shift.
Rather than gaining weight on the arms and legs, it tends to be added to the abdomen. You may think that the fat you see on your abdomen is your only problem, but that is not true.
Fat is also deposited inside your body around you abdomen and is called visceral fat. This type of fat is not necessarily due to a slowing metabolism or lack of activity. Hormone changes and heredity also play a big role.
While it is true that gaining weight anywhere on your body is not healthy, extra weight gain in your abdomen is more so. Increased weight gain on your belly increases a woman's risk of heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, gallbladder problems, high blood pressure and colorectal cancer.
Research has shown that abdominal fat cells are not dormant. They are active. They produce hormones and other substances that can negatively affect your health. Too much visceral fat upsets your body's normal hormone balance. It has been shown that these fat induced cells can trigger insulin resistance, thus, putting you at risk for diabetes. Some cells produce excess estrogen, which increases your chances of breast cancer.
How do you know if your belly is putting you at risk for these health conditions? Some people will tell you to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI), but that can be confusing to do. If you really want to know if you are adding belly fat, simply take a tape measure and measure your mid-section. You will want to measure it at your navel. Do not "suck it in", simply stand up straight and breathe normal. Also, do not pull the tape measure tight so that it wrinkles your skin.
A women of a normal weight with an abdominal measurement of 35 inches or more, has an unhealthy concentration of abdominal fat. A measurement of 33 inches or more, no matter what your weight is, puts your health at an increased risk.
What do you do about it? For starters, make sure that you are eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Pay attention to what types of food you are eating and your serving size. Too often, we are eating several servings of a food at a time, thinking that it is only one serving. Try and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables rather than cakes and cookies.
Strength training has also been shown to help your body. Long after you have finished your workout, your body continues to burn fat, thus lowering your body weight. Talk to your doctor before incorporating weight training into your routine.
Finally, make sure that you are getting plenty of exercise. Thirty minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise is important to your health. Walking or riding a bike is a great way to shrink your belly. Again, before beginning an exercise program, talk to your doctor.
You can do it! You can get rid of your extra belly fat and decrease your risk for developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. All it takes is a little effort. Aren't you worth it?
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