Right now popular opinions of beauty emphasize being skinny. A century ago, popular products were ones that would help you put on weight. Following society’s definition of beauty solely for the sake of appearances has never been a good idea, but science has taught us that there are special concerns surrounding abdominal fat.
Belly fat is something that affects many of us. Even if we’re not fat elsewhere on our bodies, for some reason it just seems to build up on the stomach. Unfortunately, however, belly fat carries extra risks than fat stored elsewhere on the body.
You shouldn’t aim to lose fat around your belly because you want to look better – let your health be a better motivator. There are a few conditions associated with fat in this specific area, including:
- Type 2 diabetes,
- Cardiovascular disease,
- Colorectal cancer,
- And an overall increased risk of premature death.
Research has also shown that fat around the belly is different from other types of fat. It’s more dangerous for your health than the fat concentrated around the legs or the buttocks. Belly fat could promote rises in blood sugar levels, hence the link to type 2 diabetes. This is why it’s still a risk even if you don’t have much fat elsewhere on the body.
How to Measure Your Belly Fat
Although it can’t detect all types of belly fat, your waist measurement is a very good indicator of whether you’re in the healthy range or not. It’s a lot more accurate than only using the scales, or relying on BMI (Body Mass Index) measurements.
To measure your waist, do so around your bare stomach, just above your hips. Make sure that the tape is level horizontally and don’t pull in your stomach when you measure.
The ideal waist measurement for women is under 35 inches, and for men it’s under 40.
Watch Out, Even if You’re Skinny
Don’t think that you’re completely healthy just because you’re skinny. You could have unhealthy belly fat that’s hidden close to your organs. This kind of fat can only be detected by medical scans, but it could still be there and it could still be putting your health at risk!
In fact, studies have shown that if you have a healthy BMI but lots of hidden abdominal fat, you could be more at risk than those with an obese BMI. Many just don’t realize that they need to do something about this kind of fat!
The truth is that belly fat can have negative consequences for you no matter what your overall weight. So keep an eye on your waist size, include physical activity in your daily routine and make sure to stick to a balanced diet. Although you can’t target weight loss specifically to your belly, exercising and eating better will make you lose weight all over the body.
Skinny isn’t always the goal. Achieving a healthy weight, feeling energetic, and having a positive self image is what to shoot for.