My wife told me that new studies suggest carrying weight around your belly is the worst place to be fat. I was never aware that you had any choice in where you carried your weight, but the news dismayed me a little bit. I’ve been developing a rather worrying pot belly for the last few years – mostly as a result of a desk-based work life combined with a really lazy diet.
There are penalties for rocking the pot bellied look: you’re at an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. And you don’t want either of those things knocking on your door.
I’m not a doctor – just a slightly freaked-out dad/geek who’s been sitting on his ass for too many years. I’ve done a little bit of reading around the topic – here’s a good quote from a website called A Healthy Me:
Fat around the midsection is a strong risk factor for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some types of cancers, says Samuel Klein, MD, the director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.
Despite many years of studies — and an overabundance of potential study volunteers — experts aren’t exactly sure why people with large midsections are such frequent targets for disease. They do know that fat cells actually regulate metabolic functions, and many experts believe fat cells in the belly release especially large amounts of fatty acids, which wreak havoc on a person’s blood sugar and insulin metabolism.
Many other sites are talking about a recent study commissioned by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline called Visceral Fat and the Weight Debate which goes on to link belly fat to serious diseases. Now, that report may be in their interests (since they’re a maker of a weight loss drug), but for me it’s a kick up the ass to do something about this pot belly. Time to lose weight and tone it up. But how?
Avoid quick fixes
I’m convinced that quick fixes are a fool’s errand. Professor David Haslam, one of the authors of the Glaxo report reminds us:
Crash diets can do more harm than good. Invariably weight is put back on, with some of the weight regained accumulating as visceral fat.
My best guess is that in order to have a lasting effect on my own pot belly, I need to get some combination of better diet and increased exercise. Possibly with an emphasis on toning up that abdomainal section and burning the weight off that area.
I’m certainly not a fan of pill-based or surgical solutions. Maybe it’s my inner hippy, but I think a lifestyle change is the best way to tackle this problem. A better diet (my local Chinese restaurant will probably go out of business) and finding a way to work regular exercise into my routine has to be the way to beat this.
Losing the weight?
I’ll certainly consider doing an initial weight-in and perhaps photoblog the process as well to chart the journey. We’ll also have to consider writing some posts about healthy eating and exercise.
And if you’re a bit of a diet or exercise buff, please consider signing up and sharing your expertise with the rest of us lard arses!
Photo attribution: Tobyotter on Flickr (no, that’s not my physique!)