Whittle Your Waist

Hidden belly fat poses silent health threats.

When your waistline gets bigger, you need to buy larger pants and belts. Too large of a waist can also increase your risk for many diseases. These include some types of cancers, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. It’s not the fat under the skin that you can pinch that triggers these problems. It’s the fat you cannot see that is around body organs deep inside your abdomen. This is called visceral fat. It is absorbed into the bloodstream easily making it more likely to clog arteries to the heart.


What is a healthy waist measurement?

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Whether you are overweight or not, you may have too much abdominal fat. To find out, place a measuring tape at the top of your hipbone. Then bring it all the way around, level with your naval. Keep the tape parallel to the floor. Make sure it’s not too tight. You have too much fat in your abdomen if your waist measures:

•  35 inches or more if you are a woman

•  40 or more inches if you are a man

Three steps to whittle your waist:

1.  Exercise −You can do a thousand sit-ups a day and still have visceral fat. To trim both the fat you can pinch and hidden fat, do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day. If you can’t fit in one 30 minute workout, break it down to three 10-minute sessions.

2.  Diet − No diet targets visceral fat alone. But, when you lose weight overall, you lose abdominal fat.

3.  Sleep – Get six to seven hours per night.

Action Step

Increase foods with soluble fiber. These include lentils, kidney and other beans, oat bran, oatmeal, and the fleshy parts of apples and carrots.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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