It is estimated that around 30% of people struggling with excess weight also struggle with excessive waist fat accumulation. Abdominal obesity leads to hypertension and diabetes, so steps must be taken quickly. How do you recognise the condition? Is diet and exercise enough to get rid of the problem?
Three ways to diagnose abdominal obesity
There are several ways to find out if the problem affects you. One of them is to calculate your BMI (body mass index). How do you do this yourself? You need to divide your weight by your height squared and given in metres. As an alternative to determining abdominal obesity, there are calculators available on the Internet that will do this more quickly. The result obtained can be compared to the BMI norms, which are as follows:
below 18.5 points – underweight,
between 18.5 and 24.99 – weight is normal,
above 24.99 – overweight.
However, it is important to know that the result will be influenced by factors such as age, gender, muscle mass and bone mass, so the BMI in men may be different from that in women. It should also be mentioned that the criterion obtained only gives the amount of extra kilograms and does not inform about the location of the fat tissue, which is crucial in the case of abdominal obesity. BMI can therefore be taken as a signal to take additional measures.
A better way is to use a tailor’s tape measure to accurately measure our waist circumference. It is the waist circumference that indicates our security or the presence of significant obesity. The correct value should be a minimum of:
94 cm in men,
80 cm for women.
The second indicator for abdominal obesity is waist-hip-ratio (WHR), which is the ratio of waist circumference to hip circumference. If you want to calculate your WHR, you need to divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference. In this case, points are considered as minimum limits:
1.0 in men,
0.8 in women.
If we fall within the correct criteria, we can congratulate ourselves. And in the event that we exceed them significantly, something should be done about it. However, before taking any steps, we should first know what exactly contributes to abdominal obesity.
The most common causes of abdominal obesity
The rush of life and the resulting excessive stress mean that, although we are constantly on the move, we lack physical activity. In our free time, we want to relax from the difficulties of everyday life – so we turn to the smartphone or television, which are not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. A lack of exercise means a lack of physical fatigue, and a lack of fatigue means a lack of sleep, which, after a short period of time, results in energy deprivation and thus the development of abdominal obesity.
In order to provide ourselves with the necessary dose of energy during the day, it is at work or school that we reach for large quantities of fats and sugars, which, although they work for a while, result in rapid weight gain. Candy bars, sugary drinks, crisps and other such foods can be significantly processed. Abdominal obesity is also fostered by emotions, because who among us hasn’t reached for something sweet when they want to improve their mood? Of course, eating a few bars of chocolate is even advisable, but it should never be the main meal or a way to deal with stress.
It is also commonly reported that the condition is hormone-related, so it can occur completely naturally – especially in menopausal women. At this time, female hormones give way to the production of male hormones. The rest of the factors responsible for the occurrence of abdominal obesity include genetic conditions and the effects of certain drugs. However, we should remember that the most important substrate is diet and exercise.
How to fight abdominal obesity?
There are several ways to overcome this modern disease of civilisation. It is worth starting it with a visit to a specialist, where we will get detailed information on dietary recommendations, the condition of the body and potential diseases that have arisen as a result of abdominal obesity.
Basic measures to be taken include:
Blood morphology – obese people who provide themselves with large amounts of processed food lack essential vitamins and minerals. Deficiencies in folic acid, vitamin B12 and iron can result in anaemia. It is therefore worth having a blood test to provide yourself with the necessary health information.
Insulin and glucose levels – an inadequate lifestyle results in the accumulation of significant levels of sugars in the body, which affects the sensitivity of cells to insulin, which in turn causes insulin resistance. If ignored, the problem can lead to the onset of diabetes.
Urinalysis – like a morphology, a urinalysis is one of the basic tests that needs to be undertaken. Results that are abnormal may indicate kidney failure and diabetes,
Hormone test – significantly exceeded hormone levels may also indicate thyroid problems. If symptoms such as fatigue and hair breakage occur along with significant weight gain, it is worth reaching for a comprehensive diagnosis,
Behavioural therapy – it is difficult for anyone to change their lifestyle, so it is a good idea to take advantage of therapy that teaches us how to not only follow a set diet and physical activity correctly, but also to rest well and maintain a healthy sleep.
Once we have fulfilled the above steps, we will be armed with the knowledge to help us get rid of abdominal obesity.
If we are ready to change our eating habits, it is worth remembering the key principles, which include eating small (about 5) meals throughout the day at the same time. Make sure to take small breaks of a few hours between them to burn off unnecessary calories from the abdomen.
In order to reduce abdominal obesity, it is also a good idea to enrich the diet with fresh fruit and vegetables, which should be included in every prepared dish – not fried, but steamed, to which the following spices can be added:
And here, it is important to remember to follow the advice given during the research, because when preparing a meal, special attention must be paid to fruits with a high glycaemic index. These include those with the following glycaemic points:
dried dates – 103,
watermelon – 72,
melon – 65,
pineapple – 59,
apricots – 57.
A common mistake with abdominal obesity is also the excessive avoidance of fats. Fat is essential for life, especially the healthy kind. Specifically Omega-3, which is found in fish, almonds, walnuts, seeds and vegetable oils (rapeseed and linseed).
On the other hand, white bread, sweetened cornflakes, sweets, tinned vegetables, candied and canned fruit in sweetened marinades should be limited or completely excluded from the diet. Particularly avoid salty snacks, alcohol, fast food and instant meals, which are bad for your stomach.
Diet alone is not enough to reduce obesity, so various types of exercise will also be necessary to burn the abdomen. It is assumed that these should be done at least 3-4 times a week for about an hour. If possible, it is also a good step to give up public transport or getting around by car.
With abdominal obesity, it is advisable to go for daily walks of several kilometres, which can be varied by jogging or cycling. Swimming pools and gyms are also advisable, as in the case of the latter, we can use a variety of equipment – treadmills, stationary bicycles and even take part in group classes.