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Waist Not, Want Not

Waist Not, Want Not

Having excess belly fat may put you at risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer—but there are steps you can take to keep yourself healthy.

“He will waste nothing; but he must want nothing.” —1772, theologian John Wesley
“Waste not, want not.” —A modern version of the time-tested saying.
Let’s update it even more: “Waist not, want not.”

That’s the conclusion of researchers who looked at 157,000 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative. They found normal weight women with so-called central obesity—that’s a fat tummy and a large waist size—risked premature death as much as obese women. And they were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and cancer than healthy-weight women without belly fat.

Why? Visceral fat clustered around internal organs is inflammatory and interferes with organs’ normal function. That’s why, at any weight, if you have a waist circumference greater than 35 inches (gals) or 39 inches (guys)—measured over your belly button while you suck your tummy in—it’s time for a flat-tummy campaign.

What you can do to help you trim inches off your belly fat:

  • Eat 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Ditch processed carbs and added sugars or syrups—pro-inflammatory foods increase inflammatory belly fat.
  • Work out using resistance bands and hand weights to build lean muscle mass and trigger fat-burning. One study found 20 minutes of strength-building exercise daily was twice as effective at reducing belly fat as 20 minutes of daily aerobics.
  • Eat most of your calories before 3 p.m. and try intermittent fasting. For more information, check out www.WhenWay.com and Dr. Mike’s book, What To Eat When. What you eat and when you eat are equally powerful ways to fight belly fat.
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