WHY IT’S TIME TO TAME YOUR tummy
Do you – or a loved one – need a little bit of motivation to get those love handles under control? The experts explain why trimming that tummy can be a literal lifesaver…
Here’s the truth – it can be a lot trickier to manage your diabetes when you are carrying around excess weight. And, when that weight is sitting around your belly, you are also exposed to other complications with health, such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. That’s why there has never been a better time than right now to take some action against the belly bulge.
Why is belly fat bad for me and my diabetes?
There are two kinds of belly fat – subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is that jiggle that’s right under your skin. While it may be annoying, it is relatively benign. Visceral fat, which is the fat that you cannot see, is a different story. “Visceral fat continuously releases free fatty acids into the bloodstream,” explains endocrinologist Professor Joseph Proietto from the University of Melbourne.
“This can cause fatty liver. It also stimulates excess glucose, which goes to the beta cells in the pancreas that control insulin function and damages them.” Visceral fat also produces harmful inflammatory chemicals. “These are linked to conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and may contribute to compromised immunity and less healthy organ function,” explains Professor Proietto.
What actually causes belly fat?
While some people are more prone to accumulating belly fat than others – particularly men and post-menopausal women – eating too much and exercising too little carries most of the blame for an expanding waistline. Certain medications can also cause your waistline to expand – turn to page 82 for more information. In addition, having higher concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol in your blood encourages the storage of excess energy as visceral fat, explains Associate Professor Stephen Boutcher from the University of New South Wales. “High cortisol is caused by poor sleep, work stress, depression and smoking,” he says, so it is
important to consider all of these factors if you want to reduce visceral fat.
You’ve got my attention – what can I do about my belly fat?
The good news – and yes, there is good news – is you don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle to get rid of unhealthy belly fat. Making small but powerful changes to your diet and exercise regime can help you lose weight and give your diabetes management a boost at the same time. While talking to your care team is the first step in getting your belly under control, this special will help arm you with all the vital information you need to kick your weight-loss goals!
Regularly check how you measure up to ensure you do not hold excess visceral fat