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Beer bellies and muffin tops: Are you hiding behind cute names for abdominal fat?

January has arrived, and with the New Year typically come thoughts of a renewed commitment to health and wellness. Maybe those jeans are a little bit tighter after the excesses of Christmas. (Just me? No, didn’t think so.) Maybe you’re hiding under a t-shirt at the beach. Or maybe you’ve always done those things but you’ve decided that it’s time to really change this time.

As a society, we have lots of cute and funny sounding names for abdominal fat. We call it our beer belly, a muffin top, joke about our love handles or our cuddly belly. But the harsh reality is that there is nothing cute, sweet or harmless about abdominal fat stores. Fat around your belly is literally suffocating your vital organs. That visceral, or hidden, fat is a known contributor to increased risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, a range of cancers and more.beerbelly-dexascanner-bodymeasure-sydney

In our blogs we keep banging on about the risks of abdominal fat. That’s because the research into the health implications of this type of fat is very clear – too much abdominal fat is a killer. But, on the flip side, we continually see our customers turn their health around through embracing a healthier lifestyle that focuses on freshly prepared foods and plenty of activity. With regular DEXA scans, we can see the evidence of this dangerous, deadly fat burning away and being replaced with muscle mass and lean tissue.

Five top tips for shifting that beer belly

  1. OK, we’re not going to be popular for this one, but it’s a no-brainer. Cut back on the beer. Sorry. Alcohol is high in carbohydrates but has no nutritional value. Your body will burn off alcohol before any other food, so it leads to your body storing additional calories as fat.
  2. Embrace vegetables. Increasing your vegetable intake is one of the easiest ways to reduce processed carbohydrates from your diet. Carbs aren’t bad, we just tend to eat too many in our modern, processed food culture. Try out zucchini noodles with your bolognaise sauce, or give cauliflower rice a try with your curry. There are loads of easy and tasty ideas to make veggies a bigger part of your diet.
  3. Move more. When you are starting out, the most important thing is just to be more active. Find something that you enjoy (or can at least tolerate). If you’re already active, increase the amount of weight bearing exercise that you do. Building more muscle mass will help your body to be a more efficient fat burning machine. Weight bearing exercise also improves your bone density, which is very important for both women AND men as we age.liftingweights-dexascanner-sydney-strength
  4. Rest better. Studies show that a lack of sleep is a contributing factor to excess fat storage. Inadequate or poor quality sleep can impede your body’s ability to process carbohydrate, leading to an excess of insulin production and ultimately storing more body fat and developing insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
  5. Keep measuring. The most important element to reducing abdominal fat and increasing muscle mass is consistency with your lifestyle changes. But we know that sometimes it can be hard to maintain your motivation when you aren’t always seeing immediate changes. This is where regular DEXA scans can play a vital role, as even if the number on the scale isn’t changing, our scans can show you how those hidden fat stores are reducing in size and being replaced by healthy muscle mass.

Visit Body Measure in Crows Nest Sydney for your DEXA scan and combat that dangerous abdominal fat!!

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Direction to Health

Physiotherapist Emma Esslemont recently discovered the huge benefits of getting a Dexa Scan at Body Measure in Crows Nest. Mainly, she loved the fact she was given perspective and direction as to what is needed to be ‘healthier’.

She also asks the question: If you knew you were at higher risk of developing chronic disease would you change your lifestyle?

Check out her experience below:

Last weekend I went and got a DEXA Scan & it was probably the most interesting & worthwhile $85 I have spent in a long time.

Why?

Chronic disease is literally taking over the world. If it’s not heart disease its diabetes or cancer; obesity or depression. It’s all around us and it’s pretty scary.

This really hit home recently for me following a conversation with my mum. My parents are in their mid 60’s and both have had a pretty clean bill of health. Many of their close friends however have not been so fortunate. In the last 6 months my godfather passed suddenly from a heart attack (he had underlying heart disease), my godmother is battling breast cancer and another close family friend recently found out she had a brain tumour. Bad things happen in 3’s so I have my fingers crossed that that’s the last of the bad news.

A DEXA scan is the most accurate test to measure our body composition and bone density. Our bodies are comprised of fat, bone, muscle and of course our vital organs. In the past body mass index (BMI) has been the measure of choice in the medical world. This uses your weight and height to calculate whether you are normal, overweight, obese or morbidly obese. The shortfall of this is that people who have a lot of muscle such as sportsmen & athletes were falling into the obese category because it doesn’t account for differences in muscle mass and fat mass.

The DEXA scan addresses all of this allowing an accurate measure of body fat, lean muscle and bone density. It takes out ‘water weight’ (the mass of our bladder and bowel) and also is capable of breaking down measurements into different regions. This is particularly important medically as higher levels of visceral fat in the abdominal region (yep I’m talking beer bellies and muffin tops) is a huge risk factor for many chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

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Doctors, personal trainers and nutritionists can then use this information to implement prevention strategies into one’s lifestyle. People with lower bone density will benefit from weight bearing & resistance exercises to strengthen the bones while people with high visceral fat may need to address certain aspects of their diet.

Considering that the fitness industry is BOOMING at the moment; there’s boot camps, running groups, gym franchises popping up EVERYWHERE we really don’t seem to be getting any healthier. Australia is one of the ‘fattest’ nations in the world!

Why?

I honestly believe that it’s because so many of us are not aware of our unhealthy we really are. Health and wellbeing isn’t as simple as exercising every day, sure this helps (and I highly encourage it) BUT many other aspects need attention, especially diet and nutrition. Having this scan, and having a visual image of my body composition which is then mapped against normal values for my age group gives you a little perspective and also gives you direction as to what you need to do to be ‘healthier’.

I’ll leave you with this thought.

If you knew you were at higher risk of developing chronic disease would you change your lifestyle?

It’s $85 that could quite literally save your life.