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It's All About The Belly Fat

December 15, 2009

This is a guest post by Dr. Kal from Dr. Kal's Weight Loss Tips.

Visceral Fat
Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: Paul Keleher

I often read many of the blogs in the Fatosphere. Fatosphere blogs typically address issues such as fat acceptance, discrimination against overweight people, and obesity health care policy. I read these blogs because I once weighed almost 340 pounds and I can relate to their concerns.

I read the posts and the articles, but I never comment because most of the authors do not want comments from weight loss doctors or any one who believes all overweight people should lose weight. Most Fatosphere bloggers believe that you can be healthy and overweight. That is true. However, healthy and normal weight is better long-term than healthy and overweight.

How Can You Be Healthy And Overweight?

Initially overweight people were placed in two different categories, those who were overweight because they had extra muscle and those who were overweight because they had extra fat. The overweight individuals carrying extra muscle would qualify as “healthy overweight.” Most overweight people fall into the overfat category.

The overfat people can be further divided into two sub-categories, those with normal waist sizes and those with large waist sizes. The overfat individuals with normal waist sizes would also qualify as “healthy overweight.” That leaves the unhealthy overweight people.

What about Normal Weight People?

Normal weight people are not off the hook. You can actually have a body mass index or BMI within normal limits and still be overfat. These “skinny-fat” people are not too heavy, but their waist sizes are too large.

The fact that we have “healthy overweight” people and “skinny fat” people have made scales almost obsolete. The numbers on the scale are not as helpful as we once thought. What’s more important is the size of your waist. So, instead of focusing on weight reduction, we should be focusing on waist reduction.

Visceral Fat

Your waist size is more important than your weight because “belly fat” is more dangerous than the fat found at other parts of your body. Belly fat is also known as organ fat, intra-abdominal fat, abdominal fat, omental fat, and visceral fat.

Visceral fat has terrible effects on the body. It also increases your chances of getting many chronic diseases including, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, coronary artery disease, stroke, hypertension, sleep apnea, and many types of cancer.

Am I Healthy or Not?

To find out if you are carrying too much visceral fat, the most accurate method would involve a CT scan or a MRI. However, those tests would be very expensive, especially if you’d like to regularly check your progress.

Instead, obtain an accurate measurement of your height in inches. Get the measurement with your shoes and socks off.

Also obtain an accurate measurement of your waist in inches. Get the measurement at the level of where your belly button is, not where you would like it to be. Do not use the waist measurement on your clothing. They are not accurate.

Then, divide your height measurement by two. If that number is smaller than your waist measurement, then your waist is too big and you need to lose some visceral fat.

For example: I am 6 feet tall. That is 72 inches. 72 divide by 2 is 36. My waist size should be less than 36.

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Busy Busy But Still Doing It! « Doing it My Weigh
December 28, 2009 at 9:56 am

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Hanlie December 15, 2009 at 9:02 am

Oh yes, I have long abandoned the scale and BMI. I think our waists are the key. Good article!

Keith @ My Body Fat December 15, 2009 at 11:48 am

Your exactly right, most people will gauge there success on how many pounds they lose each week. Instead they should be focusing on lowering there body fat percentage by losing fat.
Probably the most well known weight loss program on the internet, which has made the author millions. Promotes rapid weight loss, but that's what the majority of people want and in my eyes will always want. People need to become educated that rapid weight loss is not the way to do it.
Good and informative article as always Dr Kal

Greg December 15, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Great and simple method! Visceral fat is the root of all evil. Well not exactly but it's a very very bad thing. It's called Syndrome X as well as Central Obesity. You can have a firm abdominal wall to the touch and still be obese as long as all the fat is on the inside of your abdominal muscles. It is a lot more dangerous than subcutaneous fat just under the skin. Your simple calculation method gives a clear cut measurement to confirm it. Cool!

Dr. Kal December 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm

@Hanlie - Thanks

@Keith - You are definitely right. Slow and steady wins the race. If you consider permanent weight loss a race.

@Greg - Exactly. Insulin Resistance, the Metabolic Syndrome, Pre-Diabetes, and Syndrome X are all terrible. Visceral fat contributes to all of them.

Mr. Meltdown December 21, 2009 at 5:17 am

Hi John and Dr. Kal,

I feel as always you over delivered with excellent content! I found it very interesting that you said "instead of focusing on weight reduction, we should be focusing on waist reduction."

I think so many obese people like myself on a weight loss journey get lost in the scales. I recently read your article on visceral fat and found that through your knowledge and excellent teaching it is more important to concern myself with my belly fat. So now I am more focused on reduction than the numbers on the scale.

I think if I am more focused on reducing my abdominal size then the numbers will follow. It is kind of like the saying "if you build it they will come." Now I say if you do it you will lose it! Excellent post!

Daniel @ Weight Loss Tips February 8, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Overweight can mean a bunch of things. Even if you are big, lean, and muscular…you can still be overweight and not necessarily healthy.

Dr. Kal February 8, 2010 at 11:33 pm

@Mr. Meltdown I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Keep focusing on waist reduction.

@Daniel 1. Overweight only means one things and that that is having a BMI greater than 24.9.
2. If you are big, lean, and muscular then you are at a healthy weight. You may not be healthy, but the reason for your bad health is not your body fat.

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