In my practice I work with many male clients, but when I walk around the city, I notice that most of the overweight men I see aren’t especially big in their arms or legs. Instead, they’re carrying most of their extra pounds around their waists. They don’t need weight management, they need waist management.
I want to talk to the guys here today and start by making a distinction between your medical waist and what we might call your fashion waist. As far as the medical profession is concerned, if your waist circumference is more than 40 inches, you are at risk for heart disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and perhaps most urgent of all, reduction in sex drive! This is all due to an excess of visceral fat.
Visceral fat is worst kind of fat you can have. This fat surrounds your organs like your liver, kidneys and pancreas. When these cells become too large, they become toxic and start producing chemicals called cytokines and these cytokines are inflammatory. Over time, this causes chronic inflammation that puts you at risk for the chronic diseases mentioned above.
But the reality is, what I often see in my practice is that men are more likely than women to skip meals. That leads to overeating — especially when men are stressed out at work, don’t eat throughout the day, and don’t prepare ahead of time. This behavior is exacerbated by age, which decreases metabolism; as time goes on, men sit more and more at work, are less and less physically active, and get in the habit of releasing stress with a beer and some chips after work.
The good news is that you can reduce visceral fat and here’s some recommendations that you can follow:
1) Eat throughout the day, starting with having breakfast within at least 90 minutes of waking. Breakfast drives your entire day by jump-starting your metabolism, boosting your performance and helping with clear thinking and concentration. After breakfast, be sure to eat every 3-4 hours to help control your hunger. That means you may need snacks in between your main meals. At every main meal, combine carbohydrates, protein and fats. This gives you the optimal blend of nutritional elements to fight cravings, control hunger and yes, gain energy.
Some good snack samples that I use and recommend to my clients is using V8® and here are some great pairings:
- V8® with 18 almonds
- V8® and a hard boiled egg
- V8® and half of an avocado
- V8® with 2 oz of parmesan cheese
2) Include monounsaturated fats in your diet more often. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to help prevent inflammation in the body and keep your heart healthy. There is growing evidence that eating monounsaturated fats can not only help you reduce visceral fat, but also fight inflammation. Some good fats that are rich in monounsaturated fats are avocado, canola, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
3) Control servings. Speaking of serving size, you really need to get conscious of this if you want to get control of your waistline. Most people have little idea of just how much food is really in a serving. Here are some simple tips to help you look at a plate of food and be honest about how much is really on it: A serving of meat is about the size of the palm of your hand (five to six ounces); that’s the right amount for dinner. Likewise, a man’s closed fist is usually about a cup to a cup-and-a-half of grain or starch — pasta, rice, potato, beans — and enough for a meal. Those two together should fill about half your plate, and the other half should be full of vegetables that are not doused in butter or cheese.
4) Eat more anti-inflammatory superfoods. Foods rich in antioxidants like fruits and vegetables will help you to reduce inflammation and your belly. I recommend using V8®, because it is quick, delicious and full of nutritious vegetables with powerful antioxidants. One antioxidant that V8® has is lycopene which is great for men’s health. Not only does it reduce inflammation, but also has been shown to protect us from prostate cancer.
5) Don’t forget the exercise. When it comes to losing belly fat, high intensity cardio helps, but weight training is also important for helping to keep up your metabolism and help you maintain your muscle during weight loss so you can lose the fat. Just make sure to take V8® for after your workout to replenish your body with electrolytes for hydration plus veggies.
For more information, visit v8drinksome.com