When it comes to monitoring your body for fitness there are pinchers that test body fat, a bathroom scale that measures your water content and good old-fashioned calorie counting. Then there is a very simple way to find out your disease risk based on a simple calculation – the waist to hip ratio. You’ll need a tape measure, and these simple instructions:
For a woman a ratio of 0.8 or above and for a man a ratio of 1.0 or above is a major sign that you are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis (gout). A study done on 47,382 women suggested that a greater waist circumference increases risk of breast cancer, especially among postmenopausal women.
The waist numbers that take you out of the disease risk categories and back into the healthy categories are:
Females: 35 inches around or less
Males: 40 inches around or less
If you don't fall into this category, don’t worry, all is not lost, there are ways to focus on your waist for superior health.
1. Cut down on sugar consumption: The old adage “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” is quite wise. The glucose derived from excessive sugar intake cannot be completely processed in your body and actually goes into storage for later use.
The preferred storage is fat cells! Going sugar-free all in one go can be extremely difficult, but by taking small steps you will start to notice a difference. Start by not adding sugar to your coffee and tea. Next replace a soda with a glass of water with lemon. Then change your sweetener to raw honey instead of white sugar.
Top natural sugar recommendation is RAW HONEY.
2. Turn off the TV/computer: TV watching is linked to the onset of obesity, mostly because the more TV you watch the less activity you are doing. With the beautiful summer weather, it should be easier to convince yourself to get out for an after dinner walk.
Start out slow – 10 minutes a day, then gradually work your way up to a goal of 30-60 minutes. It will also increase your overall energy and improve sleep. A 5 or 10 minute walk is better then no walk at all.
3. Improve your digestion: Fiber does wonders in improving your digestion naturally. The best way to increase your fiber intake is eating more fruits and vegetables.
Again the summer is a great time to start up this new regime with all that fresh produce around. Clinical evidence shows that dietary fiber promotes weight loss, improves blood sugar control and decreases the amount of calories absorbed by the body.
Try adding 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp of chia seeds to your breakfast or ½ cup of well-rinsed beans or lentils to your lunch.
Eat some fresh corn (organic) for dinner instead of a side of rice, go for a walk and if you get hot don’t reach for a can of soda but go for a cool glass of water. By starting slow and keeping hydrated, you will start to see signs that your waist to hip ratio is going down and with that your risk for disease also goes down.
In good health,
Cheryl Wahl, RHN, CPCC, Personal Trainer
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