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Herald Journal Publishing
PO Box 129
Winsted, MN 55395
(320) 485-2535

Gut feelings and gut reactions

Why waist management and what you see in the mirror are more critical than the number on a scale

By Randal Gerhart

Thirty-five inches for women . . . Forty inches for men.

Numbers like these or greater, as measured across the belly button, place an epidemically large number of people in the danger zone of various lifestyle diseases.

TRUTH: Our communities have never been so well-fed and yet so unhealthy.

CONSEQUENCE: Fat that hangs over the belt.

This is visceral fat. Fat that is found inside your gut. It surrounds and invades your vital organs. This is not the type of fat that settles under your skin, on top of muscle giving you “bat wings” and “saddle bags.”

Visceral fat is internal obesity, behind the muscles of the abdominal wall, giving you that “beer belly” or “spare tire.” Visceral fat is dangerous.

With visceral fat, how you look in the mirror is more important than the number on the scale.

The more fat that hangs around your mid-section, the worse. Visceral fat is attacking your body and potentially shortening your life, if not your quality of life.

Why visceral fat is deadly

It attacks the function of your body’s important organs. It is especially cruel to your liver and sets off a nasty metabolic chain reaction in your body that is hard to reverse.

Your body’s chain reaction:

1. As with any chain reaction, it must start somewhere: Waist size measured across the belly button that is greater than 35 inches for a woman and greater than 40 inches for a man.

2. Your body burns fuel from body fat and carbohydrates. Your body stores fat starting in the liver because it is the easiest location for energy metabolism. It is like keeping wood on the fireplace hearth.

3. As fat increases and invades the liver, it slows down the liver’s response to insulin, a hormone that tells your body to dump fuel to where it can be burned for energy. As a result, your pancreas is forced to produce more insulin to get the liver to wake up and respond to the request for fuel burn.

4. As your liver struggles with insulin it elevates your blood pressure and creates a poor cholesterol profile.

Your doctor announces you suffer from metabolic syndrome and if things do not change soon the chain reaction will enter the danger zone. Metabolic syndrome is a condition that significantly increases your risk of both heart disease and diabetes, two of the most common and important chronic diseases today.

5. Your bad habits continue and your pancreas says, “Enough already.” “I can no longer take your abuse and continue to produce these high levels of insulin. You and your fat invaded liver are on your own. You are a lousy boss and caretaker of your human body. I quit!”

Suddenly, you do not have the insulin to keep your blood sugar in check and the sugar levels skyrocket.

6. Bang! Your doctor says, “You have type-2 diabetes and now you have a high, high risk for consequent heart disease and heart failure. As an overweight diabetic, your picture is grim.”

The best weapon against visceral fat is exercise. Minus exercise visceral fat goes up significantly and quickly. Without exercise and a shape-up in your diet, fat will continue to accumulate in your midsection. Your most vital organs will be overtaxed. Your health will deteriorate. Your life will be shortened. The formula doesn’t get any more simple than that.

We want you to look great as you walk through our community, located smack in the middle of America’s obesity belt, and enjoy living life to the fullest. We want you to feel better, look younger and become a smarter patient to your doctor, a smarter nutritionist for your family, and a smarter curator of your body.

As soon as you decide to become fully invested in your most valuable asset, then you can stop living on a path of life threatening disease.

To decide “someday” usually means never.

Randal Gerhart is the owner and personal trainer at Full Circle Fitness in Delano.