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If I had a shilling for every time someone asked me for advice on the best way to trim his or her belly fat, I would be a millionaire . Most of these questions come from people who are more interested in the aesthetic appeal of their bodies, but as a fitness professional, I also have a great interest in belly fat, except for different reasons.
African women should be aware of kinds of fat that can be stored in their bodies
We have three kinds of fat in the human body; the fat found in the blood stream also known as triglycerides, the fat which lies just underneath the skin and protects us from the elements called subcutaneous fat and the fat which, in those with a rotund belly, is often packed hard around the vital internal organs, known as visceral fat.
Of these three, visceral fat is widely acknowledged to be the most dangerous threat to your health and is closely associated morbid conditions including hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart attack and some forms of cancer.
African women should pay attention to Waist to hip ratio
Fast is mostly stored in two places, round the waist and around the hips – the waist to hip ratio is simply the circumference of their waist at the belly button divided by the circumference of their hips at widest point.
For instance, an African woman with a 32-inch waist and 40-inch hips will have a waist to hip ratio of 32/40 = 0.8.
African Men with a hip to waist ratio of 0.9 and below, and African women with a waist to hip ratio of 0.8 or less have been shown to be much healthier than their counterparts with higher waist to hip ratios.
The reason for this is that body fat is all about location, just like real estate. Fat stored around the belly is often packed hard around vital internal organs including the liver where it makes your body much more resistant to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood sugar.
Increased insulin resistance would make you a likely candidate for type 2 diabetes.
Belly fat is also thought to secrete a substance known as adipocytokinine, which has been linked to obesity.
African women must eat better and try to move as often as you can
Here in Kenya we don’t have the same food issues that the western world has to contend with. We have an abundance of natural healthy foods, organically produced and easily affordable.
If we could all just go back to eating like villagers – whole, fresh, healthy and unprocessed food - a huge part of our health issues including belly fat would be solved - at least partially.
Belly fat is the hardest and most stubborn kind of fat to loose and your greatest ally in this battle will be to engage in regular cardiovascular exercise, while also building muscle tone, especially in the huge muscle groups of the legs, back, shoulders, chest and arms.
This muscle is the furnace that will get your metabolism revving enough to banish that belly fat for good. You lose weight from your extremities first – the arms and the legs and then from the hips and abdomen last – I guess this is natures idea of a cruel joke, but if you stay consistent and committed, you might just have the last laugh.
As soon as you start to exercise regularly and your body senses that you are losing body fat - your statistics will begin to improve including blood sugar, cholesterol and even blood pressure.