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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What I learned today about belly fat......

For years, I protested against having a TV in our bedroom. I was perfectly happy with listening to the radio in the morning to start my day and reading in bed at night to put an end to it. Then came the TV wars. Two kids---7 years apart and one husband. We were a one TV family for years. I took quite a bit of pride in that. But, as I was inched out of the family room, I began to resent not being able to watch the one or two shows that I really enjoyed. Not only did I have to listen to the constant battle over the TV, I also lost an easy, mindless activity that I came to depend on for numbing my brain and blocking out the insanity of life. Two kids, a full time job and a husband with an insane schedule meant that I was constantly in some state of frenzy. TV time was the only time that I sat still. And, TV time was my time to do my nails, sip some wine or just sit in one place for more than 10 minutes. Still, I held firm to my belief that TVs and bedrooms don't mix. Then, I developed an intense love of HGTV. Kids and husbands don't want to watch HGTV. Was it time to get a TV in my bedroom? No, it wasn't. The thought of watching TV in bed made me think of being sick. I was never a person to lounge in a bed...unless I was sick. Beds were for sleeping, sex and sickness. Not watching TV. So, I held strong to my conviction that a TV would never enter my bedroom. Instead, I put TVs in the kids rooms. That made them happy. But, not me. I didn't like the fact that my children spent more time in their bedrooms than outside or with me. And, I didn't like the loss of control I had over their TV viewing. So, I set down bedroom TV rules. As with any rules laid down by a parent--they impacted my life as well. I'm not a very scheduled person and I don't have a good sense of time and I am terrible at being an enforcer. I have to work really hard at following the rules myself let alone making someone else do it...especially my children. It was exhausting. Add that to the fact that because they still wanted to watch TV and I was entirely too tired to come up with alternative enticing activities, the family room TV was once again a battle ground. Back to square one. Then, I discovered The Food Channel. That's what did it. The lure of food (no surprise there!). I went directly to the mall and bought a TV for my bedroom.

These days, the TV wars are pretty much a non issue. The kids are no longer fighting over the TV set. When Carmen is home, he channel surfs until he passes out (which happens relatively quickly). As a result, I can watch our big screen, HD TV (not my idea!) as much as I want. Plus, we have a TV in our home office...where I spend a great deal of time and Toni has her own TV in her room. The only time the main TV becomes an issue is when Vince comes home for a visit. But, the issue is that he is constantly buying movies on demand! (I guess I still can't control my children's TV viewing habits!) I spend very little time watching TV in my bedroom. Except for when I'm getting ready in the morning. That's when I watch Good Morning America. I consider the GMA crew as my friends....maybe even family. They educate me quite a bit while I'm putting on my eyeliner, my lipstick and my mascara. Any more, I consider them my main source of information on everything from world events to saving money on groceries. By the time I leave each morning, I have quite a bit to ponder as I make my way through rush hour traffic to the office.

So, today I learned about belly fat. Below are the five tips given to reduce belly fat. Now, this particular segment was related to cutting the risk of heart attacks. It was in response to the unexpected death of Tim Russert--the NBC News correspondent. He had just passed a stress test and was on the necessary medications for cholesterol and blood pressure. Which, seemingly, should have thwarted the heart attack. More and more, we hear about people who are doing everything medically correct to prevent heart attacks yet they still happen. Very frightening!!

To get back to the GMA segment---their medical expert said that belly fat plays a major role in heart health. Essentially, get rid of the belly fat, get rid of your risk of heart attack. Yes, I know...not a news flash. But, he gave a very interesting explanation--one I never heard before. He discussed why belly fat increases blood pressure (by pushing on your kidneys), increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes (pushing on your liver) and increased cholesterol (something else that was easy to understand but I forget). Very easy to comprehend for the common person such as myself. All of sudden, these things made sense. It wasn't as elusive and confusing as it had been before. It left me thinking...."so, that's why you don't want a fat belly! Now I get it".

I come from a belly fat family. My father and I--well, we are definitely belly fat people. We take after my Grandma dad's mom. So, I guess I was destined to have this belly fat problem. Give us a few high calorie treats and they go directly to our bellies. My sisters were spared for the most part. They might tell you differently or they might say those calories go directly to another part of their anatomies. Not that it's a competition on who has it worse but it looks like fat on your belly is much more dire than fat on your ass. So, my sisters got off a bit luckier than me. Poor me. Not that it's a competition...... (and not that they have fat asses)

So, here's those five tips they gave......

Simple Ways to Reduce Your Belly Fat......
Avoid added simple sugars. Cut out things like corn, malt, maple, rice, syrups, dextrose, maltose and glucose. A good way to look for these on a nutrition label is to look for anything that ends in "ose," which usually indicate a syrup.
Limit your alcohol consumption. Women can have one glass per day and men can have a tiny bit more. But you should try to avoid it because it's sugar.
Don't skip out on sleep. When you don't get enough Zzzz, your satiety center is irritable. That's the part of your brain that drives you to sleep and to eat. If you don't sleep, you eat more.
Stress less. It's not the stress itself, it's the response. Thousands of years ago, stress meant one thing: there was no food.
When stress hormones are elevated, they are absorbed by your belly. So, whatever you eat turns to fat and is stored there.
Get moving. Just because reducing belly fat isn't simply about sit-ups doesn't mean you shouldn't exercise.
You should do aerobic or fast walking for at least 30 minutes daily. This reduces insulin resistance by as much as 15 percent.

Like I said....not rocket science. Belly fat is bad. You can do a simple things to reduce it. Simple. Easy to understand. Maybe that was my problem all along. I thought it had to be complex and scientific to work. Convoluted food combinations or eating at certain times or doing certain types of work outs. And, who in the hell wants to do ALL of that? Not me! Perhaps the simplicity of practicing simple things that I already knew just seemed too simple. Perhaps that's why the Lapband wasn't invented sooner. It just sounded too simple....a band to make your stomach smaller so you don't eat so much. So simple. Now, I get it. I'm just a girl with belly fat. And, a Lapband.

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