Raise your hand if you are easily frustrated and discouraged when you diet, and quit when you do not see immediate results.
I am with you. I would much prefer sitting on my couch eating a box of ice cream sandwiches while watching Judge Judy, as opposed to eating Yoplait Light Yogurt, and inhaling the stench of fresh air as my feet pound the pavement. But, until that magic heart health pill is developed we have no choice.
What we women need to know and understand is that as we gain fat it is not only on our hips and belly, where we see it. We gain fat on the inside, around our internal organs and inside our muscles. This type of fat is called visceral fat. This visceral fat is what makes us more susceptible to preventable illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
This visceral fat is processed, or metabolized, by the liver. It then enters our bloodstream as cholesterol. Individuals with higher levels of visceral fat have higher levels of LDL, or Low-Density Lipoprotein, the bad cholesterol. Left unchecked, this LDL leads to a build up of plaque in the arteries of the heart which leads to blocked arteries, which has serious consequences such as death.
Our bodies are such marvelous machines and as we begin losing fat, we first begin losing around our vital organs and inside our muscles. We are literally changing our body from the inside out.
Though visceral fat is said to be harder to lose than subcutaneous fat, or that fat on our belly and hips, it is not difficult. A recent study at Duke University showed that walking at a fast pace for 30 minutes per day, six days per week, can help prevent further accumulation of visceral fat, while more exercise will actually reduce it.
For those slender, inactive, women reading this who believe visceral fat is not something they need be concerned with, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are not immune. Your body may be storing fat on the inside. While we women who have a pound, or thirty, to lose envy your bodies’ choice of fat storage system, we worry about you, because you are just as susceptible to the very heart disease we are trying to combat.