Why Your Waist Circumference Matters 100x More Than What You Weigh

You totally want to ditch your scale, don’t you?

You may have this weird kind of relationship with your “weight”.  Does it define who you are?

What you weigh can definitely matter but only to a certain extent and your weight on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story.

Let’s look at your waist circumference (well…you look at yours and I’ll look at mine:).

Waist Circumference (AKA “Tummy Fat”):

Are you familiar with the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”?  The apple is kinda round around the middle (you know – tummy fat-ish, perhaps even a bit beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs – child bearing hips as they are often affectionately called:)

THAT is what we’re talking about here.

Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases)?

Yup – you guess it!  That apple fruit!

And it’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”.  The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there.

This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is.  It’s this “un-pinchable” fat.  (Body Scans are great for giving stats about your visceral fat and are great for goal setting but that’s for another post:)

The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.

And the apple-shaped people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.  What great news for us!

So as you can see, where your fat is stored is more important than how much you weigh.

Are you an apple or a pear?

It’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not.  The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape.  You can do it right now.

Ladies, if your waist is 88cm (34.5”) or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category.  Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course.  And out of interest, it’s a different measurement for men.

Of course, this isn’t a diagnostic tool – it is just a guide.  There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases and waist circumference is just one of them.  If you have concerns, then please make an appointment to see your doctor.

Here are some tips for helping reduce some tummy fat or your waistline

  • Eat more fibre. Fibre can help reduce belly fat in a few ways.  First of all it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food.  Some examples of high-fibre foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado and blackberries.
  • Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer.  It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.
  • Ditch added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).
  • Move more. Get some aerobic exercise.  Lift some weights.  Walk and take the stairs.  It all adds up.
  • Stress less. Seriously!  Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.
  • Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).

Here is a great recipe for you to try – I LOVE brussel sprouts!

Recipe (High fibre side dish): Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4

500g Brussels sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)

2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

dash salt and pepper

You can add some diced bacon if you like and cook with the sprouts


Preheat oven to 200oC

In a bowl toss sprouts with garlic, oil, and lemon juice.  Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for about 15 minutes.  Toss.

Bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  Brussel sprouts contain the fat-soluble bone-loving vitamin K.  You may want to eat them more often.