Q: Doctor, please I don’t take alcohol. Both my parents have big tummies. I am of average built but my tummy gives me concern, After watching you a while ago, I wanted to write you so that you tell me what to do.
A: It’s great that you are concerned about this, especially knowing that there is a family history, because genetics can be a factor in the issue of belly fat (central obesity). However, other major factors are really what we eat, how much of it and how much exercise we get.
If you ensure that your plate always has all food groups in it, you’ll be fine. First, focus on portion control. The first practical step in doing this is reduce the size of plate that you ordinarily eat with. Then, ensure that half of this plate is filled with vegetables, a quarter of it with protein and the last quarter with the carbs to be eaten. For carbohydrates, focus on the complex carbohydrates like brown rice, local rice (Abakaliki rice or Ofada rice), sweet potatoes, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, millet etc. For instance, you can have a half a plate filled with vegetables (remember to go extra easy on the oil during preparation), quarter of the plate filled with whole wheat meal and then your protein of choice, preferably fish or poultry. It is important to have more of the vegetables, because these fill you up, absorb loads of fluid and keep you feeling fuller for longer! 😀
You’re also allowed 2-3 snacks daily. Remember to focus on healthy foods e.g. nuts, fruits etc. For more on this, please click on the link below.
Then exercise. I am always asked if people can lost weight without exercise and the answer is yes. I mean, if you went on a starvation diet, you’d lose weight, right? 😀 But it’s not sustainable. First it’s really water weight, you’re getting rid of and you’re not really imbibing the principles of a healthy lifestyle that will help you not only lose weight but keep it off. Current recommendation is for 150 minutes of exercise weekly. This should be broken down into 30 minutes on 5 days of the week or 1 hour for three days. Space these minutes out and ensure that you don’t try to get all of it done in 2 days like some weekend warriors I know 😀 Seriously though, the heart may not be able to withstand that much pressure all at once having been sedentary too long. So, please be guided! 😉
Ageing also plays a role. However, if you start early enough in life to eat right, it may not be too much of a problem later.
If you read my post on ‘The Trio Of Diet, Exercise And Stress’, remember that visceral fat, the type involved in central obesity may not be helped much by abdominal exercises, crunches et al. The right lifestyle is critical. Remember that central obesity pre-disposes one heart diseases, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus etc So, you don’t want to be here if you can do something about it!
Have a great week ahead, fabulous people 😀 XXX