A few weeks ago a friend posted a link to an article about skinny fat. I read it, and it started me on a quest to understand belly fat. I was thrown into an unfamiliar world where there is a difference between hard fat and soft fat. Where belly fat can start to function as an organ, producing hormones and impacting metabolism. And where belly fat is tied to my nemesis, cholesterol
I began to look around – at church, at exercise class, among friends. I was astounded at how few men and women my age and older have flat bellies. Even women who do not appear to be overweight, even women who exercise. I think I commented in my very first cholesterol blog about how I had slowly added fat around my middle that with my previous level of compliance I could not get off.
I am not going to try to explain the whole subject of belly fat in a blog. There are many experts who understand it much better than I do. I’ve given you a few buzz words to start you on your own quest for knowledge.
Bottom line is I am convinced that belly fat – even though I don’t have a lot – even though I look skinny – is probably why my liver started producing LDL (bad cholesterol). I have attacked the problem with increased compliance to the BTD and increased commitment to not just exercise, but to push myself to work harder as I exercise.
Belly fat research led me to information about plant sterols. Again I urge you to do your own research, because this is all new to me. Basically I learned that some plants contain sterols (which are also called stanols) Plant sterols seem to reduce blood cholesterol without affecting levels of triglycerides or reducing HDL (good cholesterol).
In general, vegetables contain more plant sterols than fruits. The amount in vegetables varies. Some researchers recommend getting two grams of plant sterols every day for good health. An average American consumes about 250 milligrams of sterols per day. Vegetarians average around 700 milligrams. People who eat lots of fast food consume significantly less.
I could try to increase my consumption of plant sterols or I could take a supplement. Lists of high sterol foods are easily found on the internet. I decided to add a supplement, which I take twice a day with my two largest meals.
August is my birth month, so I’ve eaten out more than usual. I was on call for jury duty the whole month of August. I was never chosen, but being available changed my daily schedule. We’ve had lots of company staying at our house – all dear people, making lots of happy memories – but again changing my routine. I was almost scared to get on the self check machine at the pharmacy. When I got my results and saw that I have decreased my body fat and increased my lean a little bit in spite of all the distractions, I was all smiles.