Pot-belly: Show of affluence or recipe for early death?

Pot Bellyman: Affluence or ticket to early death?

In our society, most men boast about having a big round belly otherwise known as potbelly.

To many with such endowment, it is a sign of influence and and indication that they are able to  provide f, able to for families and bring home enough money to feed the family.

It is sometimes a sign also that having got married, a good woman who cooks hearty and  delicious meals for the upkeep is definitely in charge.

At times, it is seen as a status symbol as a sign of position, prestige, pride and wealth.

We usually address people with pot bellies as “chiefs” at times erroneously believing that the big belly is a status symbol

However, some realities seem to be checking in. Rather than a sign of gain of wealth, the pot belly is now known as a signal of ill health and a big burden for those who are so endowed.

Abdominal obesity or central obesity, as pot bellies are clinically known, is the accumulation of abdominal fat resulting in an increase in waist size.

A potbelly does more than just impact your physical appearance. It can cause serious health problems. The risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and diabetes is also raised. There is a direct correlation between people with pot bellies and cardio vascular disease. Atherosclerosis, a condition which causes hardening of the arteries, is common in men with potbellies.

This condition can be fatal, because men with this condition are more likely to suffer heart attack and stroke at an early age. Excess fat around the waist also raises the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnoea.

The immediate cause of obesity is net energy imbalance — the organism consumes more usable calories than it expends, wastes, or discards via elimination. Environmental factors and diet play a key role in the condition too.

For many people, living an un-healthy lifestyle contributes to the pot-belly problem. Although hormones and genetics can also play a role, our more sedentary lifestyles and fast food mentality has created a whole culture of potbellied couch potatoes.

We can know if we do have pot bellies by two basic ways. The first is simply by sight. A protruding stomach is obvious enough and cannot be hidden. Also, we can know a clinically obese person by taking some simple measurements and finding the ratio. An absolute circumference of over 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women is obese. Also the hip-to-waist ratio of greater than 0.9 for men and 0.84 for women is indicative of a pot belly. Finally, the waist to height ratio is normally taken and this has even proven to be more effective than BMI is determining who is at risk of heart diseases especially stroke.

The dangers of pot bellies are numerous, some which have been listed earlier.  Central obesity is associated with a statistically higher risk of heart disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, and Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.

Getting rid of your potbelly will do wonders not only for your health but it will also make you look and feel better about yourself. If you are serious about removing that spare tire, get exercise and diet advice that will help you permanently lose your potbelly for good.

There are ways of making sure you get rid of the pot belly permanently. It may require a social and lifestyle change and will definitely require some effort. We have seen that not only can they be uncomfortable for us; they are dangerous and can lead to different health risks. It’s important to take the following steps to avoid the pot belly and ultimately improve your health:

1. Watch your diet

You need to have a unique nutrition plan, not copying another person’s own. Reduce your intake of carbohydrates and fats. Reduce or completely do away with your intake of foods like pasta, white bread, canned and frozen foods, hamburger, cheese, butter, polished foods etc. Reduce fried foods. Increase your intake of protein. Increasing your intake of foods like eggs, beans, vegetables, nuts, wheat bread, unpolished rice etc will do you a world of good. Avoid taking salty foods.

2. Watch that alcohol

Reduce or completely do away with your intake of alcohol. Drink a lot of water, at least 8 to 10 glasses a day to flush out the harmful toxins from your body. Drinking calcium based milk will also do you a world of good. A potbelly that develops from drinking too much beer will be a “hard” potbelly. Some like to say it feels like all muscle when in fact, it is all fat and it’s the bad fat that raises your risk of heart disease and intestinal problems. The best advice, and in truth the only way to avoid a beer belly, is to avoid the beer.

3. Avoid late meals

Well, you can eat and snack but do not literally stuff yourself shortly before bedtime. When you go to bed with a full stomach, this keeps your stomach muscles relaxed and stretched all night as you sleep. Over a period of years, this will lead to a potbelly. Rather than eating your final, big meal of the day late at night, learn to eat as early in the evening as you can. Keep the meals small and switch to breakfast as your biggest meal of the day. It may take some time to adjust to this, but once you do, you will most likely find you will feel better throughout the day, as well as helping yourself get rid of that potbelly


4. Exercise:

You may not like it. But exercise, exercise, exercise. Be active always. Exercise regularly. Engage in simple exercises like crunches, outdoor jogging, brisk walking, press-up, aerobics, treadmill walking and some weight training.

5. Improve your posture

This may sound odd, but it’s so true. When you slouch, you make a potbelly worse. Endeavour to walk straight as improper posture could increase belly fat. You need to learn and practice walking tall, standing tall, and sitting up straight. It will also be much better for your back, too.

6. Relax

Sleep well and avoid stress. When you sleep well, your body tends to be at rest and therefore burn up fats easily. By being stressed up, your body tends to store up fats.

Enee Udo-Obong is a writer, administrator, business man and sportsman. The CEO of Fitness Options Limited, a health, wellness and sports management company in Lagos. He is a graduate of Human Anatomy from the University of Calabar. A U.S and U.K trained certified personal fitness trainer, Enee practices what he preaches as he is the only Nigerian man to win two Olympic medals. A Gold in Sydney Australia in 2000 and a Bronze in Athens, Greece in 2004.