Men with the biggest bellies were at 60 percent higher risk. The same sad truth holds for women, too: A woman with a flabby midsection is at increased risk for the same health problems. And American women have seen their weight rise just as men have.
But when he walked into a nutrition store and stepped on a scale that told him how much he weighed pounds and how much he should weigh pounds , something changed: his attitude. So McComb went on the Abs Diet—and lost 25 pounds. He made significant changes by doing such things as eliminating the four or five daily Cokes and skipping the midnight chips. He says the transition was easy because the Abs Diet allowed him to eat plenty—six times a day, in fact.
The World Health Organization estimates that up to one-third of can- cers of the colon, kidney, and digestive tract are caused by being overweight and inactive. And having an excess of fat around your gut is especially dangerous. See, cancer is caused by mutations that occur in cells as they divide. Fat tissue in your abdomen spurs your body to produce hormones that prompt your cells to di- vide. More cell division means more opportunities for cell muta- tions, which means more cancer risk.
A lean waistline also heads off another of our most pressing health problems—diabetes. Currently, 13 million Americans have been diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes, and many more go un- diagnosed.
Fat, especially belly fat, bears the blame. I feel more confident because I set a goal for myself and I actually achieved it.
Even my skin is a bit clearer. Everything seems to be that much better in my life. But people contract diabetes after years of eating high-carbohydrate foods that are easily converted into sugar—foods like white bread, pasta, and mashed potatoes. Scarfing down a basket of bread and a bowl of pasta can do the same thing to your body that a carton of ice cream does: flood it with sugar calories.
And that, my friend, can really ruin your day. Upper-body obesity is also the most significant risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the soft tissue in the back of your throat collapses during sleep, blocking your airway. When that happens, your brain signals you to wake up and to start breathing again.
As you nod off once more, the same thing happens, and it can continue hundreds of times during the night—making you chronically groggy and unable to get the rest your body needs.
When Australian researchers studied patients with severe obesity, they found that 62 percent of them with a waist circumference of 49 inches or more had a serious sleep disturbance and that 28 percent of obese patients with smaller waists 35 to 49 inches had sleep problems. When Dutch researchers studied nearly 6, men, they found that even those whose waistlines measured a relatively modest 37 to 40 inches had a significantly increased risk of res- piratory problems, such as wheezing, chronic coughing, and shortness of breath.
Poor sleep means you drag through your day. Sluggish and tired, your body craves some quick energy, so you snack on some high-calorie junk food. That extra junk food leads to more abdominal fat, which leads to. Well, take that to heart. Consider how the following side benefits can help you pull that ship into harbor. Increased stamina. Better erections. Though many things can cause it, one of the major causes is purely a matter of traffic control.
Plaque forms on the inside of your arteries, narrowing the passageways that blood must follow. Think of 12 lanes of traffic bottlenecking into one.
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Decreased bloodflow equals softer or no erections. By the way, clogged blood vessels have the same effect on women, leading to decreased lubrication, sensi- tivity, and sexual pleasure. Increased length. That tragedy happened at a time when most urban housing was still built with wood. You want one made of solid steel, one that will give you a layer of protection that belly fat never could.
Consider a U. Army study that linked powerful abdominal muscles to injury prevention. After a meal, your body begins to apportion the calories to nutrient-hungry organs, growing muscles, and, yes, your belly. Michael Jenson, M.
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Kidneys work to make sure the blood is balanced with the right amounts of water and nutrients. The heart gets most of its energy from fat, which provides more long-term energy for the hardworking heart than glucose can. After the liver pulls out nutrients, it stores excess calories as glycogen. Muscles require a constant source of energy just to maintain their mass, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Glucose is brain fuel. The simple act of breaking down the food you just ate takes up one-tenth of your calories. Your fat cells grow and eventually divide as more and more calories are deposited.
The men who performed well in the pushups and 2-mile run enjoyed no such protection—suggesting that upper-body strength and cardiovascular endurance had little effect on keeping bodies sound. It was abdominal strength that offered the protection. Unlike any other muscles in your body, a strong core affects the functioning of the entire body.
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Whether you ski, sail, wrestle with the kids, or fool around with a partner, your abs are the most essential muscles for keeping you from injury. The stronger they are, the stronger—and safer—you are. He always did it in the simplest way—sleeping a little awkwardly or getting out of a chair too quickly. One time, he pulled it out reaching into the back seat of his car to get some- thing his young daughter had dropped. The pain once stabbed him so badly that he collapsed to the ground while he was standing at a urinal.
Go ahead. Imagine that. And yes, he started the Abs Diet Workout a year ago, and within weeks his back pain virtually disappeared.
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Since most back pain is related to weak muscles in your trunk, maintaining a strong midsection can help resolve many back is- sues. The effect, besides promoting bad company morale for the muscles picking up the slack, is that it destabilizes the spine and eventually leads to back pain and strain—or even more serious back problems. If you have weak abdominal muscles, your joints absorb all the force from those movements. Jump in the center, and the mat will absorb your weight and bounce you back in the air.
Your body is sort of like a trampoline, with your abs as the center of the mat and your joints as the supports that hold the mat to the frame. Developing core strength gives you power. It fortifies the muscles around your whole midsection and trains them to provide the right amount of support when you need it. But if you also play stop-and-start sports like tennis or basketball, abs can im- prove your game tremendously. How fast can you go from a stopped position at point A to stopping at point B?
When re- searchers studied what muscles were the first to engage in these types of sports movements, they found that the abs fired first.
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But the best reason is this: The program is an easy, sacrifice-free plan that will let you eat the foods you want and keep you looking and feeling better day after day. If only it were so easy. When most people think of blood pressure, they think in terms of a garden hose: Too much pressure and the hose bursts, unless you open the valve. But that model is too simple.
See, gravity works on your blood just like it works on the rest of your body: It wants to pull everything downward. So imagine yourself hopping out of bed tomorrow morning and standing up.
You, on the other hand, would like that blood to pump to your brain, where it can help you figure out where the hell your keys are. On cue, arteries in the lower body constrict while the heart dramatically increases output.