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Visceral fat: Refuse to Regain

Tuesday, August 13, 2013



One of the most compelling images from Refuse to Regain is an MRI "trunk slice" showing visceral fat. This is a different image showing the same thing.

Mostly we're aware of subcutaneous fat, that fat just beneath the skin that you can grab handfuls of . . . but that's not the dangerous fat. People who pack on fat around the hips and buttocks outside the abdominal cavity may not be happy about it, but by and large they aren't at greater danger for obesity related diseases except maybe joint issues from overuse . And most heavy women do tend to be "pear shaped".

It's the"apple shaped types -- like myself -- who put on weight around the middle who are prone to "metabolic syndrome": all of those fat-related illnesses including heart disease, cancers, diabetes and so on. Sure I had a pooch of subcutaneous fat across my abdomen. But "visceral fat" is this fat packed inside the abdominal cavity, around the "viscera" or internal organs. Fat stores estrogen, and fat packed around the viscera bathes them in excess hormones which trigger the diseases.

I sometimes think about all of my fat cells, still present within my body. They may be more or less emptied out now, but like ever-open mouths they continue to scream silently to be plumped up again, with excess eating. What they crave most of all are those S food sugars and starches.

Yup, that's why as a a POW -- a previously overweight person -- I'm always going to be susceptible to weight gain.

Until I read Refuse to Regain, I'd never seen an image of visceral fat before . . . but that's what I was lugging around. Not something I'm going to forget!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • SWEDE_SU
    wow - that is an eye opener indeed! sounds like a book well worth reading, thank you!
    2424 days ago
  • CANNIE50
    Well, that is sobering. I have more than my fair share of visceral fat and I am very aware of it. My sister had "fatty liver disease". My numbers (heart rate, cholesterol, etc.) always come back as "excellent" but I cannot use that as an excuse to ignore the danger posed by organs packed in and pummeled by FAT! Yikes. PS I am so impressed by, and happy for you, with your successful maintenance and your commitment to health and fitness.
    2425 days ago
  • MEMEQ2
    Interesting blog. I had a heart attack at age 47. It was 5 years after I had lowered my BMI (lost 30-35 lbs). I guess I had done the damage already to my artery. Now I have 4 stents. Fortunately did not sufer any heart damage. I am determined to never put the weight back on and have been successful for the most part. Had a tempory weight gain of about 8 lbs 2 winters ago. It is so important to let others know if they have the apple shape they must be careful.

    Thank you for helping to spread the word.
    2426 days ago
  • DDOORN
    Definitely an eye-opener!

    Don
    2426 days ago
  • KLONG8
    Another apple here who was told "you don't look heavy" for the longest time. Even by a nutritionist I went to once (wasn't the best one and that didn't last long). Thanks for the "heads up" to always remember "what lurks beneath"!
    2426 days ago
  • BOOKAPHILE
    I just checked Refuse to Regain out of the library and will take it with me on vacation tomorrow. Kanoe10 mentioned it in a recent blog, and I thought I needed the information to help maintain my motivation to maintain. I'm also an apple shaped person, and know I have to be extra vigilant.
    2426 days ago
  • MISCHAKEO
    I reacted to that photo also..I even wondered if I could have an MRI to see exactly what visceral fat I have. I think the book was so helpful in giving us that message of being a POW and having those fat cells "with ever open mouths"..great image.

    I am keeping that visceral fat away and starving those fat cells!

    emoticon
    2426 days ago
  • KALIGIRL
    Great visual!
    2426 days ago
  • NANCY-
    It is truly amazing how complex our body is, and how magically it responds to how we treat it. WTG on your discoveries. Your maintaining success is not only good for you, it is inspiring. Love your positive intellectual approach.
    emoticon
    2426 days ago
  • PHEBESS
    Huh, interesting! I'm fascinated by images of kishkes. (As long as I don't see the blood and guts of it.)

    I've had several MRIs and ultrasounds, and I'm always told I have really big organs and bones - especially for my height. So I'm hoping that means not a whole lot of visceral fat. Despite my lack of a waistline. (Which I didn't have at 140 lbs, either.)

    But I'm still going to do my 3 kinds of crunches and various core exercises. Because the muscles need to be stronger than any fat in there!
    2426 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    Apple-shape person here who was always told I didn't look as heavy as I was. Hmm, bet my visceral fat count is way up there. Thanks for sharing what you are learning.
    2426 days ago
  • TRAVELGRRL
    Yes, it is very scary stuff. We can only get away with abusing our bodies for so long before it finally succumbs. emoticon I had a reminder of that today.
    2426 days ago
  • DALID414
    I was shown my liver in an ultrasound, the Dr pointed out the 'sprinkles' of fat; embarrassing. emoticon Definitely an unforgettable image.
    2426 days ago
  • MISSUSRIVERRAT
    I am with MEADSBAY, including the Eeeuuuuwwww (LOL). I could just hear someone saying that.
    I can only imagine how they got the photo that you included in your blog.

    Seriously, thanks for sharing all the info that you have been. It sounds like a great book and I plan to look into it!
    2426 days ago
  • COCK-ROBIN
    Keep on fighting!
    2426 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Oh yeah, compelling photo and great imagery about those open mouth fat cells wanting to be refilled! Yikes! Scary stuff!
    Thanks for this very real reality check!
    2426 days ago
  • MEADSBAY
    Eeeuuuuwwww...
    it is very scary.
    I never had any belly fat or muffin top until the last 10 years or so.
    I blame menopause but I guess it doesn't matter whose fault it is-
    I gotta get rid of it!
    emoticon
    2426 days ago
  • ONEKIDSMOM
    One of the problems with visceral fat is that it is often "carried well", i.e. it doesn't make you "look" as fat as the subcutaneous cousin. I always "carried my weight well"... and this is very dangerous, from a health perspective. People would say things like "I never would have guessed" when I would tell them the number from the scale.

    This can lead to a false sense of security, to not taking the problem (obesity) seriously. But it is very real. And as a fellow POW, I'll always have to be on the lookout for the deceptive "invisible" fat. Somebody commented on my picture that they couldn't see the 7 pounds I had drifted up... that's what I'm talking about... of course I've drifted three of them back down again, by that vigilence. Onward! Sparkward.

    Thanks for sharing this graphic illustration. emoticon
    2426 days ago
  • SLENDERELLA61
    Thanks so much for this information and compelling visual. Another reason to eat healthy in proper portions and exercise with a passion!!
    2426 days ago
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