Saturday, January 14, 2012

Stress and belly fat

I’ve noticed I have a lot of belly fat, which we all know is the worst kind of fat. It’s better to carry it on your hips and thighs, and not the belly.

Even  as my weight goes down, my waistband seems tighter. The thighs of my pants are looser, but my waist and abdomen are bigger. The video from a couple days ago showed me just how bad it looks. Not only is is visually unappealing, but I know it’s killing me from the inside out. 

I have a sick feeling the growth of my abdomen has a lot to do with the incredible stress I’ve been under since September 21, 2011, when my sister had her stroke. We’ve all heard how stress produces a hormone called cortisol that causes belly fat.

I’m 56 years old and have never dealt with a mess like what I’ve gone through with my sister. I didn’t know my family was so totally screwed up, including my own brother.  If I hear him say “Poor Linda, you should be nicer to her” one more time, I think I will just freaking lose it. Linda is the crazy niece that continues to torture me with her insanity. 

The latest is that my other niece called me last night (the one I’m having evicted from the apartment complex my sister owns) to tell me that Linda is on a plane to Seattle this weekend to see her mother. She was crying and apologizing for being such a loser herself, she sounded drunk, so I don't even know if it was a true statement.

Regardless, this means I have to head down to the Sheriff’s department this morning and see what can be done to stop craziest niece if she shows up at the home this weekend. I can't have her causing a disruption at the home or upsetting her mother. As my sister’s legal guardian I have control over who can see her and who can’t. For now, craziest niece is on the “can’t see my sister” list. 

Since this is such an odd situation, the Alaska Courts granted guardianship to me, Alaska Adult Protection Services and Alaska State attorney general’s office are involved, and my sister is still technically a resident of Alaska, it’s not easy to secure a restraining order against my niece that lives in Alaska. I have to hire another attorney down here to help me, and he didn’t call me back yesterday. Stress level at the moment, off the Richter scale.

Even if I could take crazy niece out of the picture (which seems to be outside my realm of possibilities), I still have the stress of managing sister’s fiances. She has some money left, but at the rate it's going, it's being quickly depleted which is scaring the hell out of me.

I paid $7,000 of bills yesterday for my sister's basically abandoned apartment complex in Fairbanks (just the niece and grand-niece still live them and of course, haven’t paid rent for two years). This is only the tip of the iceberg of month bills. There's tons more, bills for her house, medical bills, credit card bills, property and car insurance, property and income taxes (did I mention there's a possible $39,000 IRS bill looming over my head for my sister?). I pray the sale goes through the end of this week for the apartments. Otherwise, my sister is only good for a few more months. Even down here the cost is $4,800/month just for her room and board (it was $7,500/month in Fairbanks).   

Since my stress level isn’t going down anytime soon, what do I do about my belly fat that seems to be growing by the minute? It’s actually kind of frightening. I measured my waist this morning and it’s 34 ½ inches. My abdomen is 43 inches. That's really dangerous, especially at my age. I can imagine that my internal organs are covered in a really thick layer of disgusting yellowish fat, and that my organs are struggling to function.

Obviously, I need a plan. I’ve read many times that cardio will melt belly fat. Almost every day I do at least 30 minutes of cardio. I do an Intense, hard core cardio workout on the StairMaster or elliptical. It’s a crazy-fast interval program on both machines (on alternating days).  And I do mean crazy fast where the sweat is pouring off of me and my clothes are wet with sweat within the first two minutes. After my cardio, I lift weights, alternating different sets of muscles on different days. Obviously the exercise isn’t the answer to melting my belly fat. 

I just searched “Belly Fat” on 3,387 matches. Where to start? I’m not really sure, but I have a feeling the answer is out there. I need to do something different. Eat different food, change my exercise. There has to be something that works. If anyone has any ideas for melting the belly fat, please post a comment. I know there are “melt belly fat” pills, I’ve seen them advertised in weight loss magazines. I’m not a pill person so I wouldn’t even consider trying a belly fat reducing pill. I’m sure it’s false advertising. There aren’t any magic pills.

I'm thinking about starting yoga. Not for exercise but just so I can calm the hell down for at least a few hours a week. Not hot yoga which I hate, but the regular kind that focuses on breathing and stretching. I like that kind.

Of course, I strongly suspect if I just lose the weight, the belly fat will be reduced significantly. That’s probably the real answer.


Mom on a mission said...

I am Praying for you my friend!!

Grace said...

I completely relate to the belly fat issue. The older I get, the harder it is to keep it off. The weird thing is, even as my weight has stayed about the same, my belly seems to be getting larger. I wish I had the answer for you, because I would use it MYSELF! :-)

So sorry you are still going through so much stress. I wish I could help. We should get together and have a glass of wine and talk.

At least your sister is in a good place for now.

Beth said...

Read "Wheat Belly" if you haven't. Dr. William Davis advises giving up wheat. He also has a blog, I think it's

Diandra said...

You should definitely start yoga, or meditation. It's a wonderful relief on those days where everything just seems to fall apart.

(By the way, this is something I have heard and read often, especially in women over forty - if they gain fat back, it seems to accumulate in the belly area. Maybe something to do with changing hormone levels?)

Anonymous said...

You are having a stressful time! Try to keep calm! (hugs!) x