So you decided to lose weight and you think you’re doing pretty good job eating right and exercising. You lose a few pounds but can’t seem to “shake” losing that belly fat. Beware, there may be an underlying problem and all that time and effort could be futile if you don’t get checked out by your doctor.

What I’m talking about is a condition called Metabolic Syndrome. If you have Metabolic Syndrome your risk for coronary heart disease and other plaque build up related problems in the artery walls and type II diabetes. It’s estimated that over 50 million Americans have it and it’s on the rise. Two of the most common characteristics are abdominal obesity and insulin resistance (can’t use insulin efficiently) which is what causes the belly fat.
So how does one acquire this condition? Researchers are not quite sure and believe genetics plays an important role, however certain factors like lifestyle and eating habits definately increase your risk for developing it. Some of the conditions associated with it are, physical inactivity, excess body fat, aging, smoking and hormonal imbalances, all of which a daily exercise program can help.

If you think you have metabolic syndrome see your doctor and ask he/she to do a blood evaluation on you. One of the blood tests for Metabolic Syndrome is an elevated level of C-reactive protein.
Below I have outlined what the American Heart Association and the National Heart Lung, and Blood Institutehave suggested should be checked. If you have three or more of these characterisitics you more than likely have Metabolic Syndrome.

Elevated Waist Circumference:
Men- Equal or greater than 40″ or 102cm.
Women- Equal or greater than 35″ or 88cm.

Elevated triglycerides:
Equal to or greater than 150mg/dl.

Reduced HDL (Good) cholesterol:
Men- Less than 40mg/dl.
Women- Lessthan 50mg/dl.

High blood pressure:
Equal to or greater than 130/85.

Elevated fasting glucose levels:
Equal to or greater than 100mg/dl.

It has been said that a supplement called Chromium Picolinate can help individuals who have insufficient insulin. It’s relatively inexpensive and may be worth trying. Use due diligence and research more about it on the internet. As always I recommend above all getting checked by your doctor first and ask he/she what they would recommend.

Good luck :-)

Information obtained from Nutrition for Professionals, 8th edition. Greg Salgueiro and Sara Hauber.