Research against adbominal fat

Participants of a scientific study support medical research and losse weight at the same time.

A research team from the Integrated Research Centre for AdiposityDiseases in Leipzig is declaring war to abdominal fat tissue. Overweight people can participate in a clinical study by Prof. Matthias Blüher. Since 2010 researchers examine how both endurance and resistance training is affecting the annoying belly fat and the calorie consumption of the participants. Visceral fat is considered to be of particular concern because it increases the risk of cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related complications. Several studies have already shown that it is possible to reduce metabolic diseases simply by exercise.

For two years, female and male participants aged 18 to 60 do sports in a specialized center twice a week. Heike Wolf* has dared to take part in the study. She is one of the participants, and is supervised by experiences sport scientists as well as medically checked regularly in the IFB Adiposity outpatient clinic at the University Hospital Leipzig. How she got there and how she managed to lose weight, she explains in the following interview:

Why did you decide to participate in the study?

Well, basically that was a very spontaneous decision. One and a half year ago, I saw the ad in which the IFB was searching study participants in the Leipzig newspaper. Then, I contacted Dr. Stefanie Lehmann. You know, it was summer and the pants had become tighter again. Long before I hadn’t been feeling comfortable in my own skin since with 126 kilos life is getting hard. In fact, I never had health problems, but it does not feel good when your pants constantly become tighter. The ad gave me the idea to finally tackle the problem with the kilos.

What were the reasons for your overweight?

Food! I simply ate too much: in the evening I was snacking while watching TV, additionally a glass of wine and a glass of cola. Many people are not aware of how harmful soft drinks can be.  They have so many calories! Potatoes or other food that remained in the pot for lunch, I ate as well. This way I was getting more and more overweight in last thirty years. However, I have never eaten unhealthy. I have always cooked and prepared my own meals. But then I just ate too much of everything. Moreover, I do not have so many options to be physically active because I am working as a taxi driver. Most of the time, I am sitting in my car. Then there were excess post-pregnancy pounds that I have never really got rid of. Eventually, I have weighed too much.

Now you weigh 44 kilos less! How have you managed to decrease your weight within this short time?

In fact, it was a combination of diet and exercise. Within the study, I went to the gym twice a week. I am usually practicing one hour a week, either on cross trainer and stepper or on the exercise bike. Dr. Stefanie Lehmann is supervising us participants during the training periods. There is one group that only makes strength training and another one, mine, that does endurance training. That is why the scientists want to find out which training is more effective for getting rid of annoying belly fat. Every three months I have to complete a medical check then the diet is optimized again. One thing you can do to support the effect of the exercise is to take more proteins. And to be honest, fatty tissue in face, butt and thighs you can lose very quickly. The abdominal fat however, melts very slowly. In addition, I am writing a nutrition diary what helps me to keep an overview of my calorie intake. I eat regularly every day, but moderately. Previously, I had never tried a diet. At the beginning of the study I learned a lot about nutrition and eating behavior. My body mass index was measured regularly. Like that, I always know where I stand. It's all about eating in moderation. During the past one and a half year I did not have to abstain from something. I ate knuckle of pork as well as chocolate, but not the whole package. The reason for that I have persevered for so long, is mainly due to the fast success in the beginning. My first lost kilos have motivated me to continue. I have never thought about quitting, because my goal is to lose 50 pounds. So six still remain for which I have six months left.

* Name has been changed by the editors.

Interview by Annekathrin Härter

Keywords: IFB-research, sport, obesity treatment, patient's-reports