Word of the Month


David Zapatka

Do you occasionally find yourself having a gut reaction to a comment or situation you are exposed to? Do you notice yourself or others having immediate strong emotional reactions to stimuli with no basis in logic, reason or intellect? These reactions/emotions are described as visceral, this month’s word.

Visceral – adjective vis·cer·al ˈvi-sə-rəl, ˈvis-rəl coming from strong emotions and not from logic or reason: felt in or as if in the internal organs or inner guts of the body. <a visceral conviction> not intellectual: instinctive, unreasoning <visceral drives> Synonym – splanchnic (New Latin splanchnicus, from Greek splanchnikos, from splanchna, plural; akin to Greek splēn spleen) Antonym – cerebral.

A visceral reaction is one of strong emotion lacking reason, logic or intellect. It comes from the body, a gut reaction, typically in the solar plexus, abdominal or spleen area. This is usually felt to be a more powerful reaction, and so we tend to reserve “visceral” for those reactions which are generated by things that hit us so hard that it almost feels as if we have been punched in the stomach.

Visceral used in a sentence:

In 1972 he began an address at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, “This is not quite an honor…. I haven’t had too much regard for the Chamber of Commerce in my years in Boston. When the Celtics won 11 championships in 13 years, it was ignored in their own town.” Arnold Jacob “Red” Auerbach, though paradoxical and highly idiosyncratic, was foremost a direct and visceral man. —Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, 6 Nov. 2006

When you measure your waist circumference, you’re indirectly measuring your visceral fat. —David Schardt, Nutrition Action, July/August 2006

David Schardt’s quote about waist circumference being a measurement of our visceral fat is interesting to contemplate. Knowing our thoughts manifest in us physically and thinking of soft belly fat, there are some theories about what thinking manifests itself as soft belly fat. Consider these to see if any may ring true.

Lack of self-confidence

Lack of self-discipline

Inability to draw clear boundaries

Fear of accepting responsibilities

Lack of autonomy

Lack of will power

Self-pity, imaging oneself as a victim

Fear of being rejected

Fears connected with our looks – weight, aging, baldness, etc.

Fear about others discovering our secrets

Fear of criticism

The inability or insufficiency in exerting our personal power in these areas manifests as soft protective belly fat. Why this area? The third chakra located around the navel in the area of the solar plexus up to the breastbone is the center of our self-esteem, willpower and self-discipline. Change our thinking and change our body. Have you ever noticed when faltering with these issues, weight is gained here? And the opposite, when taking charge of these areas, weight is lost?

Or maybe it’s just eating ice cream late at night….

Please submit any thoughts you may have on this month’s column or any word you may like to share with our readers along with your insights and comments to [email protected].