by Jari Love
Do you step on scale and burst into tears? I have, many times. You’re not alone. So many times when you think you’ve been following your meal plan from your personal trainer and you’re feel like you’re losing weight, then you step on the scale and it doesn’t move. It’s demoralizing when your hard work doesn’t pay off on the scale. I couldn’t handle it anymore, so I threw out my scale. But then, how do you measure your weight loss with no scale. Many doctors will suggest BMI, but there are major flaws with BMI, which I will write more about at another time. But this doctor suggests a few other ways to measure. Let me know what you think…
Believe me, it’s not easy losing weight. And you are not on your own – thousands of people have lost weight only to rebound back, usually with a few extra pounds too.
But it is possible if you understand why you don’t seem to be able to manage your weight long term – to take back the control you need to live a happier, healthier and even a longer life. Before tackling your next diet, answer these questions.
There are a number of different ways to assess your weight:
Measure your BMI
Doctors have BMI charts that tell them the healthy range of weight an individual should be for a given height. Your BMI is your weight, in kgs, divided by the square of your height in metres. A healthy BMI is between 18.5-25kg, 18.5-23 if you are of Asian descent.
Measure your waist circumference
BMI is not the whole story though – it is possible, particularly if you’re a fit muscly man, to have a high BMI and be fit.
And by this I mean high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes and, if you are of Asian descent, things get even tougher. Asian men, in particular, are at an increased risk of these conditions, so the numbers are smaller – waistlines should be no more than 90cm (36in).
To measure your waist, you need to feel for your hip bone and for the bottom of your ribs. The idea is to breathe out naturally (don’t force your abdomen out, just gently exhale) and measure your circumference midway between these two points.
Waistlines greater than this can be associated with significantly increased risks of high blood pressure.
Percentage body fat
We need some fat to keep us insulated, to protect our organs, and to be used as a source of stored energy. But excess fat is bad for us and increases our risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
How much fat is allowed depends on your gender and your age. Some scales will calculate your percentage body fat for you. For women aged from 20 to 40 anything over 34% is overweight, while overweight men of a similar age will have at least 20-25% body fat. For 41 to 60-year-old women, overweight body fat starts at 36% and in men, from 23%. For the over 60s, it starts at 37% for women and 26% for men.
As a doctor I have to say – yes! On all sorts of levels. As a GP, I think there are practical, emotional and physical reasons for keeping weight in check. If you don’t like your body, you’re more likely to have problems with self-confidence and there is no doubt that excess weight increases the risk of a host of physical health problems.
And if we were to suddenly wake up carrying a couple of extra stone we would recognize very quickly how being overweight or obese leaves us feeling tired and short of breath with aches and pains.
And it will come as no surprise to you that heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are more common in overweight people, but also some cancers, including breast, colon and ovarian cancer, are more likely to strike. Plus, you are at an increased risk of developing sleep apnoea, and if you need surgery, virtually every post-operative complication is more likely to occur.
Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.