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Saturday, May 11, 2013

WEIGHT Doesn't Matter

"I Didn't Think You Weighed That Much"

I was visiting with a good friend of mine the other night.  She was "clapping on the inside" for me and my efforts with my new lifestyle and my blog (mainly my crazy insane action of posting my "Before" pictures when there was no "After."  
"I was clapping on the inside when you posted your pictures! But I have to say that I'm surprised about your weight!  I didn't think that you weight that much.  I mean, you don't LOOK like you weigh that much."
She is right!  I don't look like I weigh that much.  In fact, I have known this dirty little secret for some time.  AND, I used it to hide the truth from myself.  The truth that I was "over-weight."  But, that was BEFORE I defined that term-"overweight"- differently.

Are You OVER Weight?

This is a hard question to answer.  There are a lot of factors that one should consider when determining your health.

1. The Scale- This is the "go to" answer for everyone. They go to the internet, look up how much they should WEIGH, and step on a scale.  If they weigh MORE than that specified amount, then they are over weight.  Although this is ONE way to measure your health, it should NOT be YOUR ONLY way.  If it is, you will find yourself "stuck on the numbers," letting them determine your happiness for the week, day, or even hour; depending on how many times you check the scale.  The final reason to not put your focus onto what the scale says is the old "Muscle Weighs More Than Fat" saying.  And, it's true!  You just can't tell from that number WHERE you really stand. (Well, if you are looking at that number, you are probably "STANDING" on a scale.....but you know what I mean!)

2. BMI- Your Body Mass Index is a pretty accurate way to measure your health.  This takes into effect your  height, AND weight. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy for adults. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 and above is considered obese. People with BMIs of 18.5 or less are considered underweight. This is a little more accurate since it at least takes in some variable of your body structure. The thing that I DON'T like about BMI is that most of them seem to be so vague, only measuring your height and weight.  Most don't even ask if you are male or female, and we KNOW that makes a difference!  I was able to find this ROCKIN' calculator on the WebMD website. This one takes in your weight, height, age, gender, pant size, and target weight loss, all into consideration.  Then, the site educates you on your results.  It also gives you a chart to MEASURE your body in inches and helps you to determine your goals based off of that.

3. Measuring Tape- This is MY "go to" tool.  If I am losing INCHES, I am getting smaller, right?  Well, yes. And, as long as I am exercising correctly, the inches that I am losing are fat, not muscle.

How to Measure Correctly

CLICK HERE for a printable version of this chart.

Bust: Place the measuring tape across your nipples and measure around the largest part of your chest. Be sure to keep the tape parallel to the floor.

Chest: Place the measuring tape just under your breasts/pecs and measure around the torso while keeping the tape parallel to the floor.

Waist: Place the measuring tape about a 1/2 inch above your bellybutton (at the narrowest part of your waist) to measure around your torso. When measuring your waist, exhale and measure.

Hips: Place the measuring tape across the widest part of your hips/buttocks and measure all the way around while keeping the tape parallel to the floor. You can use your waist and hip measurements to calculate your Waist to Hip ratio, an assessment that can help you determine your health risk. Use this Waist to Hip Ratio Calculator to determine your ratio.

Thigh: Measure around the largest part of  the thigh.

Calves: Measure around the largest part of the calf.

Upper arm: Measure around the largest part of  arm (above the elbow).

Forearm: Measure around the largest part of each arm (below the elbow).

Neck: Measure around the largest part of the neck.

Tips for Measuring

  • When taking measurements, stand tall with your muscles relaxed and your feet together.
  • When measuring, apply constant pressure to the tape (so it doesn't sag) without pinching the skin.
  • Use a flexible measuring tape, such as plastic or cloth.
  • Measure under the same conditions each time, such as wearing the same clothes (or none at all).
  • Measure yourself in front of a mirror to make sure the tape is positioned correctly. If possible, have someone else do the measuring for you.
  • The place to take some of these measurements will vary slightly from person to person. To ensure accuracy, just remember to take them in the same place on your body each time.

Don't Just Focus on Your Weight

The girls in the picture to the left, all weigh the same amount.  Look at how different they are! It's obvious that their measurements are not the same, and I am pretty sure that their BMI's are variable as well. Stepping on the scale every week, day, hour, won't make you happier OR healthier.  Although it is a generic way to measure your "fat loss" success, ultimately, it doesn't give you enough information.  You don't want to know if you are getting LIGHTER, you want to be getting HEALTHIER!  Some people actually WANT to get bigger!  That is why we have body building competitions! ;) Some (ME!!)want to get smaller. Take the time to define your HEALTH GOALS, not your WEIGHT GOALS.  All of the above tools are easy to use at home and together will help to measure your success!! 

I am on my way to becoming The Healthy Redhead!

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