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Do You Love Your Scale?

How do you actually feel about the scale? When the number is lower than expected, do you feel good? What about if the number is higher, does this ruin your day? I'd like to challenge you to consider putting the scale away for a month and choose other markers to access your health status.



 

The Problem.

The scale has been the standard measurement used both at home and every time we go the the doctors office. This number is put into our chart and it can direct the conversation around our health. Unfortunately, this metric is sadly lacking and in terms of disease risk, it's not the most accurate tool to use.

Why is this measurement a problem?

  • Our scale weight doesn't distinguish between fat, muscle, skeletal tissue or water weight. When we have a greater percentage of muscle and denser bones, which are important indicators of fitness and health, we will weight more.

  • The gold-standard "BMI" [a weight-to-height ratio] is an inaccurate metric of health. Unfortunately, it's only a number void of more pertinent factors that may influence our risk of premature death and illness. Blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular strength along with emotional well-being, and adequate sleep are also important markers to consider.

There is no such thing as a normal BMI for everybody.

Thin Bodies and Overall Health.

The media, diet and fitness culture and even most of the medical community promotes a thinner body as a healthier body. But the truth is, thinner-bodied people can also have significant health problems. This can be a dangerous situation as both doctors and patients judge their health by how they look, often times failing to use important tests to actually determine blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol and triglyceride numbers.

With each passing year, we're learning more and more about the complex way genetics and lifestyle factors interact to play a role in our health, longevity and body weight.


Wellness is about so much more than telling us to eat less and move more.

The Outdated BMI.

BMI is a simple equation of weight relative to height. This is still the individual health assessment doctors track and turn to to try and determine if a patent qualifies for certain weight management protocols. Yet, this measurement isn't accurate as nearly half of those accessed as unhealthy based on BMI alone were metabolically healthy, meaning their blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar all fell within the normal range. At the same time, 30% of individuals considered "normal weight" had metabolic or heart health challenges. [International Journal of Obesity, May 2018.]



 

Waist-to-Height Ratio.

The waist-to-height ratio is a better reflection of disease risk than BMI. This can help approximate the amount of belly fat [visceral fat] in and around vital organs that play a role in our health and longetivity.

Those with the highest waist-to-height ratio, meaning that they carried a higher ratio of weight near their midsection had a 39% higher risk for being hospitalized later due to complications with heart failure.

Measuring our natural waist gives us a good measurement of how much abdominal fat we are carrying.

How to Measure Your Waist.

  1. Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips.

  2. Place a tape measure around your middle at a point halfway between them [2 fingers above belly button for women, at belly button for men.]

  3. Make sure tape is pulled snugly, but not digging into skin.

  4. Breath our naturally and take your measurement.

  5. Repeat measurement to confirm.

Men - a waist circumference below 37 inches is low risk, 37-40 inches is high risk, more than 40 inches is very high risk.

Women - a waist circumference below 31 inches is low risk, 31-34 inches is high risk and more than 34 inches is very high risk.

Here's a helpful calculator to use: https://extras.bhf.org.uk


One of the most important steps we can take is to become aware of our health risks. What we eat, how we move, our sleep patterns, daily movement and social interactions, all play significant parts in our overall well-being. It's much more effective to make small incremental changes in these areas that are sustainable instead of drastic changes that can be hard to sustain in the long run.

I can help you navigate ways to improve your health.

You can find me here: https://www.janlindquistntp.com

Thanks for reading,

Jan





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