Are you Obese, Overweight or Just Right?

Why BMI does not show you the true picture!

One of the questions that does not have a straight answer is what is the right weight for an individual. The question itself is complex because individuals can be male or female; short or tall; young or old; fitness freaks or ordinary sedentary people.

In the 1970’s, BMI gained popularity as a way of judging body fat.  Under this method, A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. Anything under 18.5 is considered underweight. BMIs between 25 and 29.9 fall into overweight territory, and above 30 is considered obese.

How is BMI calculated?

We can calculate a person’s BMI by dividing their weight in pounds by their height in inches squared.

Why is it not a good measure?

Age is not factored into body mass index calculations; the calculations are based only on height and weight. Also if you imagine a Mr. Universe and a fat man and take their BMI, you would not be able to tell who is obese because obviously Mr. Universe has a higher mass for his weight due to muscles while the fat man has more weight due to fat but the resultant BMI does not make the distinction.

If BMI does not work, what else can we use?

When I did my personal trainers course, I learned that you could use a caliper and take measure the thickness of a fold of fat at the love handles. When a person is fit and does not have fats, it is not possible to take this measurement.

Another method is to check the proportion between the chest and waist. If you measure the waist along the belly button and compare it against the measure of the chest along the nipples; you want to find the Chest to have a greater measure than the waist for fit persons and the other way round for persons with fats.

To keep track of improvement, record these measurements and check again after a month of workout and diet control. Improved measurements show progress and confirm that you are on the right track. This method also allows you to get a more intimate understanding of the dynamics between your exercise intensity, diet and weight.

Is fat bad?

On the contrary, fat is not all bad. We need fats for oil soluble nutrients to be distributed in the body. Body builders and fitness models may prepare for events by shedding fats to as low as 7% but it is not healthy to stay at that level for prolonged periods of time.

The body metabolism has a pecking order. Carbs used first, fats next and proteins are the last recourse when looking for energy to fuel the body. The best strategy would be to identify your daily calorie needs and plan your meal so that you get those calories from complex carbs with fiber, good fats and protein. The carbs and fats will be used for energy to fuel the body while the proteins are needed to build and maintain muscles. The fiber is pass through and along with complex carbs it keeps you feeling satiated for a longer time thus preventing binge eating.

Hope this gives you some information. Check back again and also explore the menu above to find more information for improving your fitness levels.

Mystery,Enlighten

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