It’s not all about weight.. but it’s a good place to start. What I mean by this, is that although losing weight and achieving a healthy body weight is important, the scales shouldn’t rule your life.
Lets start by looking at BMI. BMI stands for Body Mass Index and it tells you if you are of a healthy weight for your height. The BMI doesn’t apply to athletes, who tend to have a higher muscle mass (muscle is denser than fat – see image below), and pregnant women. It does however apply to the general population and is a good place to start. Find out your BMI by using this BMI chart – Look up your height along the side bars and then your weight either along the top (Kg) or bottom (stones). You can use the BMI chart to work out your ‘ideal’ body weight too (any weight that lies in the ‘ok’ section i.e. BMI of 20-25). Having a target weight to aim for is useful, however for some people achieving a healthy BMI is unrealistic or simply requires so much weight loss that it can be demotivating.
It is recommended that if you are over-weight, to try to lose 5-10% of your body weight first and then reassess your weight loss goal. Losing 5-10% of your body weight has huge health benefits by reducing the risks of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If you are trying to lose weight, then it will be helpful to monitor it at least weekly. Some people find monitoring their weight daily also useful as it helps you to be ‘in-tune’ with day-to-day fluctuations. Just like a food diary, keeping track of your weight can have its benefits – it can be a good motivational factor and shows when your hard work pays off.
But… If you are exercising then you maybe gaining muscle at the same time as losing fat. Muscle is denser than fat (it takes up less space weight for weight) and as such you may not see any changes on the scales. Therefore I much prefer the following methods to keep track of your bodily changes:
- Photographs – the classic ‘before & after’ shots work for more visual people
- Limb Measurements – exercise will help tone up arms and legs giving a leaner appearance so keep a track of your limb circumferences
- Friends & Family – if someone gives you a compliment on how you look then thank them! They said it because they mean it and it’s motivation to continue
- Waist Circumference – women should aim for a waist circumference of no more than 35 inches and men no more than 40 inches (find your waist by bending to the side or measure 2 fingers up from your belly button)
- Body Fat Percentage – Check out [this blog post] for more information!
To go back to the title ‘It’s Not all About Weight’, it’s true. It’s about loving the body that you are in and feeling positive enough to see that you are in control of your eating habits and if needed, you can change them. With health comes happiness but visa versa also. Eat Well and Be Happy.. focus on trying to eat healthier and try not to worry about weight too much (if you’re eating well and exercising then this will take care of its self!).