The Scale Is Not Your Friend

woman on scale frustratedAfter reading the title of this post, you are probably thinking, “I know that! The numbers on my scale are too high! I’m trying to lose weight so no surprise it’s not my friend!” Well, losing weight is one goal, but there are others that are more important. I’ll get to that in a minute.
I admit it, I weigh myself far too often. Like, daily. You too? Ugh. It’s a habit we need to break. Isn’t it infuriating to see how readily the numbers fluctuate from day to day? Or morning to night? It’s not something I’ve always done. In fact, in my youth, I never got on the scale. The only time I did was at the doctors office for my yearly physical. But I’m over 40 years old now. Those days are gone. The problem is, the scale is not the most important or effective measure of health and fitness. Weight fluctuates due to many variables, like water retention, elimination, increase in muscle mass etc. In fact, when you start a new workout program, you are likely to gain weight initially!
So, what should you focus on if not weight?
The Tape Measure IS your friend!
One of the best predictors of health is the ratio of your height to the circumference of your waist. Your waist should be HALF your height in inches. So, if you are 5′ 6″, your height in inches is 66 inches., therefore your waist should be 33 inches or less.
Why is this so important? Regardless of your overall weight, belly fat increases your risk of:
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Stroke
• Some types of cancer
• Type 2 diabetes
• Insulin resistance
• High triglycerides
• Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol
• Metabolic syndrome
• Sleep apnea
To measure your waist:
• Place a tape measure around your bare waist just above your hipbone.
• Pull the tape measure until it fits snugly around you but doesn’t push into your skin.
• Make sure the tape measure is level and flat all the way around.
• Relax, exhale and measure your waist — no sucking in your stomach!
Keep in mind that there is no one measurement that you should rely upon, just like there is no one exercise that will solve all of your troubles. Take your measurements now, including height/waist ratio, hip circumference, chest circumference and arms and thigh circumference. Write them down and go back to them in a month after doing a regular exercise program and see the changes that occur. Make it your goal to get your waist to be less than half your height in inches and get on the scale only once per week. Well, at least choose one day per week that “counts” as your weigh in day, even if you peek on all the other days! That’s what I do.

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