Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wedding and BMI

Well not much has been happening with the wedding scene lately. I’m going over to my grandmothers tomorrow to get measured for my wedding dress. My mom and grandma will be sewing it for me. I’m very excited as it is a pattern my mom picked out for me years ago and I just happened to pick that same pattern myself while browsing options online. She already had the pattern! No such thing as coincidence, right?

Anyway, I wanted to focus on diets. Weight loss becomes a goal for almost everyone involved in the wedding. From the bridal party to the guests, the thought crosses their mind when they receive the save the date or invitation – will I be able to lose a few pounds before this big day?

I was engaged in August 2009 and have told myself I would lose weight since then. A recent trip to the doctor has show that I’ve still hovered around my initial weight for the last 7 years – however a glance in the mirror shows some areas of the body looking rather heavy. Most people will tell me that I am not overweight. While I am not obese and do not appear heavy to someone else – to myself I’ve seen where I have gained weight. I have gained weight in the last 3 years and it is not the healthy type of weight gain either.

Before we start talking about weight loss, let’s look at how we can calculate the healthiness of our bodies. I will also interject that for a completely safe and thorough plan to lose weight and assess your body’s health, see your doctor before taking major steps. The only reason I know these things and feel comfortable using the information I get from it is from my experience working as the Physical Trainer while in the Air Force and my own extensive research I’ve done on my own. I am not a doctor (yet!) so if you are truly concerned about how to proceed, seek the counsel of your personal doctor before taking any major dietary changes (especially if you are diabetic or have other forms of health issues).

Many people get hung up during their journey to weight loss over the number on their scale, but that number does not determine how fit you are. What determines how much you should weigh has to do with what actually makes up that weight. As an example, one should know that your weight is made up of a healthy ratio of bone, muscle, and fat.

Lowering your body weight does not necessarily mean you are healthier or that you will look better. Muscle does weigh more than fat since it is more dense than fat. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat, but muscle mass is much more compacted and thus only takes up a 1/3 of the space! By doing a healthy weight loss program, with regular exercise, you will certainly gain muscle and lose fat. The number might stay the same or it may rise, but you will lose in inches, since muscle will take up more space.

A good way to assess where you are at home is to figure out what your Body Mass Index (BMI) is. This is usually used as a screening tool for one to determine ones weight status. BMI is only based on height and weight; it does not take into consideration your body composition or genetics. For some people, a healthy weight may be higher than BMI standards. Eating habits, physical activity patterns, other lifestyle choices, body composition and genetics are more important than any number on the scale in determining what weight is right for you. You can use BMI as a rough indicator and then consult a health care professional to help determine what weight is right for you!

How to calculate BMI

BMI is calculated by the following formula: weight in kg / height in m2. If you are not familiar with kilogram and meter measurements (silly metric system) you can follow my steps below to calculate your BMI.

Step 1:            Take your weight (in pounds) x 705
Step 2:            Divide that number by your height (in inches (12 inches in 1 foot))
Step 3:            Divide that number by your height (in inches) again

We’ll use my weight as an example:
Weight ~125 lbs  Height 5’0

Step 1:            125 x 705 = 88,125
Step 2:            88,125/60 = 1,468.75
Step 3:            1,468.75/60 = 24.48

The BMI Standards

< 18.5
Healthy Weight
18.5 – 24.9
25.0 – 29.9
Obese I
30.0 – 34.9
Obese II
35.0 – 39.9
Obese III

If you do not have a calculator on hand I have a couple links to websites where you can enter in this information and it will calculate it for you:

Again keep in mind that the BMI does have limits such as:
v  It may overestimate body fat for athletes or people with a muscular build already.
v  It may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle mass
v  It does not take into consideration of water weight
v  Bone density is different in different ages

The usage of BMI should not ultimately determine if you are overweight or obese. It is merely a step to take while assessing your overall body health. BMI is mostly used for statistical study purposes than anything else – and you are aware of its flaws so this scale is not the end all be all of where you are currently standing.

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