I recently discussed the importance of body composition and how it matters not so much what you weigh, but rather how much of that weight is fat vs. muscle mass. For more information, check out this blog post: The Significance of Body Composition.
Now that we have reviewed the importance of knowing how much fat you carry relative to muscle, let’s discuss the importance of determining where that fat is.
An easy and effective way to measure what is really going on in your body is by calculating your Waist to Hip Ratio. All you need is a tape measure, which is portable, inexpensive, and will help you overcome Scalitis, that nasty disease that keeps you tied to your bathroom scale as a determinant of your self-worth!!
Here is how to determine your Waist to Hip Ratio:
First, measure your waist at the smaller circumference of your natural waist, usually at or just above the navel. Be consistent about the spot at which you measure so the next time you take measurements, you know that it is accurate.
Next, measure your hips at the widest circumference of your buttocks. Again, make note of the spot at which you measure, to repeat this the next time.
Finally, divide the circumference of your WAIST by the circumference of your HIPS.
Ideally, women are below .86 and men are below .95.
If you are above these markers, you are at an increased risk for health problems. Again, it is not just the amount of fat you have but rather, the distribution of the fat. Fat around the midsection is deadly.
Belly fat is the killer fat. The organs literally become fatty, and this leads to metabolic derangements and disease.
Belly fat, or visceral fat, looks like melted candle wax. It is fat in and around abdominal organs. It is not subcutaneous fat.
Abdominal obesity is a prelude to high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and all sorts of deadly diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome, to name a few.
To end on a high note, remember that information is power, and it is better to know the truth so you can be proactive about your health and make necessary changes to ensure a long and healthy life! Go out, get your tape measure, and let me know the results!
Live with Simplicity,