Body Measurements and What They Mean

Determining your “ideal” healthy weight is a combination of several factors, including: measurements, genetics, and personal feelings.

Measurements & What they Indicate…
BMI (Body Mass Index); is a number that is based on your height and weight and how this weight affects your risk for weight-related health problems.  Certain aspects are not addressed by the BMI, like muscle mass or body fat.  Many experts argue against it’s effectiveness when used alone to determine whether an individual is at a healthy weight because it is solely based on height and weight, not on age, gender, ethnicity, and does not take into account the fact that muscle mass and bone weigh more than fat.  However, using BMI along with another measurement like body fat percentage.  A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.
Body Fat; this measurement helps describe the composition of your body by giving you a percentage of your total body weight that is in fact, fat.  When you receive this percentage you then know the portion of lean body mass in pounds and the portion of fat in pounds.  The location of this fat is also significant and can be determined by taking the appropriate measurements.   It isn’t just about the total number on the scale because people with a lot of lean muscle mass may weigh more, but have less body fat which would make them in fact more fit.  Conversely, someone who is “thin” may have a high amount of body fat despite being lighter on the scale.  
Body Shape; I am sure you have heard of the terms “Apple-Shaped” and “Pear-Shaped.”  I think it is ironic that we are being compared to fruit when discussing our shape, however, there is something to be said about where we wear our weight.  
Apple-shaped individuals are those who tend to carry their extra LBS around their mid-section.  This body type has a higher health risk for weight-related diseases like: high cholesterol levels, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.  Although this appearance is oftentimes due to a genetic predisposition, things like increased alcohol intake, high levels sugary beverage consumption, and smoking can lead to excess stomach weight as well.  Increasing exercise and eating a healthier diet (duh!) are the best ways to reduce stomach fat and decrease these heath risks.  
Pear-shaped figures are those who carry their weight in their thigh and buttocks area, although are not a serious health risks, they are more susceptible to varicose veins and orthopedic issues.  
Some Facts…
*Remember that muscle burns more calories than body fat, so if you focus on building more lean muscle mass via exercise, you can increase your natural energy expenditure (which is your resting metabolic rate  (RMR) or the calories you burn each day at rest.)  
*Now, muscle weighs more than fat, so while you may not see the number on the scale go down, you will feel leaner.  This helps your clothes fit better because this toning decreases inches throughout the body.
*Genetics are genetics, so seeing a doctor regularly to monitor things like cholesterol and blood pressure is important.  You may workout religiously and watch every single thing you eat and still not be in total control of your numbers.  Tis’ life.  But, that does not mean you should let things fall to the wayside!
Personal Goals…
*I think goal setting is an invaluable tool.  However, goals should be attainable and realistic.  After all, you want to reach them!
*Setting both short-term and long-term goals can keep motivation high as you meet the little mile markers on your way to finishing the marathon, you still get that sense of accomplishment along the way.  
*Get selfish.  The goals should be about you!
*For every physiological or aesthetic goal, there should be an immeasurable goal related to behavior changes, emotions/feelings, etc.  
For example: I want to run 6 miles without stopping, I want to lose 2% body fat, I want to learn to eat   breakfast everyday, and I want to feel better in my own skin.
*Physiological goals should take the thoughts above into account-most people say they want to lose 10 LBS but forget all about body fat, fitness goals, health, and developing positive habits.
*Write them down and revisit them every week to stay on track.  To reinforce your commitment, tell someone significant in your life your goals and gain their support in achieving them.