How Fat Are We?… Exactly

thinkstockhealthyeatingWe know that most Americans are either overweight or downright obese.  This is bad enough in and of itself, but with this comes a whole slew of medical issues.  When you are overweight or obese you are at a much higher risk for Type 2 Diabetes, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Cardiovascular Disease  and of course Chronic Pain.  We can all certainly get on the scale and scare ourselves or not, but how do we know if our weight is putting us at risk for some serious diseases?

A lot of this comes down to the fact that you can be carrying excess abdominal fat.  This isn’t any kind of regular fat here, like that fat that makes our thighs thunderous or our butts big.  This is biologically active fat.  What this means is that this fat is hormonally active.  This is precisely why it contributes to inflammation, diabetes, abnormal lipid profiles, cardiovascular disease, mental functioning and even cancer.

The traditional way that the government and some health professionals would have us measure ourselves is through the BMI (Body Mass Index) Chart.  This is a graph where you find where your height and weight intersect and see what part of the graph you fall… “normal,” overweight, obese, or extremely obese.  Yes, this is a general indicator, but I have my issues with this chart.  Some body types that are particularly muscular can be categorized as overweight when they really are not and some body types with very little muscle can be considered normal when they are not.  There are better ways to check yourself, plus you don’t have to search the internet trying to find a BMI chart.

Another alternative way to measure yourself is dividing your height in inches by 2.  If you are 5’6″ or 66 inches tall then your waist should be less than 33 inches.  I started using this method years ago when I saw patients with little to no muscle mass so their weight was not too bad, but their labs came back with high sugars and lipid levels along with high blood pressure.  The key was that their waist size for their height was too large, pointing to excess abdominal fat causing imbalances in their blood work.

Then along came a better way to test health risk, the Waist to Hip Ratio.  This is a super simple way to check that abdominal fat.  Just take your waist measurement and divide it by your hip measurement & voila you have a waist to hip ratio.  This number should NOT be more than 0.8 for women or 0.9 for men.  If your ratio is over this then you know you have too much abdominal fat…aka the deadly kind of fat.  When you measure your waist be sure to measure at your belly button level or what appears to be the smallest point on the waist.  To measure the hips, hit it at the widest point which is usually at the level where the pelvic bones stick out.

The most common reasons that this number is too high is a combination of nutrition and what you put in your mouth, your activity level, your sleep habits and yes, last but certainly not least, your stress level.

Acupuncture can help you with sleep and stress and to point that when these two things are off you tend to eat too much of the wrong things it can help with eating as well. There are also herbal formulas to help with all of the above.  Just let us know if you need help with a nutritional plan or activity plan.  Making slow gradual changes will help to permanently reduce your waist size. Rash deprivation is ever fleeting and never your long term answer for maintaining ideal health.

This entry was written by Dr. Shelly Masters , posted on Tuesday May 12 2015at 10:05 am , filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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