Know Your Numbers

Everyone dreads the scale. Your weight in pounds is an important number but not the only one that counts. Here are a few more to help you fight the obesity epidemic.

Know your Body Mass Index (BMI). There are numerous BMI calculators on the Internet-just find one and enter your height and weight. The BMI classifies individuals as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.

With two-thirds of Americans now overweight, it’s easy for your brain to tell you that overweight is the “new” normal weight. High BMI is correlated with all sorts of medical complications including diabetes, high blood pressure and joint problems. Don’t be fooled-get your BMI in the normal weight range and stay there.

Know your lean muscle mass. This takes a little more doing to get it right. Having a trained professional take skin fold measurements in multiple locations is a good measure of percent body fat. More importantly, it tells you where you are holding those excess pounds.

Where your body carries that extra padding is correlated with the risk of getting weight related medical complications. If your weight is more in the middle (apple shaped), you are at higher risk of having a problem than if your weight is in the hips (pear shaped). If you are a woman 30 to 50 years of age, you should be between 15-23% body fat.

Know your daily calorie consumption. You can’t guess here-you have to write it down. There are numerous food record applications available on-line. Pick one and do an honest and accurate three-day food dairy.

You really do have to count calories all the time. The average American woman needs to eat approximately 1800 calories a day to keep her weight steady. Exercise helps but does not replace the need to restrict calories. Running a mile burns around 100 calories but it takes 3600 calories to get rid of a pound of body weight-not a practical solution for overeating.

Take the first step to clean eating. Know your numbers.

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