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As I mentioned last week I’ve decided to write a three-part blog on weight loss since there’s so much I want to share.  I’m sure you may be getting sick of hearing it but I want to drive home the point that a wholesome diet, proper exercise, adequate sleep (7-8 hours each night) and stress reduction activities such as yoga or meditation as well as enjoying the beautiful outdoors are all very important factors to our health and contribute to overall longevity.

Four years ago when I began studying to become a Fitness Trainer I was taught two very important tools that are used to determine a person’s risk for certain diseases, and how to best classify them in comparison with the rest of the population.  There are several anthropometric measurements (body measurements used to assist one’s understanding of physical variation) available today. The Body Mass Index, aka BMI, and the Waist-to-Hip ratio are both easy to administer and provide us with some very important information.  You may have heard the term BMI used at the doctor’s office but if not that’s o.k., I’m going to teach you how to calculate your BMI and how to determine if you’re at a healthy weight for your height.

1 – Take your weight in kg (to convert lbs to kg divide by 2.2).

2 – Take your height in meters (to convert your height to meters you must figure out your height in inches (1 foot = 12 inches) and take that number and divide it by 0.39. Then, take that number and divide it by 100.

3 – To calculate your BMI you use those two results (your weight in kg and your height in meters). Divide your weight in kg by your height in meters squared.

Here’s an example using my personal information = I’m a 5’7″, 135 lbs female.

Weight 135 lbs/2.2 = 61.36 kg

Height 5’7″ = 67 inches: 67 inches/0.39 = 171.79 cm: 171.79 cm/100 = 1.7 meters squared

61.36/1.7 meters squared (1.7 x 1.7) = 61.36/2.89 = 21.23

I have a BMI of 21.23.

Underweight = 18.5 or less      Normal weight = 18.5 – 24.9

Overweight = 25 – 29.9           Obese= 30 or above

Once you have your BMI calculated you can figure out where you fit on the chart above.

Please note, people who have large amounts of muscle mass may appear overweight although they could be still be considered healthy.  This chart is simply a guide and does not apply to all body types.

The second measurement I want to teach you how to calculate is your waist-to-hip ratio.  This one is much simpler.  Standing with your feet together, measure around your hips (in inches) parallel to the floor at the roundest part of your bum.  Then measure your waist, at the smallest point around your body (usually just above the hip bones/navel).  Then take those numbers and do the following calculation:

1 – Divide your waist number by your hip number.

Here’s an example using my calculations:

Waist = 28 inches/ Hips = 37.5 inches = 0.75

This information can be used to determine if you are at risk for diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, infertility and certain types of cancer.  Using the chart below, you can now determine what category you fall in and whether or not you’re at risk.  Part III of this weight lose series will focus on the best types of exercise, what intensity you should work out at, and how to lose the weight for good.

Waist to Hip Ratio Chart
Male Female Health Risk Based Solely on WHR
0.95 or below 0.80 or below Low Risk
0.96 to 1.0 0.81 to 0.85 Moderate Risk
1.0+ 0.85+ High Risk
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