Thursday, December 31, 2009

What's a BMI and who stole the tapemeasure?

Being accountable just means saying, "Yes," out loud, to someone else that you are going to do something to change. It always, always starts with telling ourselves the truth. If we are not honest with our own thinking, we will join the 76 - 82% who start losing weight or exercising and just drop out.
The first step is finding a tapemeasure or getting on the scales. Because body composition is a health related component of any weight loss/behavior change, we have to measure first. If you can't find a tape measure, use a string and then find a ruler to write down what your waist measurement truly is. Use a paperclip to mark the spot where the string meets!
Here's how to find where to measure. Find your iliac crest, which is directly underneath your armpit and the highest part of your pelvis with a bony protrusion. Lay the tape measure or string right above it on a horizontal plane. After a normal exhalation (no sucking in), measure three times to make sure you have the same inch measurement.

Secondly, find a scale and take all your clothes off. Hopefully, this is not in the entrance of Wal-Mart or at a department store. (: Open your eyes and see what the scale says without holding onto the wall or standing on one leg. This will give you your starting point for discovering your B.M.I. or body mass index.
Write down these two numbers in a journal, a planner, a calendar, or log onto (free site)

Here's our truth telling moment. If your waist measurement is less than 35 inches (for women) and 40 inches (for men), you are in the 35.5% of Americans were are at a normal weight. However, if your waist measurement is above those numbers >35 for girls and >40 for guys, you are considered overweight or obese. Not the time to freak out, just the time to get motivated. Most metabolic diseases (cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, etc.) have tell-tale signs, and waist measurement is a big red STOP sign on continuing what you are already eating and doing.

What in the world is a B.M.I. you might ask? Dr. Oz talks about it all the time, and I am going to show you how to find it. It is all about your weight in pounds compared to your height in inches. Find a calculator. This will take a little basic math, but don't worry I am a teacher and can walk you through it. After you weigh yourself, see how tall you are in INCHES. Stand next to a doorway and use that ruler to mark the spot.

Now, you have two numbers with your weight in lbs. and your height in inches. Get your calculator in ready position!

Step #1. Multiply 703 times your weight in lbs. (703 is just the number we use to convert from the metric system to the English system.)
Step#2. Divide your first number (703 x your weight) by your height in inches.
Step #3. Divide the second answer by your height in inches again.

For example: Your weight is 144 pounds. Multiply 703 times 144 = 101232.

Now, divide that number by your height (5 feet times 12 inches = 60 inches). My height is 5'5" so my height in inches is 65.

Divide 101232 (my first number) by 65 = 1557.4153

Finally, divide it again by your height in inches. 1557.4153 divided by 65 = 23.960235. Round it up to 24. That would be your Body Mass Index.

Decision making time! If your answer is below 25, you are in the green zone. If your answer is 25, 26, 27, 28, or 29, you are considered overweight. If your answer is equal to or above 30, you are considered obese. I know that is a really hard thing to see, but we are only finding our beginning point. Just weighing in doesn't always tell you the whole picture! You need to do the math.

Think of it as a monopoly game. We are at the starting point, and our goal is to make progress. Progress would be measured by our waist circumference going down or our B.M.I. getting closer to that magic number of 25. Our short term goal is February on Super Bowl Sunday. We are not trying to buy "Park Place" or "Virginia Avenue," we are just trying to move down that board.

In order to make that magic number of your waist measurement or your B.M.I. go down, decrease your normal calorie intake by 300 calories per day AND increase your calorie output by adding in 30 minutes of exercise (if you can't do all 30 minutes at one time, do 20 minutes now and 10 minutes later). We are just taking baby steps in order to feel better about ourselves and be healthier in 2010. If you are not sure of what your normal calorie intake might be, just take a normal day and add it up. For example, some people eat about 2,000 calories a day. If we were to delete 300 calories, we would not eat a pastry, fried food, etc., and then add in 300 calories of walking which depending on the speed of your walk would be around 30 minutes.

Calories in, Calories out! Join our accountability group and let me know how you are doing! We can do it together; the buddy system works!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Calories in; Calories out!

Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is an important concern for many people during the holiday season. I personally am recovering from surgery; therefore, my normal exercise is limited, and the old fear of gaining weight is ever present in my thought processes. So, how do you keep from gaining, lose weight, or find a way to eat through the holiday season?

I have learned through my personal training certification at Cooper Institute that it is all about the calories that you consume. I know, I know. Many diets tell you that calories really do not matter; it may be (according to them) the combination of foods you eat or the absence of high calorie foods. The list goes on and on. How do I know that? I used to be very overweight, and I have tried them all!

Good nutrition is a must, first of all. As I have been resting more often since surgery last week, I have watched far more T.V. than normally. However, I have a new favorite--Dr. Oz. He really has some great advice. Now, granted I have only been his viewer for two days, but I am impressed! Dr. Oz has some great advice -- "Eat the colors of the rainbow every day in your food choices."

Two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of veggies should be a great starting point. Even if you don't really enjoy these types of food, make it a priority to get these foods in by noon, and you are on your way to eating healthier. Eat a red apple, orange apricots, dark blueberries, green broccoli, yellow squash or corn, and purple cabbage. Look at the colors that you have added to the normal American diet of everything that is WHITE!

Secondly, record everything you eat. You can choose a sticky note, a journal, a notebook, or a website like calorie count. This creates mindfulness of your eating (which is what yoga teaches us), sets a standard to help us know when we are full vs. loading our plates up with goodies of undetermined amounts, and it gives us accountability. Just write it down!

Remember, it takes 3,500 extra calories to gain a pound of weight, and 3,500 calories less to lose a pound of weight. However, these are accumulated day after day. Our goal is 300 calories less IN a day; 300 calories more OUT a day. If you cut out two ice cream sandwiches out of your normal daily eating, you have essentially taken out 300 calories of out your normal eating. Make that your goal every day. Substitute a high calorie food with a low calorie food in snacking or your afternoon or evening meal.

Now, the hardest part is always MAKING time to exercise. Once we are there, everything else flows. It is getting there that is the most difficult for us. I always tell people that participate in my yoga classes. Grabbing your yoga mat and showing up for class is the challenge. Once you are there; everything else will naturally evolve, and you will leave feeling proud of yourself for taking time out to be healthier and feel more confident due to your good choice making. Our goal is to burn 300 more calories a day. You can achieve this just by putting on a pedometer and walking 10,000 steps a day. You can do a jog/walk in your neighborhood or put your dog on a leash, strap on your tennies, and take off. You would be amazed at how much more ENERGY you have just by adding in 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Give yourself a star every day you make this choice.

Join me in the 300 less calories in; 300 more calories out adventure this holiday season! We will weigh back in, measure your waistline, see if you can drop a jeans size (or just make a tight pair easier to wear) by the Super Bowl game! I would love to hear your daily comments or be able to encourage you through this challenge. E-mail me at to share your daily count, your daily exercise log, or just let me know you are there endeavoring to make yourself healthier, more confident, and more functionally fit! Start today, and we will weigh, measure, or just look better - feel better by February 7, 2010.

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