There are several ways to determine one’s level of health and fitness. However, it seems that the majority of you measure your success by the Basal Metabolic Index; which, in case you didn’t know, was developed more than 200 years ago. It is basically a comparison between your weight and your height. It doesn’t take into consideration age or gender. Given those factors, needless to say, I don’t give it much value.
Using this method, first determine what you “should” weigh:
Take your height (in inches) cubed and divide it by 1906. So for me…
67 X 67 X 67 = 300763 / 1906 = 157.8
What do I weight? 160.
Next, what’s my BMI? Now, I divide my weight (in pounds) by my height (in inches) squared and then multiply by 703. So…
[160 ÷ (67)2] x 703 which is 160 ÷ 4489 x 703 = 25.1
Where does that put me on the “scale”?
BMI Weight Status
|18.5 – 24.9||Normal|
|25.0 – 29.9||Overweight|
|30.0 and Above||Obese|
Now, according to the BMI’s standards, I am technically Overweight. Really? I know the difference is tiny; two tenths to be exact. But do any of you really think I am overweight?
The other and far more complete and effective manner in measuring one’s health and fitness level is determining one’s body fat percentage. This can be measured hydro-statically (underwater and most effective), with calipers (accurate within two percentage points) and with bioimpedance scales.
At 160 pounds, using the calipers, I am 9 percent. That means I have 14.4 pounds of fat and 145.6 pounds of muscle.
And according to this scale, I (being 42 years old) am actually “Underfat”.
|20-40 yrs||Under 8%||8-19%||19-25%||Over 25%|
|41-60 yrs||Under 11%||11-22%||22-27%||Over 27%|
|61-79 yrs||Under 13%||13-25%||25-30%||Over 30%|
|20-40 yrs||Under 21%||21-33%||33-39%||Over 39%|
|41-60 yrs||Under 23%||23-35%||35-40%||Over 40%|
|61-79 yrs||Under 24%||24-36%||36-42%||Over 42%|
I can’t really argue with the results here. But this is the question…am I a high risk candidate for the same health issues being “overweight” as identified by the BMI scale as males my age who may be at a “normal” weight but have a body fat percentage above 25 percent? The answer is obviously no.
So while I think it is great that so many of you are losing weight, please don’t lose focus. I want you to be healthy as well as slim.
Here are some potential health issues one can develop if proper nutrition is ignored for a sustainable length of time:
Malnutrition – a deficiency for energy, protein and micronutrients. It can cause severe health risks including (but not limited to) respiratory infections, kidney failure, blindness, heart attack and death.
Dehydration – caused by the depletion or lack of intake of fluids in the body, or by restriction of carbohydrates and fat. It can lead to kidney failure, heart failure, seizures, brain damage and death.
Muscle Atrophy – wasting away of muscle and decrease in muscle mass due to the body feeding off of itself.
Remember, since you are not sedentary individuals, severely restricting your caloric intake will not ultimately lead you to your weight loss goal faster. Muscle is metabolic. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn – even at rest!
So, if you continue to be active, continue to eat sensibly:
Males: 1 – 1.5 grams of protein and 2 – 2.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of lean body mass a day.
Females: .75 – 1 gram of protein and 1.5 – 2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of lean body mass a day.
Choose lean sources of protein and non-starchy carbohydrates for optimal results