What's the Best Way to track your health and fitness - does BMI matter?

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO TRACK YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS –

DOES BMI MATTER?

 

Is there a single best way to track your health and fitness and weight loss journey?  Simply no…

 

Firstly, there’s a lot of debate about whether and why BMI is important.

 

For those of you who don’t know what it means it stands for Body Mass Index.  BMI is a way of measuring your body mass (fat) dependent on your weight and height.  The readings go from underweight (<19), through normal (19-25), to overweight (25-30) and three different categories of obese (30+)

 

You can check your BMI HERE with this simple tool

 

Now here’s the thing it was invented yonks ago, yes really yonks (1900s) and in recent years it’s had some bad press.  The reason being, some very muscular people are getting high BMI readings putting them in the obese category because muscle weighs more than fat.

 

As you will know, when I work with my clients, I use a range of measures as all have pros and cons, but I do use BMI and this is why.

 

Where BMI readings are inaccurate, this is usually pretty rare cases and the one that made the headlines in the UK were about a serious lady body builder who had virtually no fat and was total muscle.

 

Generally, this isn’t the case, and it’s a fair indication of whether someone is overweight or not.  It’s also recognised by the National Health Service in the UK and how they may or may not treat people dependent on what their BMI is.

 

For example, one lady told me that to be tested as a possible kidney donor for her Mum, they wouldn’t even consider her until her BMI was considerably lower (under 30).  One of my clients was also refused surgery until her BMI was below a certain reading.

 

BMI is used as an indicator for when bariatric surgery can be offered and even some GPs will refer their patients to slimming groups depending on their BMI.

 

But more importantly it does set a marker of likelihood of linked and related conditions associated with being overweight and obese.

 

Would it surprise you to know that someone with a BMI category of 30+ (Obese I) is 18 times more likely to get diabetes than someone who is in the normal weight range category (19 – 25)?

 

The lady as mentioned above, is looking to donate the kidney as one of the side effects of her Mum’s diabetes.  But did you know that diet and exercise can prevent diabetes and can certainly stabilise blood sugar levels?

 

If you think BMI is unimportant or not relevant, perhaps ask the woman mentioned in this who is desperately wanting to lose weight so that she can donate a kidney for her very sick Mum but can’t even be considered at the moment.

 

One important measure I use is waist measurement.  Because when we store our fat around our midsection this is also around our organs and a shrinking waist can have great relevance, and again reduce risk of preventable diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

 

For men, a healthy waist is under 34” and for women it’s under 31.5”.  Very high risk is 40” (men) and 34” women.

 

Having said that, these are two of many measures I use with my clients to show progress, alongside scales, photographs, total body measurements and dress/trouser size.

 

For general tracking and measuring, weekly weigh in at the same time and day is a useful tool – scales aren’t everything but are a good compass of progress.

 

Before and after photos are great motivation to offset the vagaries of the scale weight, as are shrinking inches from the waist and body and fitting into smaller clothes.  Having said that, taking photos are often the thing my clients like least, but also do understand when they get closer to their goal the absolute value of having made themselves get out of their comfort zone.

 

A lot of my clients also measure health improvements in the number of press ups they can do, or burpees, or getting quicker on a certain run, or not struggling to get through an exercise routine that when they started felt challenging.

 

Another great indication for my clients of improving health and fitness is more energy through more exercise and better food choices.

 

All of these things give different meaning and motivation to a weight and health journey.

 

Is there a perfect approach? No, and that’s why I use a range of tools.

 

At the end of the day, what gets measured gets managed.