There is FAR to much attention and focus on weight and weight loss in this society. As a Nutrition Coach, who’s also a woman, athlete and mother, I don’t mind telling you I am sick of it!! We need to change the dialog and focus on what’s really important which is our health, prevention of diseases and cancers and self acceptance!
Let me just run down a few interesting facts for you… because I like dealing in facts when it comes to our health.
1. There are many overweight and obese people who are metabolically healthy. In fact, only 22% of overweight people have metabolic syndrome ( the markers that are tied to heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers). 60% of those classified as obese have metabolic syndrome.
2. According to the latest research at the Mayo Clinic, 20% of men who are of normal weight and 30% of women of normal weight also have metabolic syndrome.
So, it would appear that although obesity puts us at higher risk of having metabolic syndrome and the chronic illness associated with it, clearly weight is not the only factor when determining who is healthy and who is not. To think of about health solely in terms of weight is very counterproductive – especially, when our goal is to improve the health of people!
Where should our focus be? The first thing is that we need to be focused on where our fat deposits are located. Fat that sits right beneath the skin is mostly a cosmetic issue. However, fat that is stored deeper in the body – visceral fat – is the true health concern. Everyone needs some visceral fat – it acts as a protective cushioning around our organs. However, large amounts of this fat are associated with many health issues. You can determine how much visceral fat you are carrying by taking a CT scan. Another way you can determine if you are carrying too much visceral fat is to measure your waist. Get a measuring tape, wrap it around your waist at your belly button. Do it while you’re standing up, and make sure the tape measure is level. Women should have a measurement of <35 inches, a man’s waist measurement should be <40 inches. To put it simply, fat stored in the abdominal cavity (belly fat) is a great indicator of how much visceral fat our bodies are carrying.
Once you’ve have determined if you are carrying to much of this visceral fat, you need to find out 4 other very important numbers and not one of them comes from a scale
- Fasting blood glucose – healthy is <100mg/dL
- Triglyceride level – healthy is < 150mg/dL
- HDL – healthy is >50mg/dL
- Blood pressure (top number) – healthy is less than or equal to 130; (bottom number ) – healthy is less than or equal to 85
Waist measurement plus the above four factors are all indicators of metabolic syndrome. If you have any 3 out of the 5 indicators, you are said to have metabolic syndrome. Why is this important? Metabolic syndrome is linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dementia, kidney disease, liver disease and some cancers including breast and colon cancer. If you are like most people, you know the number on your scale…but have no clue about these other very important indicators. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS!
The only way to treat metabolic syndrome is by adopting a healthy diet & becoming physical active! And remember, just because you are of normal weight doesn’t make you immune to metabolic syndrome and just because you are clinically overweight does not mean you are metabolically deficient.
So, you see, if we adopt a lifestyle where we are nourishing our bodies for optimal metabolic health, we will not only look amazing & feel great, but we give ourselves the best chance to live long healthy lives!
Until next time… BE WELL !
Should you have any questions about any of the information that I’ve presented here, please feel free to ask it in the comment section. You may also leave me an email at email@example.com! I encourage you to check out my website for a list of services or to contact me for a custom individual program or book me for a speaking engagement.