Everyone knows at least one of the following types of people. There’s the person who is underweight or average weight, but believes they are overweight. Then there’s the person who is actually overweight and doesn’t realize it or is in denial about being overweight. These two types of people can really skew our own perceptions. Other factors that can alter our ability to figure out if we are overweight are the kind people we surround ourselves with like spouses, family, co-workers, and friends. Their compliments and sugarcoated comments (no pun intended) may lead us to believe that we do not have cause for concern when it comes to our weight.
Luckily, there are scientifically developed methods for determining if you are in fact overweight, so you don’t have to rely on your imagination or the perception of others. Being overweight is not a surface condition. It can seriously affect your health, making you susceptible to diseases and conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer. It can also put you at a higher risk for heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, which are often debilitating and sometimes fatal. For these reasons, it is important to find out where you truly stand when it comes to being overweight.
First, you will want to determine your body type. There are basically two different body types, apples and pears. If you’re a “pear” (more often seen in women), your extra weight is carried around your hips, buttocks, and thighs. Your waist is smaller than your hips. If you’re an “apple” (more common in men), your excess weight is carried in your upper body, above your hips and around your belly.
Being an “apple” body shape – with a lot of upper body fat – is much more harmful to your health than being a “pear”. For reasons not fully understood, many of the health risks of being overweight are due to fat in your abdomen. They include:
• Increased risk of heart disease
• Increased risk of breast cancer
• Fifteen times greater risk of uterine cancer
• Increased risk of Diabetes (1 out of every 2 obese people become diabetics)
Second, you will want to take measurements of your body for several reasons. The measurement of your waist is important because not only does it take a toll on your self-esteem, but also because research shows that extra abdominal fat is a risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and even cancer. The following waist measurements indicate excess abdominal fat, which would put you at greater disease risk: women 35 inches or more and men 40 inches or more.
Another way to determine if you’re overweight is to determine how much fat versus muscle tissue in your body’s current makeup. If you’re a man, a suitable range for body fat percentages is between 13% and 18%. If you’re a woman, you have a bit more leniency – between 17% and 26%. So how can you determine your body fat percentage and see whether you are overweight or not?
The simplest way is to get a body fat analyzer scale. The scale sends an electrical pulse through your body to determine how much of your weight is muscle tissue, bone, and other matter and how much is fat.
Another way to measure body fat is to use a skin-fold caliper. A skin-fold caliper is a physical measuring device used to measure body fat thickness. This is similar to the old-fashioned “pinch an inch” test. Choose a spot somewhere beside your navel and pinch with your thumb and first finger. If you can pinch over an inch, then chances are you fall outside of the average (or rather, ideal body) weight on a typical measurement chart.
There’s also the basic waist to-hip-ratio measurement. If the measurement of your waist is greater than that of your hips, then you are considered to be overweight. Just about every home has a conventional scale in it. Though this method is fast and pretty easy to do, it may not necessarily be the most accurate since muscle can weigh more than fat.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of the most commonly used methods by professionals to determine if a person is overweight. This method compares your current weight to your height and provides you with a number. Depending on the range that your number falls within, you may be categorized as healthy, overweight, or obese.
Using these methods can provide you with a little more insight than the opinions of your friends, family, or your loving spouse. Taking the time to determine if you are overweight and if you are, beginning a weight management program, is an investment in your health and your future.
For more information about weight loss, and to receive a free copy of the book, Anti-Aging and You, please visit www.greatamericanproducts.com/book.