Belly Fat: Measure Yourself

A recent poll suggested that about 50% of adult Americans surveyed believed their weight to be normal or average.   Even though it is highly likely that many of these people are actually overweight, the fact that they believe their weight is normal is understandable in an environment where the general American population is getting bigger and fatter every day.   Belly fat is no longer the exception, it is the norm.  A big belly is no longer only usually seen on the stereotypical beer-drinking middle-aged male, but on men and women of all ages and children too!

While it is sometimes easier just to pretend that a problem doesn't exists, the longer we continue to ignore the problem, the worse it will get.  Eventually, there will come a day when the problem can no longer be ignored and, by that time, it will be more difficult to do something about it.

Therefore, the sooner we confront the reality of our overweight or obesity problem, the sooner we can start doing something about it.  One of the first things that needs to be done is to take an objective and accurate survey at how much we weigh, measure and how we really look.  In order to do this, we need three things:

  • A Scale
  • A Tape Measure
  • A Big Dose of Courage

Ideal Weight Range

The first step is for us to determine our ideal weight range.  I like this Ideal Weight Calculator because it not only computes ideal body weight based on gender, height and age, it also gives the results based on five different formulas.

BMI (Body Mass Index) Score

Although our BMI score (or "number") does not tell us the actual percentage of body fat, it does give us a good indication of whether our weight is in the underweight, normal, overweight or obese range.  I like this BMI Calculator because it calculates the score based on gender, height, age and weight and the page includes easy to understand references, including the formula, a BMI table and chart for adults, teens and children.

Body Fat Percentage

Knowing our body fat percentage is useful for several reasons, including helping us to assess our risks for certain diseases and determining whether our weight loss goals are realistic.  I like this Body Fat Percentage Calculator because it calculates on the basis of gender, weight and age and gives six different calculation methods and clear instructions on how and where to measure.

Healthy Waistline and Waist to Hip Ratio

We'll all heard about how the circumference of our waist is a leading indicator for coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, disability and other diseases.  And, we've been told that a healthy waistline is anywhere from 30-35" or less for women and 35-40" or less for men.   In looking at these ranges, it is obvious that the "experts" disagree over the ideal waist size when that number is considered alone.

There seems to be more general agreement regarding the Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR), which can tell us whether we are at a low, moderate, high, or extremely high risk for the diseases mentioned above.   Ascertaining our WHR and determining our risk is easy - I like to use and refer to this webpage because it gives clear instructions on how to measure and includes charts for both males and females.

Putting it All Together ... and, Oh, just one other thing ...

Compiling this information gives us an excellent picture of our weight and our potential health risks.  Speaking of pictures ... I highly recommend getting into a swimsuit (2 piece for women) or underwear and snapping some photos.   As painful as this process may be, and as much as we may hate looking at our belly, back and other rolls of fat, it is an effective motivator to embark and stay on a weight loss program!

Related:  Belly Fat: Are Americans Clueless or in Denial?

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