BMI – Don’t let it Define You.

BMI – Don’t let it Define You.

 

Sam walked into my office and before he even sat down, blurted out that he was too fat to get insurance.  What? Like, What??  Sam was by appearances NOT overweight at all.  He was tall sculptured and looked vibrantly healthy.

 

Visibly concerned and upset. Sam was told that his BMI was too high.  He was very overweight bordering on obese and should do something about it if he wanted to get insurance coverage.   Still in absolute disbelief, I really wanted to swear at this stage, and I wanted to swear a LOT.  I knew where he was going.  It’s that damn BMI calculation again.   BMI don’t let it define you.

Without going into the semantics of the BMI calculator it was created some 200 years by Belgian Academic called Quetelet. Being flawed it is outdated and still unfortunately used by medical professions, insurance companies and governments.  I believe there was some form of update in America around 1985 but whichever way you cut it, BMI does not actually measure how fat you are. There is no differentiation between muscle, bone or distribution of fat throughout the body. Muscle as we know is very much denser than fat.

Hence this is the reason athletes, body builders, football players and boxers to name a few, may end up with a BMI reading that allocates them into the overweight and obese category.  This in itself shows the inaccuracy of BMI, yet we continue to be defined by it.

 

BMI – Don’t let it Define You.

 

As I listened to Sam unleash with vitriol that a flawed and outdated chart had in some way sealed his fate, I couldn’t help wonder if the physician actually looked at him at all.  Clearly, he is not overweight, he works out, he has muscles and a lot of them, but not overweight.  He questioned the result, he questioned they physician for his opinion of whether He thought he was overweight or not. – the answer was – This is the range you are in given the factors that determine your BMI from the Chart.  Where do you go from there? Sam asked.

Lucy recited how her walk of shame through the waiting room and the guilt the physician made her feel was a defining moment for her.  But could quite easily have destroyed her.

Lucy, who had lost some 23kg was told in no uncertain terms that she must be doing something wrong because her BMI has not reduced.  When she questioned the result, she was dismissed.  She was right to question the result it’s definitely wrong if it hasn’t changed after a 23kg loss.  I see clients getting a BMI reading and becoming obsessive about it because they are confused and overwhelmed.

 

BMI – Don’t let it Define You.

 

While Shaming people with a high BMI may not necessarily be the intention it certainly is the outcome for a large number of those who find themselves overweight or obese.  With an already fragile body image, shaming intentional or otherwise, actually has the opposite effect and can send some into a deeper state of overwhelm than they were before their BMI result.  Unfortunately, this is not uncommon.

Far more accurate means to measure fat, muscle and bone are available to us now.  It should be used instead of too much emphasis being placed on the BMI result.

Some fat is ok but too much fat in the wrong places is definitely a health risk.  Researchers note that the best measure for excess body fat involves the circumference of your waist.

BMI is also used as a  marker for those wanting or needing Weight Loss Surgery.  A lot of emphasis is placed on BMI in this instance by Surgeons.  Initially one needed a high BMI to qualify for Weight Loss Surgery.  Over the years the parameters have shifted with a lowering of BMI qualifiers allowing more people to participate in these programs.

Excess body fat around the middle has been linked to serious health issues including diabetes, stroke, certain cancers and heart disease.

 

BMI – Don’t let it Define You.

 

If you really want to know your body composition find a gym or health practitioner that has modern equipment giving you a detailed map of your body and body fat.   There are also mobile practitioners who will come to you with their equipment and perform the assessment in the privacy of your home or office.  No Shame, No Guilt, No Judgement.

My personal advice to Clients and others is to ditch the BMI.  Focus on what you can do to reduce your weight and regain health.   Seek out help from someone who gets you.  Someone who will guide and support you.

We clearly know if we are overweight or obese, its generally obvious.  Understanding and solution  would go a long way to encouraging weight loss and dealing with our obesity health crisis. Numbers from outdated charts are no longer relevant.

If you find yourself needing help with specific weight issues or want a free 30 minute strategy call please contact us at www.savvybariatrics.com.

www.savvybariatrics.com

Relax Instantly with Your Breath

A Drug of Choice- and it’s Free!

Part of our Restorative Action Series involves, you guessed it…BREATHING. You need to live, (yes captain obvious-) but it has so much more of an impact on your entire system than you realize.  There are effects certain breathing can have on you to get you in the chill zone!

If you are Sleepless or  Stressed or like lots of Humans- BOTH

Now this drug of choice is the 4-7-8 Breathing technique, now before you roll your eyes and walk away, scroll down and keep reading and find out how to reach your bliss!  You simply breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. The studied combination of numbers has a chemical-like effect on our brains and will slow your heart rate, calm and relax you, and even help you to get to sleep.

How it Works

When you feel stressed or anxious, adrenaline courses through your veins, your heart beats at a rapid rate, and your breathing becomes quick and shallow. So before I get into the specifics of how the 4-7-8 breathing trick works, I want to explain what it feels like when you try it.

The effect of the breathing technique has an impact not dissimilar to a sedative drug because to hold your breath for seven seconds and then to exhale for eight—when your breath is so shallow and short—your body is forced to slow your heart rate. It has no choice. Holding your breath, and then slowly, deliberately exhaling for eight seconds, causes a chain reaction. It feels like going from a mad-dash sprint to a finish line to a slow, leisurely, calming stroll through the park.

When you first start, you’ll be desperate just to take in another breath, or you’ll want to speed up your counting, but if you stick to the numbers (or at least try to) and don’t take any breaks (in other words, consecutively repeat the 4-7-8 without resuming regular breathing), you can literally feel your heart rate slow down, your mind gets quieter, and your whole body physically relax. It washes over you like a calming, relaxing drug.

Now to the more technical details: People who are stressed or anxious are chronically under-breathing. Stressed people breathe shortly and shallowly, and often even unconsciously hold their breath. By extending the inhale to a count of four, you are forcing yourself to take in more oxygen, allowing the oxygen to affect your bloodstream by holding your breath for seven seconds, and then emitting carbon dioxide from your lungs by exhaling steadily for eight seconds.

The technique will effectively slow your heart rate and increase oxygen in your bloodstream, and may even make you feel slightly lightheaded which contributes to the mild sedative-like effect. It will instantly relax your heart, mind, and overall central nervous system because you are controlling the breath versus continuing to breathe short, shallow gasps of air.

How it Can Work For You

Not only is it free, but it also works for many different instances:

Use it to fall asleep in a pinch; you can practice it if you wake up in the middle of the night and find yourself thinking about something you have to do the next day.

Use it to fall to back asleep.

If you are nervous before an event (like a wedding, or giving a speech) this a handy tonic to calm those nerves.  

If you are angry about something and want to calm down.

Nervous flying in a plane? Use it before flights and during if the plane encounters turbulence.

BUT…  you have to do it!