Measure for Success.
Our great “guru" of behavior regularly says, “ditch the diet, scrap the scales”. It’s easier said than done because we all need some measure of our start point and how successful we are at losing fat. The National Institute for Health recommends that two assessments should be completed, namely Body Mass index, (the ratio of height to weight) and also abdominal measurements.
As with everything else, following the science, we have a few issues with this advice. Firstly, older people lose bone density and muscle, so BMI is not an accurate indication of how much fat someone has. Conversely the BMI calculator can assess even elite athletes as overweight because muscle weighs far heavier than fat.
Weighing, as our behavior coach suggests, can be a trigger for anxiety, destructive behavior such as binge eating, or disappointment and is not actually an accurate measurement of fat loss.
Weight on the scales can fluctuate daily depending on time of day you weigh, what you have consumed, have you been to the toilet or in the case of women if they are menstruating. The chart below shows consistent fat loss but the weight on the scales can and does fluctuate dramatically. The red line indicates fat loss. The green line indicates weight measured on scales.
Measuring the abdomen, well we have issues with this too. Men and women distribute fat in different locations in the body. Middle density fat can be the most dangerous to your health, as it’s indicative that you have fat on and in organs, such as your liver. Not good news for health, not good news for risk of developing type two diabetes or an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
As we have always said, we do not want to reinvent the wheel or cause a furor with the Medical Profession, we just want to aspire to Best Practice, which in simple terms is evidence plus experience. We recommend that you download the body chart above. Just click, copy and paste onto a word document.
1. Measure chest at level of your nipples.
2. Measure right or left arm on level with armpit.
3. Measure round middle using your belly button as your guide.
4. Measure round hips, using your groin as a marker ( Top of pubic hair)
5. Measure top of thigh where genitalia begins.
By using anatomical markers on your own body, such as nipples, armpit, belly button, top of groin (pubic hair), your measurements will be unique to you and consistent weekly. Note we haven’t used terminology such as chest, waist, or hips as we found that without accurate markers on your body, everyone measured different places each time!