Are you overweight, over fat or both?
Do you know the difference?
How do you know which category you fall into? First of all let’s define each category. I’m sure you’ve heard about body mass index or BMI so let’s start there.
There are four basic BMI categories. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal. A BMI under 18.5 is considered under weight. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight a BMI 30 or above is considered obese. You can calculate your own BMI using this formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703 or use an online calculator. Here’s the caveat. This generalization does not take into account your body composition. For example two people that are the same height and same weight will have the same BMI but if one of those two is very muscular well the other carries more fat the health implications of their body composition are very different.
A better indicator of your overall health risks is hip to waste ratio. This one is very easy for you to measure at home. All you’ll need is a measuring tape and something to write down your measurements. Start with your waist circumference measuring halfway between lowest rib and the hip bone (this may or may not be in line with your belly button). Next measure the widest part of your hips. Divide the waist circumference by the hip circumference. For example with a waist size of 27 and hip size of 37, your hip to waste ratio would be .73. Abdominal obesity is defined as < . 8 for women and < .9 for men. https://youtu.be/zWCKow6d6xU
Now that we have defined BMI and hip to waste ratio let’s talk about what it means to be overweight vs over fat.
Overweight is something we’re all familiar with you simply way more than you should but wait doesn’t take into account your body composition. Take for example an NFL player who is 200 pounds but most of that weight is muscle mass versus an individual who is 150 pounds but most of that weight is fat. While the NFL player maybe overweight for his height, he is caring less fat than 150 pound individual. In short, stop obsessing about the number on the scale and start focusing on the amount of fat you’re carrying around.
What is it mean to be over fat? It simply means you have too much fat. I know it’s common sense. It’s simple but it’s not what we focus on. Now here’s where we get into the most important part. Where do you carry you are fat? Everyone has subcutaneous fat, it’s just natural. It’s the excess jiggle on the back of your arm, that little extra that won’t let you have it by gap or the extra cushion in your seat. Yes, you may want to reduce that subcutaneous fat to look and feel better but it’s the fat that you pack on to the midsection and your internal organs that you need to worry about the most. Yes that is called visceral adipose tissue (a.k.a. belly fat).
You might be surprised to hear these statistics.
- 70% Americans are overweight or obese
- 86% or over fat
- Over half of our children are over fat
Let that sink in for a second. With the increase in visceral fat your risk of cancer, diabetes, cognitive decline, stroke, cardiovascular disease, infections (like COVID-19) increase. You have an increased risk of infertility, erectile disfunction, PCOS and hair loss. If all that isn’t enough, it can also makes you feel crappy, tired and depressed. Visceral fat is inflammatory. It’s associated with increased insulin resistance which leads to everything else getting out of whack. Unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral adipose tissue is metabolically active producing chemicals and hormones. In short the more visceral fat you have, the more likely you are to have insulin resistance, impaired hunger hormones and more sugar cravings. It’s a vicious cycle the only changes in your nutrition can put an end to. If there was only one thing you were going to change to lower your visceral fat, it should be eliminating simple sugars and refined carbs. Put the donut down and eat some eggs.
Here are my overall tips for lowing body fat and regaining a healthy life.
- Eat real food – that doesn’t need a nutrition label
- Identify food sensitivities – I recommend working with a Health Coach or Functional Medicine Practitioner
- Manage chronic stress – practice gratitude daily, find time to meditate
- Get enough sleep – strive for 7 to 8 hours a night
- Reduce alcohol consumption – an occasional adult beverage it’s ok but daily drinking can become 72K extra liquid calories that go straight to your belly
- Move your body daily – exercise of any kind is good for you, make sure to include resistance training at least a couple times a week
I recommend setting up a free consultation with one of our trainers to discuss your hip to waste ratio and what you can do about it. Click here to book your call with me.