Weight management, or a lack thereof, is a significant contributor to health problems in North America. In fact much of our chronic disease is associated with deviations from our ideal body size and shape. Unfortunately, many people are more focused on weight loss than they are on healthy body composition and this can be a set-up for disaster.
This article will focus on changing body proportions including the healthy waist size and how to achieve it.
Instead of the common routine found with jumping on the scale to see how you’re doing with your weight that day or week, there are better indicators of healthy body changes to monitor. The first of which is waist size. If you are a man and your waist size is more than 37 inches or if you’re a woman and your waist size is more than 31 inches, science has shown this to be an indicator of higher risk problems with your health. Therefore obtaining a waist size that falls at or near these numbers is preferable.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
However, there are many such markers that predict overall health and wellness and a combined approach should be considered.
Perhaps the leading and most relevant indicator of a healthy body size and shape is based on percentage body fat. Ideally men should on average have a body fat percentage of between 18 and 25% while women should aim for a body fat percentage between 25 and 31%. Having a body fat percentage in this range would also help support a healthy lean muscle mass and an appropriate lean body mass percentage. A fitness level would be a body fat percentage of 14-17% and 21-24% for men and women respectively.
In looking at obtaining your ideal and/or desired waist size, these numbers are relevant because they are better predictors of being able to sustain results. Quite often our body weight can be dropped by dieting, however unless this is done in a healthy fashion, the weight more times than not will return. Yo-yo dieting, calorie restriction and abnormally skewed food source intake (high protein, high fat, etc.) along with garbage food choices, sedentary lifestyle and life stress can be barriers to obtaining a body that is healthy and in line with how we want to look and feel.
Preferably, it would be good to follow a process that leads to lowering percentage body fat and increasing lean muscle mass while improving waist size and other measurements.
But how is this done?
Well, that seems to be the challenge and there is a good answer. Quite often people believe that once they lose weight they’ll be healthy and they pursue weight loss at the expense of their health. This almost always ends up in a failed attempt. Instead, focusing on returning health to the body will allow it to gravitate back towards its own ideal size, weight, and proportions. So here are some recommendations on getting there.
First, create a plan. Determine your current percentage body fat and take some measurements of your waist, hips and chest. Do not worry about your weight. Next, calculate how much your % body fat must drop to get into the average range listed above. After you reach the average range, you can decide on whether or not you want to get into the fitness range for those numbers. Finally, follow a step by step program that is comprehensive but customizable so you can fit it into your life.
It’s outside the scope of this article to lay out a complete plan to success in this regard. Sometimes people can go it alone, other times it’s good to work with a coach. A successful program will always have a behaviour based component like journaling and monitoring your results. Sometimes a group component is important in providing motivation while also keeping a person accountable. Research shows that education and learning about your body while actively participating in your own weight management program will lead to better, faster results that will be longer lasting.
A good program will have to be lifestyle based.
You will want to learn what to eat but also when and how to eat it. You have to eat anyway, so with a little tweak in knowledge and know-how, you can revert your eating habits to support you in a healthy way versus just being an activity you have to do three times a day. One of the most scientifically supported eating routines is known as low glycemic index or low glycemic load eating. It’s about controlling your blood sugar levels so that your endocrine system and hormone balance in your body is not interrupted by the foods you eat and you don’t get stuck in a fat storage mode. A good weight management program will switch your physiology from fat storage to fat burning.
That being said, there are some good, natural, non-addictive accelerators on the market that will allow you to encourage that switch in your body from fat storage to fat burning. They can also help with improving your satiety or hunger signals, the way your body handles carbohydrates and fats, and boost your metabolism so you can obtain results early on in your program. Supporting that effort with a moderate amount of activity and some other lifestyle or habit changes and you’re well on your way to a lifetime of never having to change your outfits because of waist size again!
Weight loss or management doesn’t have to be a scary thing.
Your body likes to be healthy and sometimes we’ve just created habits and patterns that have allowed it to deviate from its normal, ideal state. Once these irritating habits and patterns are neutralized, it’s easy for your body to return to its more preferable state and stay there in a more sustainable fashion. This is a sure path to better quality and quantity of life helping you to avoid morbidity and mortality in life. With some research and/or by working with a qualified coach, you too can have that healthy waist size you’ve been looking for…why not start today!