Well a new year is here along with all the resolutions to lose weight. But don’t you have that one friend that is always skinny no matter what they eat? And you are cursing the fact that they can do whatever they want and not need a weight loss goal? Maybe you ARE that friend! Then you are silently blessing the DNA that lets you eat ice cream every day without gaining a pound.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but I’ll let you in on a little secret
Skinny ≠ Healthy
This is like the super health myth!! These are the things I hear either from people I know or the media. Fat is unhealthy therefore skinny is healthy. The scale says I am overweight so I am not as healthy as that girl who has never had to exercise a day in her life. Wow glad I’m not fat like that guy, he’s a walking heart attack. This seems to be the general thought but it is just not true.
This year I am challenging all of you to set goals for health instead of just weight. Yes you! I don’t care what you weigh. Weight is important but health is much more complicated than poundage. Whether weight is included in your goals this year (like me) or not, lets focus on other health indicators.
Measuring Physical Health
These health indicator go beyond just weight. I am just going to list what is considered “optimal” by the US big wigs of health (i.e. National Institutes of Health) so talk to your doctor about what would actually be best for you.
Adults and children 10+ years old: 60-100 beats per minute
Bad cholesterol hides in a person of any size. A college friend mine is just naturally lean so he ate whatever he wanted and got plenty of exercise by dancing regularly. Unfortunately, when he got a blood screen his cholesterol was through the roof! So make sure to get it tested. Many insurance plans will test it for free as a preventative screening.
- Total Cholesterol: less than 200mg/dL
- LDL: less than 100mg/dL
- HDL: 60 mg/dL or higher
Older teens and adults: 120/80 mmHg
Blood sugar varies throughout the day depending on what you are eating. “Normal” blood sugar hover around 80 – 100mg/dL. If your fasting blood sugar is 126mg/dL (tested twice), you are considered prediabetic.
Although related to weight, waist measurement is a bit different. Studies have shown that people who carry extra weight around their middle have a higher risk for things like heart disease and diabetes than someone who carries their extra weight around the hips or butt. Didn’t know you would be so glad for your big hips did ya?
Now why is that? Usually, when you have extra weight around the waist it is actually fat that has built up around your organs inside instead of just under your skin. Taking your waist measurement can give you an indication of how much visceral fat you have. It is certainly not perfect but cheaper than an MRI. **You can read a more about reference studies and new measurement research here.
This is a big red flag for people who are “normal” weight but carrying more than you should around your waist.
- Men: 40in or less
- Women: 35in or less
There are so many measurements and numbers health professionals use to estimate our health levels. Any of these would be a great place to focus your effort this year if they are not where they should be. You don’t even have to be perfect! The closer we get to these numbers, the better for our bodies. Team up with your doctor or dietitian this year to craft a better health goal than to “be skinny”.