Every where we go we are inundated with weight loss commercials, diets, exercise gimmicks, workout fads and commercials for healthy food. Just by all the commercials alone, it is clear everyone knows America has a weight issue.
149 million Americans are overweight or obese. We suffer $208 billion in lost productivity and $46 billion in direct medical costs as a result of our weight issue. One out of three youth are overweight, and one out of six is obese. And, if a parent is overweight, their child has a startling 70% chance of being overweight or obese too. So, it would only make since that anyone who wants to make money would jump on the weight loss bandwagon to sell us something to fix our problem.
So how do diet and fitness brands try to grab our attention? They don’t attempt to hook us by listing health risks or obesity facts. No, they capture our attention with six-pack abs and hot fit bodies. Why? Because our outer body is more tangible and real to us. It’s what we see. But what about what we cannot see?
Rolls of fat are bothersome, and tight jeans are frustrating. Our outer layer of fat speaks to us every day. It stares us in the face and screams at us constantly – but what if your organs, blood and bones could talk to you and explaim how your weight affects them?
This picture (posted above) is a look inside the body of a person who is overweight vs a person at a healthy weight. Look at how crowded the overweight person’s organs are. Look at how the body fat shifts their joints out of whack and changes their posture.
Let Me Hear Your Body Talk
If your body could talk, your heart may ask you for a much-needed break, and complain about how hard and fast it’s been beating. Your lungs may tell you how cramped they are and how badly they would like to expand more so you could perform better. Your bones may cry for relief from carrying such large loads day in and day out. Your blood might be too busy yelling at your artery walls to even have time to complain to you about your cholesterol issues. Each blood drop is probably yelling “pardon me, coming through, make a way” because of all the build up it has to dodge or squeeze through every second of the day.
We take life for granted. It’s not that we forget the fact we are alive, but we neglect to realize all the work it takes to keep us alive. We have such high expectations for our body. We expect our body to perform well even when we treat it like crap. We act surprised when we have health issues when, if our body could talk, it’s probably been struggling for years.
Sure, weight loss looks great, but we can’t forget about how much better weight loss looks on the inside too. Don’t you think your body deserves a break – and maybe even a little pampering? It’s been working so hard all these years. Let’s take good care of it, so it can continue taking good care of you.
Today’s Fitness Motivation:
One of the most popular excuses people come up with on why they don’t exercise is because they don’t have time, but what if I told you you could exercise during normal daily activities? Well, you can!
Here are 10 ways to incorporate exercise in your normal daily routine.
1. Bend: Stretch your hamstrings when you shave your legs (women) and put on your socks and shoes. Instead of bending your legs, bend at the hips, stretching your hamstring each time you need to reach your legs or feet. Do 3 sets of 30 second stretches when you are finished.
2. Move: Stand and walk around when you talk on the phone, instead of sitting in a chair.
3. Squat: Hover over the toilet, instead of sitting down, to strengthen your leg muscles (a great one to prepare you for dirty toilets!).
4. Squeeze: Hold your abs tight and do mini-crunches at every stop light. To make sure you are doing it right, place your hand over your stomach, fingers laying across your lower abdomen, thumb over your belly button. As you tighten your abs, you should feel your stomach tighten and flatten. Try to hold that position as for the entire light. Add pulses (mini-crunches) to boost intensity.
5. Flex: Hold groceries, or bags, like a dumbbell. Hold them in a static (isometric) bicep curl contraction, flexing your biceps, instead of holding them straight down by your side. This forces the weight onto your muscles instead of the weight of your bags just hanging off the bones. Muscles get stimulated (and pumped) and you get a boost of energy.
6. Fix: Correct your posture every time you get a text. Feet flat on the ground, pelvis tilted forward (so your bottom sticks out a bit), shoulders are rolled back, and head is aligned with your shoulders (no forward head). As often as we get texts, this should drastically help reduce neck, shoulder and back pain due to poor posture.
7. Stretch: Stretch your neck and chest every time you end a phone call. We all need a trigger to remind us to stretch through out the day. By choosing a regular occurance, like a phone call or email, you can get in the habit of stretching more often – and prevent neck injury or posture related neck pain.
8. Pump: Pump out a bunch of air squats while you are waiting for your food to heat up in the microwave. Most people stare at the microwave, or do nothing, while they wait. Boost your energy by boosting activity when you wait for mundane tasks like waiting to nuke your food.
9. Walk: Power walk from your parking space to your destination. Most people mosey across the lot. Don’t be THAT person. Walk with purpose and drive. You’ll not only get out of other drivers’ way, but you’ll get a boost of energy in the process.
10. Exercise: Do at least one exercise during each commercial break while you zip through commercials (yes, even you Ti-Vo people). Sit-sup, push-ups, plank, crunches, squats or lunges are all great exercises to tone your body during a time we are bored anyway. Why not get fit during the Jenny Craig commercial!
In today’s busy world, we have to get creative to get active! This is YOUR year!
Yesterday I was driving across the parking lot at our gym and I had to slam on the breaks to avoid an overweight man on a mobility scooter zipping across the parking lot. This was in an area that homeless guys tend to hang out, like the guy who uses a knee brace and crutches as props for his begging corner – but that guy can’t seem to remember which leg he keeps the brace on. Anywho! Back to the scooter guy. How many people do we see on scooters who can actually walk?
While I whole-heartedly believe there are people who need a mobility scooter, I can’t remember the last time I actually saw a handicapped person using one who actually was not able to walk. I know they exist, but I believe these aids are hurting people more than helping them.
Maybe they start off using them because of an injury, or to help them be a little more mobile. But, it encourages more laziness and dependance – which can lead to even more weight gain. I believe that’s why we end up seeing so many heavy young people on scooters. It just becomes easier to use the scooter – and the more they use it, the more muscle strength and stamina they lose.
Scooters are an electric crutch that someone can get stuck with if they aren’t purposefully working hard to get away from using them. Of course I’m not suggesting that it’s going to be easy for these people – it will take work, but in most cases it’s totally doable. Unfortunately, we live in a world full of conveniences that have taken away one of the best exercises known to man – walking.
It used to be, that if you had to go to your neighbors, you’d walk – not drive your golf cart 5 houses down. Our neighborhood is relatively small. Houses are built along a 1.4 mile road that circles a lake. It literally could take me 5-8 minutes to get to the opposite side of the neighborhood on foot. Yet, jumping in the car is the knee jerk response when I’m going to the tennis courts just a half a mile away.
We realized just how spoiled we are when Steve did Fat March, a walking show for weight loss reality TV on ABC. Even when they were off camera, we walked pretty much everywhere if we wanted to go out to eat or hit the mall. I remember looking for a gym while visiting and calling around to see what was close by. When I found a gym about 2 miles away, the reality that I had to walk there sunk in. Of course it’s not like I can’t walk 2 miles, but I already missed being able to jump in the car and get there quickly. Steve laughed because, by that time, he’d already walked several hundred miles – what was 2 more!?
Although increasing your activity shouldn’t replace a purposeful exercise routine, it sure as heck is an important part of maintaining a good quality of life. If you don’t want to be stuck in a scooter when you are 70, you need to stay on your feet as much as possible when you are 40.
Impatience Makes Us Fat
I think the major problem with Americans today is we are always in a hurry. We don’t want to spend 10 minutes walking somewhere when we can get their in 2 minutes if we drive. Our impatience makes us lazy and it reducing activity. If cars weren’t so darn easy to jump in and out of, it would be much different. Even in the horse and buggy days, it might have been just as much work, and take as much time, to saddle a horse than it was to walk. So even then, walking was probably a smart option. Now we’ve gotten so smart we are acting dumb. We aren’t as aware of how our convenient and fast lifestyle is affecting our health and activity.
This blog is NOT to dump on people who use scooters. It’s not to judge anyone for where they are in their life. It is to ENCOURAGE people to NEVER give up on doing everything you can to have the BEST quality of life possible. Whether you can walk, but can’t run – or you can only walk with a cane. I just never want anyone to give up on their dreams of staying mobile and healthy. Even if you are completely healthy, it’s my hope that I can make you more aware of ways to protect your health and mobility. Here are some tips. Pass it along if you think they may help others.
A Dozen Ways to Increase Activity Throughout the Day
2. If you are going out to a nearby place to eat – walk, don’t drive.
3. Walk to neighbors and save the golf cart for golf.
4. Take walking tours while traveling.
5. Avoid taking a cab when downtown in big cities.
6. Skip the elevator and take the stairs as often as you can.
7. Don’t take a grocery cart, just out of convenience. Use your muscles and carry a basket when you can.
8. Walk your dog instead of just letting out in the back yard.
9. Trade sitting and drinking coffee with a neighbor or friend for a nice walk. Walking is one of the best ways to get exercise and catch up with a friend.
10. Choose restaurants that are near fun places to walk, like the beach, parks, downtown shops and the mall, so you can take a walk after dinner with your date.
11. Don’t enable loved ones. Dealing with someone who is handicapped is touchy. Although you want to be sensitive, you also need to hold them accountable and encourage them to stay active.
12. Stay active when you get injured. One of the worst things you can do is allow an injury to get you down. A few months ago Steve tore his MCL, medial meniscus and IT band. Although he can’t walk without a limp, and he can’t run, do kickboxing or BCx Boot Camp, he can do the bike and elliptical. He even does legs – carefully. It’s scary, but you have to stay active to rehabilitate injuries.
ENCOURAGEMENT: A Man Who Didn’t Give Up
WALKING WORKS: Steve’s Memory Reel from ABC’s Fat March:
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
What’s your take on obesity and scooters? Do you know someone who beat the odds and lost the cane, chair or scooter wheels?
Yesterday, I posted this statement on facebook and twitter. It got such a good response, I decided to make it one of my mantra pics – and then I got to thinking about all the excuses we make.
We come up with many lame reasons why we can’t workout but, in the end, we are making the choices we want. We want to be lazy, we want to watch TV, we prefer to be on the computer, we like to eat unhealthy food, and we want our freedom to do what we want. We choose to do many different things each day – and rarely is anyone making us do any of them.
Sure, we “have” to work – but even that is a choice. We only work to have a certain lifestyle. We don’t NEED a lot of the things we want in life, but we CHOOSE to work to attain them. Exercise will become a priority when you realize your health is more important than the best movie, the tastiest food, the greatest job, the newest car, and the latest facebook status.
TUFF TALK: Things to Think About
Many people don’t realize how exercise affects their life until they grow older, or when it’s too late. Your health affects your relationships, confidence, performance, mind, energy, and even your purpose in life. No matter what you are called to do in life, you can’t possibly do it to your best of your ability if you are unhealthy and/or overweight.
These are very harsh words, but in most cases, they are the honest truth. Although I wish our body didn’t affect us the way it did, and that we could be ok when we are heavy, but we normally can’t. And even people who once struggled with their weight, but were seemingly ok, confess they were not as OK with it as they seemed. They just settled for less than best, and that’s no way to live.
What is your goal in life? To be the best parent, to move up the corporate ladder, to serve at your church, to have a great marriage, to leave a lasting legacy? Well, let’s think about that for a moment.
- You can’t be the best mom or dad you can be if you aren’t the best you.
- How can you take care of others, when you can’t take care of yourself?
- How can you convince your children to not smoke and damage their body, when you damage yours with food?
- How good of a friend can you be if you are unhappy, unhealthy and no fun to be with?
- How do you expect your spouse to feel if you don’t even want to see your own body naked.
- You can’t treat your body how you want all your life, and expect it to treat you good back.
- It’s hard to go far in your career when energetic, healthy, fit, sharp people are competing against you.
- Inactive adults rarely grow up to be active seniors.
- How can you travel, and explore the world, if you lose your breath going up a flight of stairs.
- Material things are worthless if you aren’t healthy enough to enjoy them, and share them.
- How can you say your thankful for your life, but treat one of God’s greatest gifts to you (your body) poorly?
Your Body is a Gift.
If your car got out of shape, you’d fix it. Mostly because you’ve invested in it and you don’t want it to fall apart on you. But even more importantly, you want to use it. You didn’t buy that car for it to sit your drive way, and you want to USE your body too. You want it to be there for you when you need it most. You need it to be reliable and strong. All of those things take maintenance and work. YOU take maintenance and work – and you only get one shot so make it count. Unlike a car, you can’t trade it in on a newer model. You are stuck with you. Like it or not.
Don’t say “I will. Tomorrow”, because tomorrow may very well be too late.
How has improving your health affected you in ways you did not expect?
We are nothing more than big babies – and we do NOT like things taken away from us. Whether it’s food, money, simple luxuries and even people, we tend to hold on with a death grip. And, the moment we think one of them is going to be taken away, we hold on even tighter, and even begin to cry before it’s gone.
However, replace one of your favorite things a new favorite thing, hobby or friend, and you won’t even realize that something you once valued is replaced and not even missed.
Learn from the Master
Most parents know all the tricks when it comes to taking something away from a child. When a child is caught holding something that could be harmful, a parent knows how to take that object away with minimal resistance. They either have to quickly snag it and entertain them to take their mind off of what they just took away, or they have to replace that object with something equally exciting.
The same happens with food. Every mother knows you don’t go anywhere without a pacifier. As a baby, the pacifier is a true baby pacifier. As a toddler, it’s normally a toy, blanket or baby doll. As a child, it could be a video game, barbie doll or action figure.
Nothing has changed. We are just bigger babies, with bigger toys and stronger wills – and we’ll throw a tantrum in a minute, as soon as we think we’re about to be stripped of something we really like.
Habits are nothing more than things we do that we like. We like to sleep in, we like to eat junk, we like our sweet comforts – even if they are bad for us. The problem is, we forget the age-old trick of the need to replace something bad for something good. We need a pacifier.
We can’t expect to be completely satisfied if we are constantly taking stuff away without replacing it with something just as good. I see this a lot with dieting. Someone will stop eating junk-food cold-turkey and not eat anything at all, or expect something lame like celery sticks to pacify them. Come on people! No wonder you fail! You need a better pacifier.
Going without, or eating something as boring as a celery stick, is no replacement for french fries. However, find a snack you actually enjoy that maybe more calories than celery, but fewer calories than french fries, and you have yourself a happy dieter.
The trick is to replace a bad habit with a really, really good habit you enjoy. This will require some trial and error, and like anything, it will take an adjustment period. Think about it. Half the vegetables we eat right now, we probably would have never tried (or kept trying) as a kid if mommy didn’t make us. Not only do we mature, our tastes change.
We have to try new foods and new exercises until we find the ones we like. If we don’t, then our diet or exercise will be temporary. But, when we find stuff that works, then our new healthy lifestyle will be forever – and we won’t even miss our old ways.
Stop That – Start This!
Stop That: Drinking fully leaded coffee
Start This: Drinking half regular and half de-caf coffee, or regular tea (which has 1/2 the caffeine as coffee)
Stop That: Meeting a friend for coffee
Start This: Meet a friend for a walk or run
Stop That: Drinking wine at night
Start This: Sip on flavored decaffeinated hot tea with natural relaxers in it like Chamomile
Stop That: Eating processed cereal
Start This: Eat high-fiber whole grain cereal or hot cereal (oatmeal) with fresh fruit
Stop That: Snacking on Doritos and flavored chips
Start This: Pop, or air pop, homemade popcorn with light oil and flavored Nacho Cheese popcorn salt
Stop That: Meeting friends out for dinner
Start This: Meet friends during the day at the beach, lake, or park for fun and R&R in the sun
Stop That: Eating ice cream after dinner
Start This: Eat a Publix low-sugar fudgesicle, low-cal ice cream treat or protein shake
Stop That: Using food as stress-reliever (which leaves you feeling even crappier)
Start This: Use exercise as a stress-reliever (which leaves you feeling better)
Stop That: Sleeping in on Saturdays
Start This: Run or walk during the time you normally sleep. You won’t miss the sleep or the time – and you’ll have more energy.
Stop That: Eating high carb side dishes at night
Start This: Eat more dark green veggies. You can eat more and lose more!
Stop That: Relying on salt to boost taste
Start This: Use more seasonings, lime juice, hot sauce and fresh herbs
Stop That: Drinking sodas
Start This: Drink more water, fresh brewed iced tea and/or seltzer waters
These are just a few ways to turn you bad habits into good ones. There are so many more!
What bad habit have you replaced with a good healthy habit?
Are You Eating Backwards?
People who struggle with their weight often find their evening meal to be the most challenging. When it comes to dieting, most people don’t have much of a problem watching calories throughout the day. Then they come home and BAM! They eat more calories in one sitting than they did all day long.
One reason this happens is we’ve been conditioned to eat big meals for dinner. Normally that means a meat, a couple of sides, and sometimes bread or dessert – but who said a meal has to be a 7-course meal? It must have been the same person who invented the Pop Tart for breakfast – and they have it all backwards.
Let’s look at food as fuel. Do you need a lot of fuel to power you to sleep? No. Do you need fuel to power you to work? Yes. So why would we have a small breakfast and big dinner? It’s completely opposite from what our body needs.
5 Healthy Food Habits for Weight Loss
1. Eat a 300-400 calorie breakfast with a nice balance of fat, protein and low-glycemic carbohydrates. Stock up on breakfast foods like Egg Beaters, oatmeal, bagel thins, low-carb wraps, grits, Chobani greek yogurt, Designer Whey vanilla protein, peanut butter, granola and fruit. Plan ahead and be creative. Cooking breakfast in advance and utilizing leftovers (like spinach, asparagus and meats) can really help create fast fixings.
2. Splurge for lunch. Instead having your biggest meal at dinner, schedule cheat meals at lunch. At least you will have several hours to burn off what you ate, instead of eating at night and hitting the sack on a full stomach. Even if you are eating healthy, try to save your high-carb meals, like sandwiches, pastas and potatoes, for lunchtime.
3. Simplify dinner. Don’t over-think your evening menu. If you are trying to diet, limit meals to one white meat and one green side. Use a little olive oil or natural fats, like avocado, to help the meal stay with you longer. Green vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, green beans, spinach, zucchini, collards, cabbage and salad greens are normally lower in calories. Be very sparing with beans, even the green kind. Peas, black-eyed peas, lima beans, black beans, pinto beans, navy beans and kidney beans are all higher in carbohydrates and calories. One green bean that’s an exception is the soy bean (edamame). Edamame has a excellent balance of carbs, fats and protein. YUM!
4. Just skip it. Sometimes people eat just because they think they are “supposed to”. Just because it’s meal time, you don’t always have to eat a traditional meal. If you come home late at night, or you really aren’t that hungry, sometimes it’s OK to just make a protein shake and call it a night – especially if you just left the gym. Or maybe you decide to just have a few almonds and a piece of fruit, or some yogurt to curb your appetite. Although you do need to keep a steady small amount of calories coming in to keep your metabolism revved, they don’t have to be anything fancy or complicated.
5. Choose only one 100-200 calorie evening snack. If you are like me, you can snack the entire night away if you let yourself. Instead, choose your snack wisely. Do you crave sweets? Then a sugar-free fudge pop, jello pudding or fruit may be the way to go. Do you crave salty snacks? Then you may prefer 100-calorie popcorn as your go-to snack. Whatever you choose, try to limit your calories to only one 100-200 calories, and only choose one item – that includes drinks. Even if you WANT to snack, you won’t die if you go without snacking – and those little after-dinner calories add up quick so be stingy with them.
In my last blog, I talk about the evolution of dining – from eating with the family at the dinner table in the 50′s to eating in the backseat of your mom’s car after going through the drive through window. There’s no doubt about it, American’s eating habits have changed drastically – and so has our waistline.
In the 50s and 60s my dad either brought a bag lunch with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or he ate the school lunch with was also pretty basic, like a hamburger and green beans. Bottom line, food was simple – but not any more.
Today, it’s all about choices, but kids rarely make healthy food choices. That’s why they have parents. Unfortunately, even if a school serves a set lunch menu, many kids have access to vending machines too. When I was in high school, it was a daily thing for me to grab some chili cheese Fritos and a coke from the vending machines and call that lunch. Schools also have a “salad bar” and many extra options like pizza, hamburgers, french fries and chicken nuggets – and there’s really nothing keeping these kids from just walking away with fries and a coke.
The best way to help your child to eat healthy is to pack your child’s lunch. This way you can choose healthy foods the like, and they are less likely to skip foods they want to avoid like my mom did when she was in school. She said there were some days she didn’t eat anything at all if she didn’t like what the lunch room served. Then she’d save her lunch money from a few days of skipped meals to spend more money on the food she did like when it was available. So, essentially, she was already a yo-yo dieter by her mid teens.
6 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Eating Habits
- Pack your child’s lunch together, to help them get in the habit of preparing their food for the day – plus you’ll learn what foods they like and don’t like.
- Review the school lunch menu for each week and give your child the choice to eat off the menu or bring something from home.
- Ask your child to provide receipts for food purchased, so you can see what they are ordering – especially for teens who go off campus.
- Verbally follow up with your child on how they liked their lunch and get feedback on what they ate.
- Put a list of “approved” snacks on the refrigerator to help your child create healthier snacking habits.
- Continually analyze your children’s eating habits to make adjustments that are healthy, but also keep your child happy. Healthy eating shouldn’t be miserable eating. It’s important your child does not think healthy food is nasty food, so work hard to help them discover healthy foods they really love.
Evolution of School Lunches
Look how the menu has changed – and grown.
- Vegetable Soup
- Milk or Cocoa
- Peanut butter sandwich
- Pea salad
1953 – A basic meal could be only 3 items & milk
1971 – Meals were still simple, but growing
- Vegetable beef
- Peanutbutter or ham salad sandwich (EL)
- Biscuit and butter (SEC)
- Cole slaw
- Ice cream
pFIT pFACT: Vending Machines were introduced to schools and kids started drinking less milk and more soda pop.
1985 – Fried Food & Salad Bars were becoming popular
- Fried chicken
- Mashed potatoes
- Roll and butter
- Salad Bar Option
- Milk or Chocolate Milk
pFIT pFACT: Of the milk served in U.S. schools, 71 percent is flavored.
- Cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, spaghetti or Pizza
- French Fries or Tater Tots
- Salad Bar (healthy options kids still could skip)
- Bread or Roll
- Fruit cobbler
- Vending Machines with Coke, chips, cookies, crackers and candy
- Food Bar for high schools with fast food style options
What are your children eating for lunch?
Do you approve of the school lunch menu?
Is it getting better or worse?
How do you manage healthy eating while your children are out of your sight?
Most of us would not sit down and eat 10 teaspoons of sugar in one sitting, yet millions of people are doing just that – they just don’t know it. The average soda has 10 whopping teaspoons of sugar in one bottle. That’s like adding 20 sugar cubes to your coffee.
If the sugar was settled at the bottom and visible, the thought of consuming it would probable gross you out. However, the sugar is disguised in a refreshing fluid, and people are drinking them by the gallons – 44.7 gallons a year to be exact, blowing away all other beverage including bottled water, beer, milk and coffee.
Unfortunately, one of our biggest drinkers are our youth. And to put this into perspective, if a teenager were to have 2 sodas a day every day, they would gain 208LBS from their their first day of high school until graduation if they don’t exercise.
And that’s just scraping the surface. After you take a look at these statistics, brought to us by Insurance Quotes, you may have a whole new outlook on this bubbly beverage.
Many health professionals rely on unreliable methods to measure your health and determine insurance premiums.
Insurance companies are getting smarter and smarter by the minute. They now realize rewarding people for good health and providing fitness incentives pays. Maybe they are a little slow to learn but, overall, they are starting to get the whole “healthy” concept. However, there is a big loophole in their plan. Many insurance companies use unreliable methods, like BMI (Body Mass Index), to help determine if someone is a risk.
What is BMI?
BMI is a mathematical formula, based on height and weight, to help doctors determine if someone is at a healthy weight or not. The problem is the BMI does not take body fat and muscle mass into consideration. Basically, it’s just measures how much mass you take up in space for your height. If you are over the limit, you are labeled “overweight” no matter what how low your body fat is.
For instance, when using an online BMI Calculator for Steve, his BMI was 28.29, which is overweight – although Steve’s body fat percentage is normally around 8%. After the calculation was made the site said he “would benefit from finding healthy ways to lower his weight, such as diet and exercise.” I almost had to laugh, but the BMI is no laughing matter to fit people who are getting charged more for being so-called overweight, according to the BMI.
The BMI Lies – and YOU are the one who pays
One of our members has experienced this first hand. Every year he stresses out about his company health insurance tests because, although he is not a big bodybuilder kind of guy, his muscle puts him in the overweight category. He gets docked for that, costing him an extra $500 a year for being “overweight”.
Meanwhile, people with less muscle and more body fat, who register at a healthy weight, save money even if they haven’t worked out a day in their life. While our member works his butt off in the gym, this other lazy guy gets rewarded for not doing anything.
False Readings Give False Hope
LiveStrong actually addressed this very issue, referencing a study from the Mayo Clinic. The study found as many as half of all individuals with a “normal weight” according to the BMI test, were actually overweight or obese when they tested their body fat. We see this all the time at the club because we use a high-tech InBody machine to do our body compositions. Our machine not only measures height and weight, but it also considers your age. Then it measures your intracellular water weight, extracellular water weight, muscle weight and body fat, resulting in a very accurate report.
Many people are completely shocked when they see their body fat-to-muscle ration puts them in the overweight category, even if their weight is normal for their height. Since most people lose muscle as they get older, unless they are purposefully working to maintain it, this is even more common for seniors. The InBody machine is one of the few machines that gives accurate details of what is actually going on inside your body, beyond the scale.
Insurance Agencies Still Live in the Dark Ages
Insurance companies need to get out of the 1800s, which is when the BMI was first actually first devised. Originally known as the Quetelet Index, BMI finally made headlines after a paper was published in 1972 by Ancel Keys, stating the BMI was the best proxy for body fat using the weight and height ratio. However, everyone seemed to ignore Keys’ remarks about BMI being appropriate for population studies, but inappropriate for individual diagnosis. So, not only is the BMI as out of date as polyester and bell bottoms, it’s also not being used as it was originally intended.
Some insurance companies may argue they also measure body fat, but many insurance agencies are not using reliable methods. Fat caliper measurements test the fat in the skin folds, but results can vary depending on the person doing the pinching. Also, the less pinching, the less reliable. A 7-site skin fold test is the best, but you still have plenty of room for error depending on the person’s expertise. Two different people can do measure the same person and come up with two different results.
While some insurance companies attempt to do caliper testing, many rely on the easy route, which requires no technical skill at all. Cheap body fat machines, like a body fat scale or a handheld device are their method of measurement. These machines use electrical impedance to measure body fat like our machine, but it only uses two points of contact, where our machine uses 8 conductors. This means the scale version only measures your lower body, and the handheld device only measures your upper body.
Then you have the issue of your thighs touching each other on a small scale or your arms touching your sides on the hand held machine, which can throw off the already less than accurate reading. In addition, hydration and food intake have a huge effect on the reading, making you look like your body fat is 15% higher or lower depending on your hydration prior to the reading. All in all, these cheapy body fat machines could cost you money.
While I love to hear insurance companies offering incentives and holding people accountable for their body weight (and maybe something is a little better than nothing) I hope the medical industry can catch up with the fitness industry, when it comes to using more reliable ways to measure someone’s body composition, so fitness and health can see eye to eye.
How to get an accurate InBody Analysis
Measure first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Do not receive your analysis right after a shower. Skin and hair should be nice and dry.
Space legs and arms apart, not touching other body parts.
Do not drink prior to your analysis.
Do not workout prior to your analysis (as it will skew muscle mass from the muscles being pumped up)
Make sure your body temperature is regulated before your reading, not being excessively hot or cold.
Do not wear jewelry.
Avoid measuring during your menstrual cycle.
Always measure the same time of day for the most accurate comparisons.
Bring a printed copy of this blog and get one InBody Report at Max Fitness Club for $20.00 (regularly $50.00) or 2 for $30.00.
Fitness is a lot of things to a lot of people. However, people can be so focused on the small stuff, they lose focus of all the right stuff. Some people get led astray by specific aspects of fitness that tickle their fancy in the moment. Others get turned off by the obsessed fitness freaks who treat fitness more like it’s a cult than a healthy lifestyle, shaping their bodies into something that looks more like a cartoon character than a picture of health. Then there are the people who really have never experienced fitness, so the only impression of fitness maybe a self-absorbed coworker mocking them at the office every day.
Fitness: Keep Your Eye on the Big Picture
It’s more than a trend.
Fitness is cool and everyone knows it. People don’t look at fat, lazy people and want to grow up to be that guy. They want to be the guy or girl they see running the beach in the morning or hitting the weights religiously in the gym every day. They want to be the celebrity in the tabloid shot leaving yoga or doing a quick workout while on vacation, like Matthew McConaughey from Magic Mike.
Fitness is cool, but we need to remember the impact it can make on people’s lives. People who live the fit lifestyle are leaders, whether we like it or not. People are watching us and we have the opportunity to use that cool-factor to encourage others to get healthy. We can ACT cool and turn people off, or we can BE cool and turn people on to fitness. Just think, you may be the only flesh-and-blood fit person someone comes in contact with. Are you going to attract them to fitness or make them run back to the couch and ice cream?
It’s more than a sport.
It’s not just one sport, fitness has a ton of sports and games. Bobybuilding, Figure competitions, Crossfit Games (#CROSSFITGNC), Marathons, Triathlons, Mud Runs, 5Ks, Power Lifting…you name it. Then there’s the competitive side outside of actual sporting events like the P90x Challenges, Biggest Loser contests at work, 90 day challenges, etc.
It can be easy to get so deep into the sport of it, you forgot why you started the whole fitness thing to begin with. Some people get so focused on the sport, they become judgmental toward others that don’t take their fitness to the competitive level they have chosen. Before you know it, someone can focus so much on their particular sport, they begin to neglect their actual health and let other areas of a healthy lifestyle slide.
Yes, it’s a sport, but it’s not just about winning and losing. We need to make sure we don’t get so caught up on our performance that we forget our improvements – and where we are headed.
It’s fixes more things than you think.
Although most people depend on fitness to fix their waistline, no one should expect fitness to be a quick fix – or just fix one specific problem. It fixes a lot of problems – and if you realize that, you will feel even more successful in your fitness journey than you would ever feel if your only concentrating on finding your six-pack.
Sure fitness can whip your body into shape, but it improves (and can completely fix) many ailments and physical issues like heart disease, obesity, cardiovascular health, diabetes, asthma, poor flexibility, body pain due to weak or tight muscles, and many other issues that can make life pretty miserable. Not only that, it helps our mood and is scientifically proven to drastically improve, and sometimes completely eliminate, depression.
Remember, there are no quick fixes, but there are REAL fixes – and fitness shouldn’t be about just fixing only one of them.
Fitness is a lot of things to a lot of people – what does fitness mean to you? - B -