Why Your Waist Circumference Matters 100x More Than What You Weigh
You totally want to ditch your scale, don’t you?
You may have this weird kind of relationship with your “weight”.
I mean, it doesn’t define you (obviously).
What you weigh can matter but only to a certain extent.
Let’s look at your waist circumference (well…you look at yours and I’ll look at mine).
Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”):
Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”? The apple is kinda round around the middle (you know – belly fat-ish, kinda beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs.
THAT is what we’re talking about here.
Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes)and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases).
Yup – that apple!
And it’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”. The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there.
This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is. It’s this “un–pinchable” fat.
The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.
And the apple-shaped people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.
So as you can seewhere your fat is stored is more important that how much you weigh.
Am I an apple or a pear?
It’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not. The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape. You can do it right now.
Women, if your waist is 35” or moreyou could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category. Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course.
For men the number is 40”.
Of course this isn’t a diagnostic tool. There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases. Waist circumference is just one of them.
If you have concerns definitely see your doctor.
Tips for helping reduce some belly fat:
Eat more fiber. Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways. First of all it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food. Some examples of high-fiber foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.
Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer. It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.
Nix added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foodsespecially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).
Move more. Get some aerobic exercise. Lift some weights. Walk and take the stairs. It all adds up.
Stress less. Seriously! Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.
Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).
Recipe (High fiber side dish): Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Do you wake up in the morning and immediately jump on the scale? If so, does that number you read on the scale determine how you feel about yourself for the day? For example, a lower number is a great day and a higher number is pure misery? I want to help you put an end to the insanity of those daily weigh-ins. Deal?
I always believed that weighing in daily would help me stay on track when I felt unhappy in my goals. I realized that this practice only kept me stuck at the same place and isn’t that the definition of insanity? I had to learn the hard way; by going through the ups and downs and emotional struggles of this phase many women seem to get stuck in so I want to help you NOT do what I did and get results sooner and keep them long term!
Why are daily weigh-ins a bad idea? First of all, our weight naturally fluctuates a couple of pounds every day- and even within the same day- depending on what food and drinks are inside of us and how much sodium we’ve consumed and whether we’ve used the restroom recently. ahem…
How about when you start drinking more water and you decide to chug down 16oz of water at one time? That’s a whole pound added to your weight right then and there. So does that mean you’ve gained weight if you were to jump on the scale cuz you feel fat? Of course not!! You cannnot gain actual pounds so simply and insantly. But think about it, if you decided to weigh yourself after any of the above takes place (which are actually quite common these days), wouldn’t you freak out and think, “o my goodness! I gained weight!! What did I do wrong? Maybe I won’t eat for the rest of the day!”
Right? Ya, you know I’m right! 😉
Let’s start with sodium. How is it that sodium has zero calories and yet makes our weight fluctuate so much? Sodium has the power to turn our curvy bodies into a bloated water balloon shape. Excess sodium makes our bodies retain water and this makes us weigh more because we are bloated.
Now let’s talk about the monthly hormonal evilness; otherwise known as our “periods”. Many women actually gain a few pounds before and even during their periods. If you are drinking water, exercising, eating a healthy and clean food plan, getting plenty of sleep and limiting caffeine and sodium then it’s just some extra water weight that will simply go away after your period ends.
But what if you’re not doing any of the good habits above? What if you are not drinking water; exercising; eating healthy and clean foods; getting plenty of sleep; limiting your caffeine and sodium? What then? Then some of the weight that you see added to your body will be actual weight gain that is here for the longer haul. So the best tip I can share with you about your periods? Be healthy and do what you’re supposed to do to look and feel your best; both inside and out! And for goodness sake, do not EVER freaking weigh yourself right before your period or during your period unless you want to feel like crap and beat yourself up for no good reason.
Now, I know that weigh-ins can have a positive spin when we are following a plan that works and working to reach some goals; such as losing said weight, right? I’ve actually thrown my scale away and I measure my results by the measuring tape, picture progress and fitness gains. If I ever feel the desire to check my weight (which I just don’t like to do for obvious reasons), then I can drop in to a family or friends’ home and use theirs. Cuz everyone but ME has a scale, right?? lol
I suggest the best time to weigh yourself is right after your period ends. Once a month is enough time to see actual weight gains and weight losses if you are doing the weigh-ins at the same time of day and the same time of month. Some women prefer to do 2x a month weigh-ins and for the best plan in this scenario, I recommend right after your period ends and then exactly 2 weeks after. This system helps us not be swayed by the scale and finally get control of our real results instead of a “number” that is usually skewed.
I don’t own a scale for two reasons; 1) I noticed the pattern of how it made me crazy and actually had ruined my good efforts more times than I’d like to admit and 2) my body just weighs more because of muscle. You’ve most likely heard that “muscle weighs more than fat” but it’s really not technically true. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat weight exactly the same. It’s kind of like a pound of rocks and a pound of water both weigh the same – they weight one pound. The reality of what this popular saying means is that a pound of fat takes up more space than a pound of muscle. (think the rocks and water analogy again)
I know this is a confusing topic to understand so check out this photo. You can see that the pic on the far left is the same girl in the other two photos and yet her weight is the least on the left and looks like more than the photo on the right, RIGHT? 🙂 The picture on the left looks larger than the picture with more muscle tone. So when you step on the scale thinking that weight is relative, you are not taking into account how this picture tells a whole different story! a picture is worth a thousand words!
So my body in reality weighs more than what most women would call a “healthy” range and now that I know the real reason why, I am so much happier not owning a scale because it doesn’t tell the truth. It’s a lying liar that lies!! I know it’s a bit tough to think that your ideal body could actually weigh exactly what you weigh right now (give or take) – but with that muscle mass taking up more space and the fat lessening within your body, you will look like a lean and toned woman!
One more bonus to using weights and focusing on healthier results: women with more muscle mass burn more calories even when doing nothing than someone who has less muscle. (even if the scale says the woman with less muscle weighs less) Are you confused? Basically, it’s non-negotiable for us to use weights…and I dont’ mean those itty bitty 2-5 # dumbbells. Building lean muscle is a great “trick” to reaching your ultimate goals and staying there long term!
Let’s talk about my favorite ways to measure our progress as we are working on achieving better results long term:
Use a measuring tape. Just be aware that with measuring our bodies and when gaining more muscle, it can change the shape of some of the areas of our bodies (in a great way) which may or may not be skewed in our progress. If you are working on your butt and it becomes lifted and more rounded, it may appear to take up more space than a flatter booty so be aware of the best areas to measure monthly. I like to measure the smallest part of our waist and the fullest part around the hips (standing, with feet touching), upper thigh areas, widest area around chest and upper arms (or bicep area).
How our clothes fit. If your clothes feel looser than before and it’s not because you’ve stretched them out intentionally, then that is a good sign you are losing inches; aka: body fat!
Taking pics and comparing. This is a game changer and I never really practiced it until I was training for a fitness competition and knew it would help me see all the changes happening on my journey. It truly was a jaw dropping transformation! The scale never truly moved but my pictures and measurements were off the charts in how much my body changed! Take your before and after pics in the same outfit, with the same background and the same poses for accurate changes.
Does that make more sense now on why the scale isn’t the best way to see our true results? I mean, if you want to see the numbers change based on how much water or sodium you’ve had in a given day; then go for it! But if you’re looking for real results and long term changes that make all the difference, then pay attention to the above results and ditch the evil scale! 🙂