Sunday, November 3, 2013

To Lose Weight: Answer This Question First.

Do I need to lose weight?  Pardon me for stating the obvious, but  your fat loss journey begins with this question.

You see, there are two weights which dominate our thinking in our contemporary culture.

#1. Healthy Weight
#2. Media Weight

Media weight you ask?  What in the world is that?

Media weight is the is the size and shape that dominates in advertising, on television, in print, and on the web.  Media weight is different from the current fashion in  the look of actors, musicians, and other celebrities.  In most cases, the people we pay money to see when they act, do comedy, dance or offer some other kind of performance have some kind of talent or skill that goes beyond appearance.

Media Weight represents the look that advertisers are after when they want to sell products.  

Notwithstanding Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign, the female form preferred by the media to sell products has become more and more slender since the 1950's.

When I worked as a commercial casting assistant back in the '90s there was a sense that it was always safer to send a tall slender actor for consideration by the client.  If an actor wasn't model slim, she needed to be incredibly talented for the casting director to take a chance on her.  Bottom line, when it came to casting, skinny was safe.

To this day, I'm still not sure why this was the case.  Did big companies like Proctor and Gamble do market research that showed that we like to buy things from skinny people?  Is it that slenderness is something that women started to aspire to in the last century: especially after 1970? Is my theory correct that discontent drives consumption, so advertisers promote a physical standard that is impossible for 95% of the population to achieve: Thereby leading them to buy more stuff to make up for their perceived inadequacies?

And what does all of this have to do with you, Dear Reader?  Well, in my work as a personal trainer it becomes clearer and clear to me that what advertisers present to us as desirable has nothing to do with health.

Now we come to the most important point in this article: What is a healthy weight?  An even more important question is this one: What is a healthy weight for you?

Don't worry, I promise to answer this question by the end of this post.  In the face of advertising and confusing mixed messages on whether BMI or Body Mass Index is a good measure of health, I do have  a very simple way of gauging a healthy weight for my students, and for you.

Simply measure your waist.

Here is a quote from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

 In fact, recent findings indicate that WC is a stronger marker of health risk than is BMI.
(WC stands for waist circumference.)

So what is a healthy waist circumference?  See the article below from the Heart Foundation website.


Your waist measurement compares closely with your body mass index (BMI), and is often seen as a better way of checking your risk of developing a chronic disease.
Measuring your waist circumference is a simple check to tell how much body fat you have and where it is placed around your body.  Where your fat is located can be an important sign of your risk of developing an ongoing health problem.
Regardless of your height or build, for most adults a waist measurement of greater than 94cm for men and 80cm for women is an indicator of the level of internal fat deposits which coat the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas, and increase the risk of chronic disease.
How to measure your waist
1. Find the top of your hip bone and the bottom of your ribs.
2. Breathe out normally.
3. Place the tape measure midway between these points and wrap it around your waist.
4. Check your measurement.
Are these waist measurements suitable for everyone?
Waist measurements should only be used for adults to check their risk of developing a chronic disease. The waist measurements above are recommended for Caucasian men, and Caucasian and Asian women. Recommended waist measurements are yet to be determined for all ethnic groups. It is believed that they may be lower for Asian men.

So this is where we begin.  If your waist measurement if over 31.5 inches for a woman and 37 inches for a man, it's time to take action.

The solution to my own struggle with fat was to learn Turbulence Training and follow the Sugar Freedom diet.  By addressing my overeating, and finding a way to train safely and effectively, I finally got to a healthy BMI, a waist circumference I feel great about, and I opened the door to finally figuring out what I wanted to do with my professional life.

I want to encourage you to start in the same place.  What is your waist measurement?  If it's higher than healthy, take action to get it lower.  Then, it will be time to consider your appearance as a motivator for change.

In my next post we will look at setting the goal for your ideal authentic body.  Reaching a  healthy waist circumference is the first stage of your transformation journey.  A healthy WC is what you need.  Next we will address what you desire.