Monday, July 15, 2013

Belly Fat Blues

I just started Nutrition and Physical Activity for Health through Coursera and found that measuring your waist to help screen for possible health risk is NOT the same as measuring for clothing size. Dang! If I measure correctly, I'm teetering on the brink of too fat around the middle. So now I'm signing the belly fat blues.

I've been measuring my waist for close to 50 years. My mom taught me to sew as a kid and my baby doll pajamas even won third place in the adult division at the county fair when I was only 8. I also took sewing in high school (remember Home Ec?) so I learned how to properly take measurements under the watchful eye of Mrs. Giovanetti. Well, from a belly fat measuring perspective, I've been doing it all wrong.

How to measure belly fat

Measuring for clothing is easy. Just wrap the tape around the smallest part of your middle and don't cheat by pulling too tight. That's it. Measuring your waist circumference for health assessment happens in a whole different area - lower, where you have more girth. Yikes! So instead of being a couple inches below the danger zone, I'm right at the limit with no wiggle room.

If you'd like to be depressed, too, just grab your trusty dusty tape measure and raise your shirt...and you'll probably have to lower you pants, as well. Feel around on your hip bones slightly to the front, looking for the highest spot of the bend. Don't cheat by feeling the highest part toward the back or your measurement will be wrong. Once you've found the right spot, measure around with your tape level. NOTE: You'll be measuring below the navel.

How fat is too fat?

Risk of things like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes goes up once your waist exceeds 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. Remember - a larger waist doesn't automatically mean that you'll have health problems, only that you're at higher risk.

So am I too fat around the middle? Yep - probably so. I've always carried weight around my middle and this hasn't improved with age. Now I just hope the class gives me some doable ideas to edge back away from the precipice!

Care to join me?

Interested in Nutrition and Physical Activity for Health? It's not too late to sign up for this 6-week class, and it's free. Hope to see you there!

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