Body Shape and Weight Loss
What is your
shape? You may think you know when you look in the mirror,
or you may be too busy trying to cover up unshapely areas to
really see yourself as you are. Do you know how much fat
you're carrying, compared to how much muscle? Do you know
where you tend to gain weight - upper body, lower body or
around the middle?
Until you know
the answer to these questions, you are not ready to make
your personal plan for losing weight and keeping it off.
Understanding your body is the first step to reaching your
best personal shape.
Many people do
not realise the importance of body shape. With many weight
loss and diet books it is underemphasized, or ignored.
You have probably
read about the Body-Mass Index (BMI) which is a
weight-to-height ratio. If your BMI is greater than 25, you
are considered overweight and if it is greater than 30 you
are obese. This ratio has been a powerful way for scientists
to document the obesity epidemic in US, Australia, New
Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. However, when it
comes to you as an individual, it cam be misleading. A
football player can be considered overweight on the BMI
scale, but if the extra weight being carried is muscle, he
is not really fat. A thin woman can have a normal BMI, yet
still be over-fat. So shape counts.
Shape also helps
determine goals. Women are very conscious of their shape and
dress size, and for many women changing their shape is more
important than just losing weight. Men are often unaware of
their excess weight around the middle, and simply buy larger
pants or tighten their belt below their stomach. Man may
care less about a shapely appearance, but shape has many
health consequences and improved health is a goal for many
men. Losing weight around the middle can help reduce
cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood-sugar levels.