Tag Archives: weight loss

BMI Is Bullsh–

14 Sep

mindy_gif

We are data-centric creatures. As much as many of us cringed at the thought of algebra, we all love numbers. Numbers are definite. Two plus two will always be four. You will always be one year older on your birthday. It took two humans to create one human you. All of these things are facts for us to base future decisions off of.

Much like the BMI. Your body mass index is there solely to help you make future decisions. But recognize that the BMI is also bullshit.

Think of it this way: A 5-foot-8, 140-pound woman and her 5-foot-2, 115-pound friend can easily wear the same size 4 dress. How? Because the way our bodies are shaped help determine what fits, not necessarily the numbers involved with it. Your size 10 jeans from the Gap may fit like a dream. Buy those jeans in the same cut from Levi’s and you’ll probably need a different size. It’s not that your body changed significantly. It’s just that the jeans were made differently.

This point was proven further earlier this year when Body Labs released its BMI Visualizer. The visualizer creates a 3D composite of a person’s body based on three factors: gender, height and weight. That’s it. Like most BMI calculators, it doesn’t take into account activity level, fat vs. muscle mass or mass distribution.

When I did my visualizer, it looked nothing like my current body shape. For example, this was taken a few weeks ago before a race.

IMG_2289

This is what it says my body looks like.

visualizer

Obviously, there are a few differences. I’m short, but I’m not that squat-shaped. I’ve got a tummy, but not that much of a gut. It got the pear shape right, though. The Visualizer also doesn’t look like I work out much, which we all know is a flat-out lie.

The folks at Body Labs took several body scans of people with similar heights and weight and came up with different proportions for all of them. How is this possible? Because the BMI is bullshit.

visualizer_all_bodies

Don’t worry so much about what the BMI is telling you. If you are truly concerned about your health and weight, stay in contact with your physician. Have your doctor refer you to a nutritionist. The best way to monitor your weight is to take care with your caloric intake. Cutting calories will help you lose weight faster, exercise will help you shape your body.

If you really want to concern yourself with a number, calories should be your No. 1 priority. Calories fuel the body, but you don’t want to top off your tank. Get enough to get you where you need to be, not so much that you’re just sitting around on useless fuel. Then worry about he amount of fat, next cholesterol then sodium. The thing is that you need all of these things, but in moderation.

The BMI is a tool, not the toolkit. Think of your health as building a house, and the BMI is your hammer. You still need wood, a level, nails, screwdriver, etc. The hammer is useless without everything else.

Advertisements

Taking Out Health Insurance

1 Jun
At least she's honest. Courtesy of Tumblr

At least she’s honest.
Courtesy of Tumblr

Logic and practicality are my failsafes. They’re what I use to get through life. They’re how I make sense of the turvy-topsy-ness of society. Logic tells me that the likelihood of me being hit by a bus tomorrow is very low. But should that unfortunate event occur, it would be nice to have some systems in place to insure I’m taken care of with no problem.

That’s where my upbringing comes in. My parents beat it into me that I should have some kind of insurance. Example: my mother, who never made my school lunch, would pack up a brown paper grocery bag full of goodies when I had field trips. Why? “What if the bus breaks down and you can’t get food?”

Me: “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Her: “Well, give a sandwich to one of the kids who forgot their lunch.”

Mind you, there were three sandwiches in the bag. This is the type of environment I grew up in. You never knew if the bad was going to happen, so just make sure you’re prepared anyway.

That’s how I like to look at health and wellness. Life it going to throw an abundance of curveballs at you. You could end up being hit by a bus. You could trip and twist your ankle while walking to the bathroom. You could do any number of things that will create a stumbling block to better health. But if you’ve done nothing to prepare your body for the bad things you know are coming (loss of muscle mass, decreasing vision, lower bone density), then you’re setting yourself up for a fail.

Think of taking an active role in your health as just doubling your health coverage. When you’re mindful of your physical activity and your nutritional habits, you’re better informed when you visit the doctor. You can speak eloquently about what’s really bothering you or even what you feel good about.

By becoming more active—even just walking a mile a day—you’re able to offer insight to your physician about your physical activity. We all fill out those wretched forms when we visit the doc’s office. And often we all lie about a sedentary vs. active lifestyle. But when you get in the exam room, you can talk about how you’ve noticed a twinge in your hip when you swim. Or how you feel off balance when you run on a path as opposed to running on a treadmill. Or even how beets give you gas.

Doctors love this kind of stuff. They want to know what’s going on with you and how things have changed from the last visit. Not just your travel plans or the new additions to the house, though those can be stressful. The physical, day-to-day details keep you both on the same page.

You learn a great deal about yourself while on your weight-loss journey. You learn what you’re capable of, what you hate and what you want to be better at. It’s a great way to get in touch with who you really are in a pinch. And it’s an even better way to keep someone whose job it is to be concerned about your health in the know. You two are team. And since they’re getting your co-pay anyway, make your doctor earn it.

When was the last time you visited your doctor? Have you discussed your health and wellness plan?

How (Not) to Lose 10 Pounds in a Week

4 Mar

I rarely gamble. I’m not a fan of it. I play the lottery maybe twice a year. I rarely go to casinos, and when I do, I don’t gamble. There’s a higher chance of failure with gambling than there is of winning. My money does better for me when it’s in my pocket.

I liken gambling to get-rich-quick schemes. There’s always a hidden cost that you weren’t prepared for. Those emails from Nigerian princes asking you to hold their millions in your account? Those phone calls from random utility operators saying you’re paying too much, even though you’re using the only utility available in your area? Publisher’s Clearinghouse? It’s all a scam to make you think that hard work isn’t the way to get things done.

The same thing goes for quick-fix diet scams. “Eat this, lose 10 pounds in a week.” “Just five minutes a day and you’ll drop 20 pounds in a week.” “The only diet pill you’ll need to get bikini ready in just two weeks.” I call bullshit.

Nothing worth having is easy to get. If you read the small print on these ads, they’ll always say the results aren’t typical. Nine times out of 10, you’ll be the rule, not the exception.

People often ask me how I lost the weight. The simple answer is diet and exercise. But if you have a half hour, I can give you a rundown. I started preparing my meals at the beginning of the week and portioned them out so I wouldn’t overindulge. I made sure to schedule my workouts into my day, leaving room for the sudden happy hour or late night at work. I always had a Plan B if my scheduled workout wouldn’t work out that day. I can mentally calculate all the calories I’m consuming versus the amount of energy I’m expending.

That’s just the truncated version, and I still never lost 10 pounds in one week.

You’ll see shows like “The Biggest Loser” and think to yourself, if they can do it, why can’t I? It’s because you have a life outside the show. While you’re sitting at home watching these people’s journey toward a healthier life, they’re on a treadmill or eating one egg white every five hours, with a handful of raw almonds in between. It’s not practical.

We all have lives to lead. I’m not saying losing 10 pounds in one week isn’t possible. Anything’s possible. But does that make it right? I don’t think so.

This journey is a rough one. It is filled with starts and stops. The thing I want people to realize is that you should start with realistic expectations. Ten pounds in one week? Sure…if you chop off your arm. Ten pounds in two weeks? Very possible with a very strict diet and workout regimen. Ten pounds in three weeks? Totally doable, still with a strict diet and workout regimen. Plus, if you hit your target in two weeks, the third week’s weight loss is bonus points (if that’s what you were looking for).

Think about short-term and long-term goals and what’s achievable in that time. Don’t let the stress of losing weight make you gamble on a magic pill.

What quick-fix routines have you seen lately? How do you keep focused on your short- and long-term goals?

Let’s Talk About Health, Baby

19 Feb
This will be a much less stressful conversation. Promise. Courtesy of Tublr

This will be a much less stressful conversation. Promise.
Courtesy of Tumblr

I’m a bit of a night owl. As I type this, the clock is nearing 3 a.m. “What are you doing up so late?” you’re probably asking. Well, getting this handy-dandy post up, for one. But for another, I just like being up late. I love the quiet. But when I need a little noise, I’ll channel surf.

Do you know what’s on basic cable at 2:30 in the morning? Reruns and infomercials. There are only so many times you can watch the Evanses have “Good Times” before you switch to something else. That’s when the infomercials and regular late-night commercials become some of the most interesting television you’ve ever seen. My first workout DVD was bought from an infomercial. And it sat in the box for more than a year before I actually put it to use.

The late-night commercials are something else, though. There was one that aired in the days leading up to Valentine’s. It was an ad selling a giant bear that measured up to six feet. One of the taglines was, “You could buy her chocolate, but she’ll just ask you if she looks fat?”

The ad was meant to entice men to spend hundreds of dollars on stuffed polyester that, honestly, looked like something out of a nightmare. But that line is what irked me the most. It played into the fear that people can’t handle the truth and are only looking for  a quick fix. Why buy her the health club membership she’s been talking about when you can buy her an atrocious stuffed animal no woman over the age of 13 would ever want? Forget having an honest conversation about what she really wants and needs. Get her a doll that’s sure to collect dust and fulfill nightmares for years to come.

The weight-loss journey is traveled alone. I’ve said this many times before. But that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to people about it. Joking about a woman asking if she looks fat is old, tiresome and trite. Beyond that, it halts the conversation about health. Sure, it’s an ad for a ridiculous bear (and if your boyfriend bought that for you, there are bigger issues to discuss than weight). The ad and that line rely on the idea that discussions about appearance and health are too much for any relationship to handle.

I call bullshit. Your first discussion is usually with your doctor who will notice fluctuations in your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol with your annual physical. Next comes your boo thang, who may have added a little around the middle with you as you two have grown more comfortable with one another. Then comes my favorite: your grandparents, aunts and uncles, who will never, ever forsake the opportunity to comment on how you look—good or bad.

You can take these comments and observations as insults, or you can take them as jumping off points to a bigger discussion about what your weight and body image mean to you. No one’s saying to go on a crash diet. But I believe that opening the dialog to the future of your own health is a great way to charter the path for your weight-loss journey.

What does it hurt to say, “I’m going to start eating lighter to take better care of my weight”? Or, “Why don’t we go for a walk after dinner some nights to burn some of these calories”? Observing that a shirt or a pair of pants don’t fit the way they used to doesn’t mean you’re being critical. It means you want the person you’re with to look their best. Discussing what you’ve seen and what you’re concerned about can only open up your conversations to other things, like past history with weight or even family health issues. It’s all for the greater good.

What kinds of conversations have you had with people about your weight and body image? How do you feel about discussing these things with people? Did you have a good Valentine’s Day?

On Amber Rose

17 Feb


(Includes NSFW language)

Amber Rose, Wiz Khalifa’s estranged wife/Kanye West’s ex-girlfriend, made a few headlines yesterday. The main one I’ll get to shortly, but there are a couple of points I want to make first.

1. I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of Amber Rose. I’m familiar with her work as a model and being rapper’s arm candy. I think she’s beautiful with an amazing body. She also thinks she’s beautiful with an amazing body. In the beginning, that’s all we had in common.

2. In interviews, she gives some of the rawest answers you’ll ever hear. If you’re a fan of Jennifer Lawrence and her unfiltered views on things, you’ll love Amber’s openness and honesty about her sexuality, her dating life, motherhood and the people she wants to surround herself with.

3. That openness and honesty takes me to the link she has with this blog. Like many women, Amber gained quite a bit of weight after having her child. Like most women, she didn’t lose the weight immediately. The human body is not an animal balloon that you can just twist and turn in any shape you want. You have to work hard to mold it. Amber had her son two years ago and it was last month that she debuted the fruits of her labor.

“I’ve really been trying to work on my body and do it the natural way… I wanted to put in the work,” she told Hot97 radio last week

The subject came up because the host questioned if she’d had plastic surgery. Two things: none of his business and him saying he didn’t care about the answer to his question made him look ri-damn-diculous.

Losing weight through diet and exercise takes time. It took Amber nearly two years to get her body the way she wanted. Note that she said she’s not the size and weight she used to be, but that she’s at the size she wants to be. On your weight-loss journey, you’ll learn more about yourself than you thought possible. One of the things you’ll have to contend with is rectifying your ideal weight with what is best for you. Amber found that the pre-baby weight of 120 pounds was neither feasible nor was it practical. To be honest, she looks amazing at this size.

*FYI: This will be a departure from usual weight-loss fare*

4. She’s right about Tyga. He should be ashamed of himself if he’s really is dating an underage teenager. At 25, he’s way old enough to know better that he is setting himself up to catch a case. Her comments on The Breakfast club to defend her friend and shame her friend’s ex are standard in girl code. Khloe Kardashian’s attempts to clap back were useless and embarrassing for her.

I have to admit the side of me that loves gossip was distracted by this back and forth for hours. And it made me an Amber Rose fan. She made a couple of harmless digs at the Kardashian clan in her radio interviews. But her comments about Tyga were strictly that. He has no business dating a teenager.