The Body Positive messages and imagery that are such a lively part of the conversation these days, are such a welcome change from the ultra-skinny Super Models and incessant quest for a Thigh Gap that was the staple for those of us who went through our formative years in the late 80s and 90s.
It is important though, that we know our limitations and make sure that our body composition is within the healthy range. And no, this has absolutely nothing to do with what your Body Mass Index (BMI) score is!
Science today will tell you that a person’s BMI is a wholly inaccurate way to measure human health because, in a crude attempt to measure obesity, and therefore define mortality, it does not consider muscle mass, nor bone density.
The Body Mass Index, which has been widely used for over 160 years also ignores overall body composition, as well as racial and gender differences. It was developed by a white man, using data from white Europeans a very long time ago, so how could it possibly be a globally-useful metric for today’s society?
The (in)famous BMI was invented by a Belgian mathematician and statistician called Lambert Adolphe Quetelet way back in the early 19th century.
Quetelet devised the calculation, whereby a person’s weight in kilograms is divided by their height in metres squared, in order to help the government allocate resources.
Quetelet himself explicitly said that it should not be used to gauge the fatness of a person, and yet, it’s still widely used to categorise people into categories of corpulence that range from underweight, through to healthy, to overweight, and on to obese.
So what’s the alternative?
What you want to do instead is track your blood pressure, and your waist-to-height ratio. These metrics will give you the most objectively accurate indicators of cardiovascular health, as well as your risk of developing other potentially life-shortening ailments, and so will also predict your mortality, according to the latest research.
To calculate your waist to height ratio, you simply measure your girth around your mid-section at belly button height, and then divide this measurement by your height.
You want a 0.5, or 0.6 ratio so ideally, you want your waist to be roughly half of your height. Go ahead and grab your tape measure and take your measurements now.
Are you in the healthy range? Good!
If not, here’s what you need to know:
If you are carrying excess weight, you are at increased risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes, among other diseases and conditions. The science is irrefutable and should be ignored at your peril.
And now comes the sensitive part perhaps, because it should be clear that encouraging people who are overweight to slim down in this article is not anti-black, or anti-feminist, neither is this body-shaming or anything or that ilk.
Regardless of the colour of your skin, or the gender you identify as, what’s being advocated here is getting clear about the current metabolic state of your health using objective biomarkers.
If your blood pressure is higher than it should be, and/ or your waist is more than half your height, then that should be your cue to start bringing those biomarkers back within the healthy range.
No, you don’t have to be skinny, and yes, we agree that Size Zero is absolutely passé and associated with a whole heap of mental illness and anguish.
So, by all means, continue to embrace your curves, but do so without pushing beyond the bounds of what your organism can cope with.
About the Author
Johdi Woodford is a Restorative Movement Specialist who helps women and gender expansives over 40 to finally uncover the root cause of their pain and treat it so that it doesn’t come back again.
Johdi’s clients enjoy lasting, unparalleled results because she takes a revolutionary and rebellious route to the otherwise very boring, very ineffective methods that you’ll find elsewhere in the Health & Fitness World.
Her multidisciplinary approach is unlike anything you’ve ever tried before, because no-one combines precise anatomical and physiological corrective exercise know-how, with a witch-like ability to heal that her clients describe as ‘magic’.
You can find more information about her here www.johdiwoodford.com