Thursday 29 September 2016

Doctor's orders: Time to think about some waist-removal

With three weeks under our belts, it's time for us to get the tape out and measure our circumferences

Ciara Kelly

Published 04/05/2015 | 02:30

Measure it: Women should have a waist circumference of 32 inches or less. And men should have one of 37 inches or less.Increased waist size puts you at increased risk of heart disease.
Measure it: Women should have a waist circumference of 32 inches or less. And men should have one of 37 inches or less.Increased waist size puts you at increased risk of heart disease.

Hurrah! We - and by we, I mean you - have managed to complete week three of your Slimmer for Summer, healthy-eating programme. You, like our stalwart columnists, have spent the last three weeks reordering how you eat, and hopefully have reduced your overall portion sizes, increased your intake of fruit, veg and water, and are generally feeling really good about yourselves.

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Three weeks is highly significant because it's how long it takes to break and indeed form habits. So, for those of you who've been sticking to your plan, the really good news is that things will get less difficult from here on in, as you'll now find making healthy choices has become routine and not something you need to think about overly or indeed struggle with.

For those of you who haven't been as focussed, I say this: three weeks ago you really wanted this. Now half the people you started with are finding it's getting easier and easier and for a lot of them, they've lost over half a stone - that's half the total weight loss they were aiming for! You want to be in that group. We'll be doing this for another five weeks - a lot can change in five weeks. So stop being so easy on yourselves. Push yourself this time. You will feel great if you do.

Sometimes we fall off the wagon of healthy living because we allow ourselves just one little slip that becomes a series of slips. We tell ourselves we will start tomorrow, instead of today, even though we know we also said that yesterday. We tell ourselves, we're not that heavy really, as we ignore our tighter waistbands; and that even if we do start tomorrow, that just means it'll take an extra day to reach our goal. But denial isn't doing us any favours when it comes to this. So a few irrefutable facts might help.

Your BMI is a measure of your weight for your height. So it takes into account the fact that people who are taller, can be heavier and still be a normal weight. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 25. Two thirds of Irish adults have a BMI above this which means they are either over weight (BMI of 25 - 30) or obese (BMI greater than 30). There are limitations to BMI; the Brian O'Driscolls of the world have huge muscle mass which makes them very heavy - so their BMI falls into the obesity category, despite them being super fit sportsmen. But let's be honest -they are few and far between. Most people with a high BMI are not top athletes - they're just obese. Measure your own BMI by dividing your weight in kilos, by your height in metres squared or use an on-line BMI calculator.

The other simple measurement you should know is your waist circumference. Women should have a waist circumference of 32 inches or less. And men of 37 inches or less. Oh, and men - your trouser waist is not your waist circumference. You guys wear your trousers on your hips. Your waist is measured around your belly button - generally a good bit bigger. Increased waist size puts you at increased risk of heart disease. Because the fat you store around your middle, isn't just stored under your skin, it's stored in and around your organs; so being apple shaped is going to bring you closer to the doctor, rather than keeping him away.

Work out your BMI and your waist circumference and see if you're where you should be, if you're where you shouldn't be - or if you're at least moving in the right direction! If your waist is too big and your BMI is too high - what are you waiting for? We're gaining a stone a decade - if you don't start now you'll have a greater mountain to climb. Keep going! We're almost half-way there.

@ciarakellydoc

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