Health by the numbers (it’s not about the scale)

I know that I am not the only one who has struggled with letting that nasty little (or big) number on the scale rule me.  I still probably focus on it more than I should and I am working on that.  However I must say that one thing I have noticed time after time is that this nasty number seems to cause the opposite of what one would hope it would. 

How many people do you think (including yourself?) let that number on the scale make you feel dejected/depressed/frustrated/hopeless?  I am afraid it is probably a high number just based on observation on social media, TV, radio, work, and the gym.  Why oh why do we let a number control us that way?!?!?!

It’s because most of us start working out and eating healthy with the sole desire or main focus of losing weight.  Losing weight is not a bad thing at all and can for many people mean better health, but it is not the only number that should be focused on.  There are several numbers that should be looked at to judge if working out and diet change is making an impact for you.  Don’t forget when you first start making changes it make take a bit for the number on the scale to change, so here are other things to consider.

  • A1C– if you have never heard of this it is a number that helps with medical determination on whether or not you are diabetic/prediabetic.  It’s one of the tests that you should have done by your doctor that looks at your blood sugar.  Knowing this number gives you a lot of power to help intervene on a disease that can impact every system/organ in your body.  Diabetes, while most definitely manageable is very serious.
  • Waist circumference- for a man you want to have it 40 inches or less and for a woman 35 or less.  Higher than that places you at greater risk for developing obesity-related conditions, such as Type 2 Diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. 
  • LDL, HDL, and Triglycerides– the basics are that we produce cholesterol naturally so in general we don’t need to add any through our foods, at least when it comes to LDL or bad cholesterol.  The LDL increases the plaque in our veins and puts at risk for heart attack and stroke.  HDL on the other hand is what we want because it actually helps to clear the plaque in our system helping our hearts.  Triglycerides should not be high because it is linked to heart disease. 
  • Size on  your clothes- the size that you wear might change a little because of a change to a healthier lifestyle.  
  • Body fat vs muscle- the scale may not reflect a change when you start to lose fat because you are gaining muscle.  Here’s the thing you shouldn’t forget, we need to have a certain amount of fat on our bodies to be healthy.  The American Council on Exercise has specific recommendations based on both gender and whether you are an athlete or not.  

Just some things to consider when you might wonder if all the work you are doing is worthwhile.  Here are some links to get more detailed information from some actual fitness and nutrition experts (they say it way better than I do). WebMD body fat measurement CDC healthy weight assessing Mayo clinic cholesterol levels
On that note, look I am starting to get some guns, LOL!

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