Archive for January, 2014

Breaking Down BMI – Part II

January 29, 2014

Going back to BMI — I know I know, do we have to??  Lets get through part two then we don’t ever have to chat about it again – Unless you bring it up and want some more info!  When we left off two weeks ago, we were chatting about the limitations of BMI or why we need some other tool or measurement.

Since the BMI calculation uses your height and weight, your measurement for success greatly limits itself (unless you can grow a few inches) to simply changing your weight.  Now we think it sounds more sophisticated then just weight itself and it is, a little.  BMI becomes very useful especially when looking at children and their development, since they do grow up (in height that is!).  Since obesity is such a hot topic around this country, even sadly with the younger people in our worlds.  Because weight and emotion can become so intertwined, the best thing to encourage with this population is maintaining weight as they grow in height.  This causes the BMI to decrease even though their weight never changed.  In these situations, the best course of action does not encourage weight loss, which can be emotionally damaging and often not healthy in the bigger picture.

BMI varies greatly when looking at adults.  First, it does not measure an improvement in body composition.  Some individuals get labeled as overweight or obese because of a high amount of muscle.  The muscle increases their weight therefore causing the unhealthy BMI.  Second, the continued hyperfocus on weight loss and BMI does not take into consideration health on any level.  Plenty of people carry extra weight yet maintain perfect health and vice versa — plenty of people show the perfect weight yet take enough medication to open a small pharmacy.

Bottom line, if we all took the opportunity to develop health and let our bodies respond accordingly, we’d change our society!

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Breaking Down BMI – Part I

January 16, 2014

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that about 67 percent of Americans are overweight or obese according to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES, data.  Excess weight contributes to many preventable health problems resulting in increasing healthcare costs.  Given the prevalence of overweight and obese Americans, doctors and statisticians need measurement tools to assess health status and progress.  Enter BMI.  By now, we’ve all heard of this and you probably even calculated yours at some point!

So what does this BMI mean exactly and does it really tell the whole story?  BMI is used worldwide and provides a consistent way to compare and analyze health status across large and small populations. BMI stands for body mass index and, according to research, indicates possible risk for certain preventable diseases.  To calculate your BMI, take your weigh in kilograms and divide by your height in meters squared.  Although not a measurement of body fat, some research states the BMI closely correlates to body fat.

Blah blah blah… How does this measurement fit into your life?  Well, first understand we use this measurement because of the ease of use across many populations, genders and ages.  This does not even begin to tell the whole story.  How many of you know someone who maintains a healthy weight/BMI yet smokes and drinks?  How many of you know someone who appears to hold onto extra weight yet eats a healthy diet and exercises regularly?  How many skinny people suffer from increased blood pressure or experience a heart attack?  What if you decrease your body fat by 5lbs and simultaneously gain 5lbs of muscle?  You still maintain the exact same BMI.  Starting to understand the limitations of this measurement tool?

Tune in for Part II to learn more about BMI and other ways to measure success!

Building a Healthy Family

January 9, 2014

The life of a mother; rushing from here to there, to this practice, that play, this tutor or that friends house then make dinner, do laundry and pack lunches. When is there possibly time for things you want to do for yourself? Alabama sings it perfectly in their country ballad “Rushin’ rushin ‘til life’s no fun. All I really gotta do is live and die, I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.” Okay, so maybe you feel like all the rushing is for a purpose. Ask yourself, is the benefit short term or do you see long term gain?

As women, the responsibilities of running the household often falls onto our shoulders and, in the process, our own “stuff” gets pushed aside for everything else. You want to work out but don’t have the time, you want to eat healthy but you have a picky kid who only eats chicken nuggets and goldfish crackers, you want to get back to your sport but your kids take up your time and well, you get the picture. Our focus on getting our kids into more activities to get into the best college and be the best athlete creates an overwhelming situation for fitting everything into an already tight schedule.

All this being said, you can make it happen with a little thought and planning. We forget how much our children learn from what we do as much as (if not more then) what we say. Start by modeling the behaviors you want them to adopt. Make physical activity and healthy eating part of regular family activities. Include the kids in decisions, cooking and exercise. Set aside family time to be active and eat healthy together.

Let your kids into the kitchen. Have them mix up a dressing or marinade, put together a salad or measure out the water for cooking rice. Challenge the family to eat more fruits and vegetables and encourage like and dislike of any food. Ride bikes, take a hike or participate in activities like tag to encourage movement. Play games and hold contests for added incentive with fun rewards and little prizes.

When working with a busy schedule, remember every little bit counts. Hearing that we must engage in 60 – 90 minutes of activity every day seems overwhelming at times. Do what you can as long as it is something. Short on time? Make twenty minutes can go a long way in a workout by incorporating big movements and minimal rest. By increasing your intensity, you accomplish a lot in a short period of time. Incorporate small changes into your daily eating as well. Set out to achieve one or two goals a month to make habits.

Your Resolutions– Boom or bust??

January 2, 2014

January brings lots of attention to the workout industry. As a trainer, I’ve heard lots of “I’m not making resolutions this year” yet attendance at the gym still picked up, calls to the studio still increased and Yoga class consisted of lots of hands and feet everywhere. Where’s the NO to resolutions in all this???

To resolve to accomplish something this year means you will reach your goal on DECEMBER 31ST, 2014. Why then does our energy to achieve what we started burn out so quickly?

Our tip for your resolution, make small goals for each month leading up to that end of the year big achievement! Take baby steps and make them actionable (yes is a word!!). For instance, I will walk three days per week all month. Pick only one or two things to accomplish. Then praise yourself for achieving what you said you would!