In this day and age, people have come up with a lot of ways to either lose weight or gain muscle mass. Fad diets have come and gone, all promising to give you a healthy body. Some even get into these diet plans without extensive research, all with the hopes to achieve their ideal body weight. Others go overboard and mess up, ending in weight gain more than muscle gain. Luckily, there are tools you can use to identify your body weight and determine if it’s healthy or not. These tools, BMI and Body Composition testing could also help you identify if you are at risk of diseases such as stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. Despite them being used in the world of health and fitness, one could be better than the other. Which is it? What are their differences? Let’s understand each one of them starting with BMI.
Body mass index, or BMI, is a standard measurement to estimate body fat based on your height and weight. It is developed by Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian scientist from the early- to mid- 1800s. It came from his vision of a simple way to determine a person’s body fat content and whether he or she was overweight or not. Medical professionals have been turning to BMI for almost 200 years when it comes to researches in regards to obesity.
BMI is calculated using an equation instead of measuring your body fat directly. The score you get from that equation is an approximation of your overall body fat content, which helps you determine if you are underweight, of normal weight, overweight or obese. Basically, BMI helps you know if a person is healthy or unhealthy in relation to their body weight. The level of a person’s BMI is a sign of the amount of fat that person has on his or her body. Meaning, if your BMI is high, it could be an indication that you have too much fat on your body, and if your BMI is low, then that could possibly mean that you have a very small amount of fat on your body. If not maintained in normal, a BMI of both high or low levels could pose several threats to your body. A low BMI can cause health problems such as anemia, bone loss, and decreased immune function. A high BMI, on the other hand, can cause several serious health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Despite its usefulness for screening bodyweight problems in both children and adults, BMI gets limited to just that. The simplicity of the formula in order to get it doesn’t even account for many other important factors, only giving us a range of normal weight in relation to our height. Criticized for its inaccuracy due to it being too broad and not actually providing anything at all about our body composition, BMI is being rigorously shot at for not being elaborate and thorough.
A person’s BMI is determined by dividing his or her weight by the square of his or her height. A normal BMI level is between 18.5 and 24.9. And even though BMI is calculated in the same way for everyone of all ages, the results are interpreted differently for children and adults.
The following weight status categories are the standard interpretation for the BMI of adults of age 20 and older (same for men and women, all ages and body type) :
BMI Weight Status
Below 15.0 Very severely underweight
15.0 to 16.0 Severely underweight
16.0 to 18.5 Underweight
18.5 to 24.9 Normal
25.0 to 29.9 Overweight
30.0 to 34.9 Obese Class I (Moderate obesity)
35.0 to 39.9 Obese Class II (Severe obesity)
40.0 and above Obese Class III (Very severe obesity)
As aforementioned, the BMI of children (people below 20) is interpreted differently from that of adults. While the formula to determine the BMI for all age groups is the same, the interpretations are based on age and gender differences for children and adults. This is due to the fact that the body fat content of a person changes with age. Also note that while it is different for young boys and girls, the latter usually develop early a higher amount of body fat than boys.
While it is still being used as a standard measurement for the overall health of a collective group, such as a city or a nation, and is proven useful for recording statistics on obesity, one can’t just simply use BMI to assess a single person’s health because it has too many flaws to be used in an individual level. It could potentially overestimate the number of fat athletes and even people with muscular bodies has. BMI could also underestimate the body fat content of people who have lost muscle mass and even in older people.
Now, let’s talk about Body Composition and how it is different from Body Mass Index.
As we all know by now, BMI provides a vague idea of a person’s health. And that’s where Body Composition comes in, it gives you the detailed result. To measure body leanness, it isn’t just height and weight, there are also other important factors that have to be accounted for, namely: fat, Lean Body Mass, and the amount of water in your body. This basically tells you that body composition is your way of knowing how much fat, water, lean mass, and other things your body is made up of. It tells you how much of your weight is contributed by your lean mass (water, connective tissues, muscle, and bones) and how much of it is coming from fat. With a clearer insight into your health opened up by body composition, access to the exact percentage of your body fat might be able to save you from all disease risks you could be facing. Which you wouldn’t be able to know from BMI alone. Body composition is determined using BIA, or bioelectrical impedance analysis. This sends an electrical signal throughout your body, and this signal’s interaction with all the elements of your body including fat and muscle, helps the device separate your weight into, at least, Lean Body Mass and Fat Mass. Access to body composition testing could be challenging to most people, often requiring expensive equipment and through a series of test methods, but this test gives you a deeper perception of your overall body health. It would also be able to cater to a wide range of body types, including people whose BMI is healthy but have a high-fat content in their bodies and those individuals with a healthy body fat percentage but yields unhealthy BMI result.
With all that, we can deduce that although BMI has been used for a long time to evaluate our body weight, it is time to ditch its ways and we should start looking into the bigger and clearer picture of what’s really happening inside our bodies. And to achieve that, Body Composition testing would be a tremendous help, not only to fully understand our body weight and what contributes to it, whether it be Fat Mass or Lean Body Mass but also to avoid great risks of serious diseases.
Body composition is not a gimmick or a fad, that could eventually go as soon as it arrives. It is a test to determine our body fat percentage and lean body mass, studied by medical professionals and scientists for decades to get a better understanding of our overall health. Find out what your body composition is now to further your healthy lifestyle journey.
Even a few years ago models found themselves out of jobs if they packed on a few pounds after a rewarding vacation in the Caribbean. Such incidents were not only extremely discriminatory they also sent a powerful yet wrong message to the common people. At the same time when health aid officials were trying to supply enough food to sustain people in troubled areas, there were gorgeous women purging their guts out in porcelain toilet bowls of 5-star restaurants.
What marked the beginning of the plus-sized era?
The cost of weight loss surgery is high. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, people’s typical costs range from $20,000 to $25,000 for procedures to augment their physique. However, with the advent of a new century came a much-needed change in prevailing fashion trends. Elle was one of the first magazines to break the “plus-size” taboo by featuring plus-size models on its covers. The editors made it a point to throw in a nude pic of the plus-size model just to mix things up and little and it surely had an impact that shook the fashion world. This issue of Elle saw a lot of niche followers and support from human rights groups and other contemporary models. Elle opened the gates of the fashion world for the plus-sized models who had forgotten to dream about a successful career. The magazine had sent out an important message to the world, fashion was evolving and maturing to suit the needs of real women who are not ready to spend their lives munching on Graham crackers only.
To bring the “plus” theme to the mainstream, even Vogue launched an online section, especially for plus-sized women. This website features blogs, interviews, and fashion statements by real-life curvy women who serve as a source of encouragement to all the other plus-sized women from around the world.
What impact did the embracing of plus size have on people?
Most real women know the plight of entering an over-priced fashion boutique. Not only are they met with utter disappointment, but the “experts” also do not deter from giving a few very necessary jibes and pieces of advice regarding the better places where these real women can shop. All in all, even a few years ago, one needed skin as thick as their waists to shop at one of the big labels.
Gladly, the gradual acceptance of plus-sized models into the fashion world changed the way most common people perceive fashion labels. Not only has it become less intimidating for larger women to walk into reputed stores, this move actually given fashion a humane persona. More than mannequins and hangers supporting ridiculously small hot couture dresses, fashion gradually became about luxury clothing, comfortable woolens, flattering shrugs, and super skinny but accommodating bottoms, once again.
The plus-sized controversy
The controversy is the lifeblood of fashion. The fashion industry and its veterans cannot thrive without controversy and gossip. However, the advent of the “plus-size” movement saw a number of changes that were both welcomed and frowned upon. To begin with, a reputed stylist walked out at the London Fashion Week 2009 when designer Mark Fast announced his decision to use plus-sized models for this show.
A more recent controversy has evolved around the denomination of the true body sizes. While most models who wear a size 10 or 12 are deemed to be plus-sized by the industry, the average size worn by women around the world is 14. This has caused a furor among feminists and women rights activists as the world of fashion is still shying away from showing the real bodies of women on the ramps and glamour shoots.
Plus size vs. encouragement of unhealthy lifestyle:
There are popular views like that of Jamelia, a singer and Lose Women panelist who states that being overweight is simply unhealthy and should not be endorsed by reputed lifestyle brands and magazines. In fact, a group of scientists from Canada state that featuring obese women in magazine cover encourages people to lead an unhealthy lifestyle. Such hypotheses are being regularly challenged by the predominant cases of anorexia and bulimia which have been plaguing the modeling world for years. Years of advertising have taught us that skinny is perfect, but this comes at a cost of a healthy lifestyle and well-balanced meals. So while showing a proverbial middle-finger to the preconceived notions of fashion the voices of the real women are being heard again and many designers are dedicating new lines of clothing for the curvy hot women. Women are regaining their confidence for stepping into the smug stores which earlier only catered to the whims of the young and the skinny.
Most agencies and labels are hiring models who represent the face of the USA. These models sport an average American look. The concept of exotic beauty with translucent skin and ridiculously angled faces are beyond passé. In addition to that, the use of plus-sized models has boosted the morale of many women in the fashion industry and has helped to build their confidence. A very interesting study shows that models with popular agencies like Ford are currently earning a whopping $15000 per day instead of the meager $125 per hour they were making earlier as a result of a wider acceptance range among the veteran designers and fashion labels.
Who are these plus sized models?
Most common women who wear sizes 10 and higher find the plus-sized models more realistic than their anorexic counterparts. The more popular image of supermodels puts forth impractical body standards which are simply impossible to attain for maximum women. This pushes them into the world of depression, bulimia, binge eating, and forceful self-starvation. However, women like Jennie Runk, Crystal Renn, Saffi Karina, Justine LeGault, and Tara Lynn are breaths of fresh air. They are the faces of new hope for thousands of women around the world who feel ridiculed every day for their body weight, thanks to these women, even designers like Ralph Lauren, Marina Rinaldi, Michael Simon, Betsy Johnson, Armani, and Jean-Paul Gaultier have started designing gorgeous clothes for the curvier women.
According to some recent studies and the World Health Organization (WHO) standards, everyone should eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber every day. However, a larger intake of about 40 grams of fiber per day is considered more appropriate. Nutritionists and weight-loss experts suggest eating 30 to 40 grams of fiber every day to lose weight. If you are overweight, you can get back to shape by increasing your dietary fiber intake.
How does fiber intake help you lose weight?
A diet rich in fiber keeps you fuller for a longer period of time. It is because the fiber takes longer to break down and get digested compared to a diet rich in simple carbs. When you are feeling full and satisfied, you don’t reach for unscheduled snacks and cookies. Overall, you tend to eat less and it reflects on your weight that drops as you continue with your high-fiber food. When you aim to achieve 30-40 grams of fiber intake from your food, your food choices improve overall. This has an all-around impact on your health including your weight.
When you try to meet your daily quota of fiber intake, you start eating more whole grains, fruits, and veggies — that is where you find more fiber. For someone targeting weight loss, this is a good thing that instead of counting calories you are stuffing yourself with more veggies, fruits, and whole grains.
What are the other benefits of eating more fiber?
Fiber is an important nutrient for health. It helps reduce cholesterol that in turn prevents heart diseases. Since a fiber-rich food takes longer to break down and digest, it helps diabetic people by slowing down the supply of nutrients to the body. A major part of the digested food becomes glucose and gets into the bloodstream. A diabetic patient, therefore, may get a lot of sugar in a little time if he eats a carb-rich food. But if he eats a more fibrous food, the digestion will slow down and the body will get smaller doses of sugar over an extended period of time. Therefore, foods with more fiber in them are healthier for diabetic people.
Another major benefit of having more fiber in your food is that it keeps the bowel movement in a healthy state. With this kind of food, you will never struggle with constipation. How does this happen? It depends on the kind of fiber you eat.
Types of dietary fibers
When it comes to food, there are 3 types of fibers. These are soluble fibers, insoluble fibers, and fermentable fibers.
Both soluble and insoluble fibers help in digestion but they have different roles. Soluble fibers come from things such as nuts, oats, and seeds. In the digestive tract, the soluble fibers act like a broom that sweeps, cleans, and pushes the food waste down the digestive tracts. Insoluble fibers come from leafy vegetables, cabbage, and brown rice. These fibers promote bowel movement and help the passing of stool. These fibers are non-digestible so they easily get added up to the stool and increasing its bulk.
The fermentable fibers come from foods like garlic and beans. They play a very important role in the overall digestion of foods. They do this by promoting the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract. These bacteria act similar to probiotics.
How can you get 30 grams of fiber from your food?
To get 30 grams of fiber, you will need to eat 8 to 9 apples or 12 to 15 cups of broccoli. Since eating so many apples or cups of broccoli every day is not practical, you will have to draw your quota of fibers from different foods that you eat on a daily basis. Rather, you will have to include some of the more fibrous foods in your daily diet.
To conveniently cross the 30-gram fiber quota, you should aim to consume at least 10 grams of fiber in each of the 3 meals you eat every day. For an idea of how much fiber your favorite foods have, let me tell you that a medium-sized pear offers ~6 grams of fiber so does half an avocado. A cup of oatmeal has ~4 grams of fiber and quinoa has ~5 grams. Barley has a huge content of fiber — ~8 grams for every 1/4 cup. Chia seeds offer 10 grams of fiber per 30 grams and chickpeas have ~9 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup.
Other foods that have high amounts of fiber include:
Here is a list of some regular foods that are rich in fibers (Infographic):
Cereals: Eating whole grains compared to refined varieties of cereals always promises to supply more fibers to your body. Avoid added sugar in your cereals. Oat-based muesli and Bran flakes offer up to 10 grams of fiber in a 50-gram portion.
Bananas: A medium-sized banana provides 3 grams of fiber. But eat your banana just ripely, not overripe. An overripe banana is more sugar than anything else.
Apples: Apples are not a big source of fibers but they still supply 2 to 3 grams of fiber from a small apple of 80 grams.
Nuts: Nuts are another source of high-quality fibers. For every 30 grams, they supply 2 grams of soluble fiber.
Wholegrain Bread: White bread does not contain much fiber while wholegrain bread has up to 2 grams of fiber per slice of bread.
Baked Potatoes: Potatoes with skin on has more fiber. A medium-sized baked potato with the skin on has 4 grams of fiber.
Wholemeal Pasta: Whole-wheat spaghetti contains a high 8-gram of fiber from every 75 grams portion.
Pulses: Lentils, peas, and beans are good sources of fiber. 150 grams of baked beans provide 6.8 grams of fiber whereas 100 grams of boiled lentils offer 8 grams of fiber.
Can you overeat fibers?
Yes, it is possible to overeat fibers. This is more likely when you are taking fiber supplements. When you overeat fibers, you will feel it. Bloating, discomfort, nausea, gas, and even constipation are some of the signs that you have eaten more fibers than the dietary guidelines for you.
A healthy intake of dietary fiber is good for your health. If you are overweight, it can help you in your weight loss plan or maintain a healthy weight. We have discussed various items that provide good amounts of fiber. You can include these items in your diet and maintain a good fiber intake.
As the obesity epidemic soars across the western world, our lives are exponentially affected by an increasingly unhealthy public. Whether we struggle with our own weight or witness loved ones do so, chances are we are near and dear to someone who is considered obese. Extra weight is not merely an appearance issue. It affects every aspect of our lives, and studies show obesity to be linked to one of the most feared diseases known to man.
The link between cancer and obesity has been common knowledge for over a decade. According to the most recent 2014 Cancer Progress Research report from the American Association for Cancer Research, obesity ranks second only to smoking as a leading correlating factor in cancer risk.
For an individual to be considered obese, they must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over 30 percent of Americans are considered obese. If the trend continues, it’s possible for half the population to be obese by 2030. This gives our society a unique battle to wage against our own waistlines, the causes of obesity, and the factors that contribute to disease.
Extra weight contributes to a number of health related concerns, but the National Cancer Institute reports nearly 84,000 cancer cases related to obesity each year. To top off the terrifying correlation, obesity can also hinder treatment effectiveness. As treatments are studied and implemented, developers can’t be certain how treatments will effect those carrying more weight than others.
Also, due to elevated ill-health related possibilities and potential self image issues associated to seeking treatment, obese patients with cancer may have more difficulty diagnosing the condition. Their weight may not only contribute to increased risk, but may also delay timely treatment.
Obesity is shown to be most related to colorectal cancer, post-menopausal breast cancer, and cancers of the endometrium, kidney, gallbladder and thyroid. Research also displays links between obesity and cancers of the liver, cervix, myeloma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Contributing factors that relate to higher cancer risks are:
Excess estrogen is produced by fat tissue. High levels of estrogen have been linked to higher risks of breast, endometrial, and other cancers.
Often times overweight people have increased levels of insulin. Elevated insulin is shown to promote tumors.
Hormones produced by fat cells may affect the rate of cell growth. Leptin, more common in obese people, is shown to inspire excessive cell growth. The hormone adiponectin, less likely in obese people, may hinder cell growth.
People with excessive weight issues typically struggle with increased levels of inflammation. Increased inflammation is shown to boost the likelihood of numerous disease-causing conditions, including cancer.
Considering these alarming statistics, losing weight and improving overall health can decrease cancer risk. If you or a loved one is obese, it’s time to see past limits on the path to improved wellness. With the possibility of greater cancer risk looming above and beyond other motivational weight loss aspects, take the time now to protect yourself, improve your health, and encourage your loved ones to do so also.
Here are life saving tips to implement today.
Consult a medical professional and nutritionist to discuss a diet and exercise routine. Open additional dialogue regarding causes of obesity and realistic paths to overcome the condition.
Eliminate processed foods and refined carbohydrates from your diet.
Undertake a relaxation/wellness routine. Take time for yourself. Incorporate meditation into your daily life.
Gain professional mental health support to work through possible emotional causes of overeating.
Obesity is the second leading cause of death after smoking. It is associated with an increased mortality rate of all ages including children. Losing weight though commercialized is still to your benefit if you carry more weight than you should.
Obesity and overweight are term often used interchangeably. However, technically they refer to two different states.
Being overweight technically means excess body mass. This includes all the body tissues. Obesity on the other hand refers explicitly to excess body fat e.g. a professional heavy weight body builder is overweight because of excess muscles but is not obese.
Obesity is what should concern you. Losing weight is no longer an issue you can afford to procrastinate, and probably a good health scare is in order.
Reason #1 to lose weight
Diabetes:- It is well known that 80 -90% of type-two-diabetes patients are overweight. Diabetes is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., as well as the leading cause of adult blindness in the world. One of the direct causes of obesity is eating wrong foods. Some of these wrong foods include high glycemic foods. High glycemic foods are energy dense foods that quickly increase the level of blood glucose in your body after been eaten. This results to the body reserving the unnecessarily high glucose/energy into fat. This makes losing weight very difficult.
Releasing a hormone called insulin does this. Type-Two-diabetes occurs because the body cannot produce enough insulin to remove the excess blood glucose and store it as body fat. This will occur after straining insulin production for some time. And that’s how you end up being fat and diabetic.
A problem all over the world, especially in developed nations, obesity is regarded as a sort of silent epidemic which results in a whole lot of health issues. Similarly, a large number of people suffer from diabetes, which is also considered somewhat to be a compulsive killer. Combine both and you have a deadly malady in hand! Yes. It is true. Although all obese people needn’t contract diabetes and nor is it a must that all diabetic people turn out to be obese, people who are overweight are at a bigger risk of contracting diabetes, especially the type-2 variety.
So, let us find out how exactly these two dreaded lifestyle diseases are related. Obesity or a condition of surplus body weight essentially involves having excess body fat and increases the risk of acquiring type-2 diabetes, which affects the body’s insulin managing capacity. Basically, being obese increases the risk of contracting type-2 diabetes because the more weight we put on, the more our body becomes resistant to the insulin that is produced naturally. When the body loses weight, it becomes more capable to manage the insulin produced and start functioning in a better manner. This truly points out to the fact that a fatal link exists between obesity and diabetes.
Many doctors these days recommend their obese patients to cut down on body weight so as to minimize their risk of contracting type -2 diabetes and other illnesses that are associated with obesity like heart disease, hypertension, etc. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has recommended weight loss as a measure to lower elevated blood glucose levels in obese patients with type-2 diabetes. Based on various clinical tests and other procedures, this report clearly states a connection between a decrease in abdominal fat and improved glucose tolerance in overweight people.
Relevant studies have also proved the fact that not only does losing weight result in preventing obese people scale the heights of diabetes, but it also reverses any damage caused to the insulin producing cells in the body. Therefore, treatment for diabetes becomes challenging in that the root cause of the disease, that is obesity, needs to be targeted first.
Obesity can be best treated through proper diet and exercise. Other than genetic causes, one often finds that right from childhood the person has been on an improper diet and in combination with negative physical activity, the overweight person gradually moves on to a point of high obesity. This needs to be looked into initially where the patient has to strictly monitor what he eats. Avoiding processed and fried foods totally and cutting down on artificial sugar can help to a certain extent. Eat a balanced diet filled with the goodness of wholegrain, fruits, and vegetables as per your dietician’s or doctor’s advice.
Diet alone is not enough to combat obesity and the various problems that come with it. You need a suitable exercise plan too which should be done regularly and consistently. It is best that you get the advice from a concerned professional in this regard and sort out your ‘weighty issues’ at the earliest.