Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Fallacy of Relying on BMI Measurements for Health and Weight Management

The topic of "normal weight obesity" has been discussed a lot in the news lately. The results from several studies have given us one more reason not to diet; one more reason to throw away the bathroom scales. These results also reiterate that inaccuracy of counting on BMI measurements as an indicator of health and fitness.  A child with a "high" BMI might have a report sent to the parents with a "warning".  On the other hand, a child with a "normal" BMI may be given the impression that all is well despite getting no exercise and eating foods very low on the nutrition totum pole. The bottom line is that you can be at a body weight that has been deemed appropriate for your height via BMI and be obese. Without pursuing a healthy relationship with food and exercise aimed at being lean and fit, you can be at a level of "fatness" that is unhealthy; no matter what you weight or BMI registers!

There are several factors that can contribute to a high percentage of body fat. Dieting is not the solution to this dilemma. In fact, dieting can actually set your body in motion to become especially effective at storing body fat. When you consume too few calories your body actually produces extra enzymes that enhance fat production and storage. This is a biological compensation mechanism that allowed your ancestors to survive cycles of famines-feasting- and more famines. Keep working on following the basics of eating more fiber, fewer processed foods (not zero), increase intake of veggies and foods and be active.  Learn to hear and honor both your hunger and satisfied signals that might be in a bit of a state of confusion if you have engaged in dieting or disordered eating.  It takes practice and patience and you will never be perfect!!

And, remember ... always eat clean.  (Meaning .... always wash your hands and food!)