Guest blogger: Bonne Marcus
A fitness industry expert for 27 years, Marcus holds numerous certifications from the Aerobic Fitness Association of America (AFAA), including Step, Spin, Bosu™, Pre/Post Natal, Youth Fitness, Aqua, and Personal Training. She has taught for New York City’s top health clubs, including Crunch, New York Health and Racquet, and Reebok Sports Club. A recognized name on Long Island, Bonne has taught at Dany Holdstein’s Two Worlds, North Shore Health Club, LA Fitness, Sport time, Equinox and currently teaches at the Sid Jacobsen JCC in Roslyn. Learn more at getfitwithbonne.com.
Photo Credit: iStock
How often do you weigh yourself? Be honest. Here is a better question: How often do you feel like throwing the scale out the window?
I can totally identify. It is amazing to me how an inanimate object like a scale has so much power. Understand that the scale is a poor indicator of whether or not you are overweight. Your body composition is not simply determined by how much you weigh but by how much of your body weight comes from fat. Appropriate amounts of both fat and lean tissue are necessary for optimal health; the average for a healthy woman is 20-25%.
A popular way to measure body fat is with a skin caliper. A trainer will pinch certain sites on your body to get a measurement. It is not completely accurate, but it does give you a good picture. And did you know that your weight can fluctuate throughout the day? It's normal for a person’s weight to change a few pounds from day to day. For one thing, what you're eating can make a dramatic short-term difference; foods that are high in sodium can cause water retention, which is often the culprit when a few unexpected pounds register on the scale.
Often, weighing ourselves becomes a compulsion, a way of seeing if we are worthy of reward. If you are serious about dieting, don’t play mind games with yourself. I recommend weighing in no more than once a week. If you're exercising regularly and keeping your diet in check, your weight shouldn't fluctuate enough to cause you concern.
Finally, our "dream weight” is just that — a dream. One of the worst things you can do is pin your success or failure on a numerical goal that may or may not be physically attainable. And don’t believe those nickel scales you see in pharmacies — there really is no "correct" weight for a certain height.
How much you weigh may depend upon your build, your body fat percentage, how active you are, your diet, and many other factors. You can, however, determine your Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a handy way to keep track of your height-to-weight ratio. The easiest way to determine your body mass index, or BMI is calculated with this formula: Multiply your weight (in pounds) by 704.5. Then multiply your height (in inches) by your height (in inches). Divide the first result by the second.
More accurate measures of body fatness exist — total body water, for example, or total body potassium — but they're expensive and not readily available. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and one 30 or above is considered obese.
What's most important is that you feel good about who you are right now. Until you like yourself as is, trying to change your body shape will be a losing proposition. Self-esteem is important to maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle — and it's a definite must if successful weight loss is one of your goals. So it's time to smile back at that image in the mirror and value all the wonderful characteristics about the person reflected there.