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To Save My Life - What Does It Finally Take? - July 21, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I am still steaming. And it's been four days since I went to the doctor's for a "routine" physical. She insisted, since I hadn't been there for a complete physical in two years. OK, that seemed fair, so Tuesday I went.

Back story to my visit:

I had needed a prescription for new CPAP equipment and had my doctor give me one. I was really annoyed that the company would not just give me what I needed, since the condition is stable, and has been since my diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea six years ago. If you're fat enough (I am) chances are good that you may have this. I can't tell you how many people I know that do have it. Sleeping with a mask and continual pressure to keep the airway open through the night is a rough thing to get used to (success rate runs at only about fifty percent), but it sure beats stopping breathing 40 times an hour. That's not a typo. My sister one holiday event noticed I fell asleep in the lounge chair and stopped breathing. Some wakeup call (no pun intended). As bad as that sounds, I had a friend who stopped breathing 72 times an hour. Another friend of mine, a physician, told me it was a good ten years before he was diagnosed. That got me to thinking how long it took me to find out why I was always feeling so dopey (I always attributed it to an intense working environment and thought it was par for the course when one works 80 to close-to-100 hours a week): For me the diagnosis came after about 15 years. That's pretty shocking, that a major illness can go undetected for so long. Part of that is (I feel) the medical profession simply did not know about this disorder. I clearly have a memory of seeing a pulmonologist with a sick relative and as a "by the way" on our way out, mentioned to her that sometimes I wake up gasping. She told me she could give me medicine for that. This was in 1991, and she was a specialist. Looking back on it is simply shocking that she did know about sleep studies, or at least that's what it seemed. But little truly was known in the late 1980s and early 1990s about this condition. Sleep apnea is not a "silver bullet" diagnosis for all the ills that being overweight brings, as one friend sarcastically said (non-physician) until she reexamined her own situation. And she had already been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. The condition is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and an assortment of other "goodies".

So this was the road that led to the doctor's visit now. Before I went, I was waiting on a prescription refill for an elderly relative at Rite Aid. They have one of those blood pressure machines to occupy you while you wait. I went for it. I got a blood pressure reading of 171/96 and a heart rate of 85. The heart rate is fine, but the blood pressure results sent me positively reeling. I started to calculate it in my mind: The systolic pressure put me at Stage 2 hypertension and the diastolic pressure at Stage 1. If this were true, this was definitely not good. Now I really wanted to see my doctor four days hence.

As it turns out, even off the CPAP machine for several days, my blood pressure is fine: 128/80. It hadn't been when I first started seeing my doctor some five years ago. It was stuck in the 140 to 155 range. Other things, besides the morbid obesity, lead her to tell me back then that my body was "starting to complain". I seriously needed to lose weight, and I needed to do it then. A realistic initial goal is to lose 10% to start to see results with high blood pressure. I did. It's that dramatic. My doctor was proud of my efforts. More so, I was pretty proud of me.

But after awhile, complacency sets in. You know the drill: You lose some weight, then you get stuck. It's not a true plateau for many, because the old stressors and the bad habits really want to get it on again. They are fighting the new lifestyle with everything they have, they have been together for so long.

As relieved as I was that the blood pressure reading at Rite Aid was false, I was not going to be let off the hook that easily: Bad news was still on the horizon. It came the next day with the lab results. While at the doctor's, I signed up for the new patient portal. Whoever thought of this, is pure genius. It allows you to communicate with your doctor without having to leave incessant messages, missed call backs, new phone calls, ad infinitum. I was surprised that the very next day after the visit, I saw in my e-mail box a note from the doctor. I figured it was a "welcome to the patient portal" kind of message. I was dead wrong. Some of the lab results were already in and she wanted me to know that I was now "pre-diabetic". She was very blunt. My head started to spin, "How can this be?" Two years prior, my blood work results were so incredibly pristine, I wanted to frame them. I started to reexamine what lead to this moment. I've kept off a substantial weight loss of 35 pounds over the last four years. Yes, I had gotten down to 46.6 pounds gone, but that couple I just mentioned to you that want to get it on again, they are fierce competitors for my general good health and well being and they do not tolerate well anyone wanting to come between them in their love life. [They are not married yet, so help me, so there is hope.]

I started to look back at the motivators that kept me going on an even keel for so long: One was my old health insurance. My policy gave me back $200 every six months if I went to the gym 50 times during that period. It's a sweet deal (and other insurance companies I have seen, carry the identical policy), because if you join a "Y" or another gym that is cheap, this deal then virtually pays for itself. Another thing back then that I did to keep me going was to mix up the exercise, and with an SP buddy, we created together a challenge to virtually walk from one end of Cape Cod to the other -- close to 80 miles, by Thanksgiving. We finished that endeavor, and almost right on schedule. So what changed since then? My insurance policy changed and I am no longer offered a monetary incentive for my good work at the gym; my SP buddy and I finished that challenge, and I began another, but alone, that I have not been tracking as closely as the original one. These are not excuses, just an honest answer to myself as to why I am not working optimally on my weight loss progress as, of course, I should.

As a health professional I know the consequences of diabetes. I do not want to get there under any circumstances. What immediately popped into my mind was a young patient I had some years ago who was hospitalized for its consequences [WARNING: What follows is going to be graphic, but I feel necessary for the purposes of my writing all this. If you've come this far in the reading, congratulations, this blog is long. Feel free to stop reading now.]. He was about 25 years old at the time, and just flat out refused to acknowledge that he was diabetic. Even in the hospital environment, he would order fast food to be delivered. He was not heavy, and if I remember correctly, he was a Type 1 diabetic. The rules for the diet component, are the same for both types of diabetes. He refused to acknowledge that, and it was heartbreaking. He was in the hospital for an above-the-knee amputation of his leg. It just could not be salvaged, having suffered the ravages of the disease. He was refusing the above-the-knee surgery which was required, wanting to save the knee so he could have a better prosthesis for walking. It was too late. And here was the heartbreak in the story: He only gave permission for a below-the-knee amputation. When the surgeons went in, they saw, as they knew they would, that it was too gangrenous to be stopped at below the knee, but because of his limited consent, they were forced to respect his wishes. So they closed and concluded the surgery for the time being (hopefully). We, the medical staff, were then left with the task to convince him to go back to the OR and proceed with what was necessary to save his life. He only acquiesced, but literally allowed a slow progressive remodeling. He was still refusing what he needed, and only allowed piecemeal surgery in multiple steps, while still consuming the takeout food that was literally like putting a gun in his mouth. It just broke my heart. And his family was so incredibly unsupportive of this young man.

So now here I am, literally fighting for my life. With my hemoglobin A1C of 5.2% two years ago, to the current value of 6.3%, which is clearly in the pre-diabetic range (6 to 6.4% is pre-diabetic) I am in serious trouble here. The doctor's note was terse and there was no mincing with the words (and I do appreciate that, it was necessary to be said just that way): Any value over 6.4% is clearly diabetic.

So, I have three months before the recheck of the HbAIC. I've given myself until October 9th (the time around which I need to reschedule the doctor's visit -- and she does not want me to just schedule the lab work, she wants to see me as well) to lose 20 pounds, a realistic goal. I'm going to watch my diet very closely, and this time around I just cannot afford to give myself any treats (so long ice cream, goodbye gooey cakes, you will be missed). I really would like to keep all my attached parts, those that were given to me at birth, and those that I want to keep until the end.

That brings me to you folks: I'm reaching out for support to keep me on track for the next 80 days to ensure that I reach my October 9th deadline with a 20-pound loss. I want to lose the pre-diabetic "Scarlet Letter". I will post my progress, one way or the other.

What's your wakeup call?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCOH051610 8/7/2012 12:32PM

    Fantastic blog! Good luck with your challenge to lose the weight....I think everytime you get down you should re-read what you wrote here!

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CROWDGOESWILD 7/23/2012 3:19PM

    So: how can we help? Do you need some new walking partners? I bet that you can find a few supportive friends right here, right now.


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SOUTHPONDCAMP 7/23/2012 9:30AM I know it isn't that easy....but you've totally got this. Really. You do. You have the tools and the just have to keep it together. The devil is always in the details. More exercise, less crappy carbs, good will come together. Take some measurements to add to the BP and A1c.....I've been working my azz off (literally) the last month and am not seeing much on the scale but all my clothes are looser...I wish I had some accurate before numbers!

I'm watching you ((laughing, picture two fingers...pointing me and then at the computer screen (you!)....) so keep at it....and keep talking to all of us for encouragement! :)

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SCOOTERGIRLOZ 7/23/2012 9:05AM

    Will be looking forward to your blogs as you achieve the 20lbs loss!


Scootergirl in Oz

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LISALGB 7/22/2012 9:59AM

    I am here "cheering" for you!! I know you can do this - 20 pounds is a do-able goal!
Thank you for sharing your story - it is a scary thing to face diabetes. Diabetes runs in my family and it is a fear of mine that I might one day have it.
Personally, I like a doctor who doesn't mince words. Just let me have it in plain language.
I am here for you - with thoughts, prayers, cheers and all the support you need.

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BESSHAILE 7/22/2012 6:53AM

    Well, sweetie - here's what did the trick for me -

It's not that I might die
It's that I might LIVE - in a diaper - in a wheel chair - drooling into my bib.

THAT's the alternative I don't want.

You can do this. Make it a streak.

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STRIVER57 7/22/2012 5:54AM

    i think you can do that! if you think you benefit from the gym, isn't it worth your money ? (even though i agree the insurance company should pay).

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KANSASROSE67 7/21/2012 9:50PM

    Please know that you CAN do this! You know the results if you don't, you know what to do, and you have a track record of success. We are all here for you.


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BUTEAFULL 7/21/2012 1:28PM

    okay let's get serious...go through your pantry, fridge, freezer...get rid of everything you KNOW is not good and nutritious. Give it all away to a womens shelter, friend, family member, homeless person, neighbor but get that poison out of your vacinity ASAP...seriously

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1CRAZYDOG 7/21/2012 11:42AM

    Oh honey, been in your shoes for sure. @ 4 ft. 10-1/2 in. and 192 lbs. (I still can't believe that) I was clearly morbidly obese, and I also clearly understood the ramifications of the protests my body was making. Initially it was hypertension. OMG, I was only 56 yrs. old! but that wasn't enough of a wake up call for me. Nope. Had to wait till my A1C was 13 and my blood sugar was 330 then a panicked call from my Dr. to get in there the next morning (which I did). Of course, that was NOT pre-diabetes . . . that was full on t ype 2 diabetes. Ok, THAT got my attention for sure, for just the very reasons this has YOUR attention -- the consequences of not taking care of it.

It is so difficult to make lifestyle changes and you're so right. After doing the job of losing weight, there is that awful tendency to become complacent. BUT when those days happen, I look back in my journal @ where I was when I started. NOT pretty and NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER want to go back there again.

So . . . myd ear friend, what is your plan? Ar eyou going to start on Metformin or anything like that? Initially I was on ActosplusMet to get things under control. Of course, that was in connection with adequate exercise and proper nutrition. Within 3 mths. my A1C was down to 6.5 and went lower as time went on. Two yrs. later my A1C (as of Jan. 2012) was down to 4.9. Lots of blood, sweat and tears. But you have to get serious, and I know you know that.

Wishing you all the best and whatever I can do, if there's anything, to help let me know. I'm here for you.

bTW, if you haven't given it a read, try Dr. Mark Hyman's THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION.

One thing I didn't know was how connected Vit. D3 it to hormone regulation/production. Mine was in the basement. After therapy (10,000 units/week, then tapered x 4 mths.) my level was good, and I FELT BETTER.

Hugs and hang in there.

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KARL1266 7/21/2012 11:28AM

    That is some scary stuff there. I, too, am what the doctors call "morbidly obese" and have been offered an overnight sleep study. I've refused before (family at home or any other kind of excuses) but your blog woke something up. I have been VERY tired at work lately. Maybe it's time for that study.

20 pounds in 80 days seems like a very attainable goal. If you need anything just holler. I can support you any way I can or even kick you in the (virtual) butt if need be. It's the least I can do for all the help and support you given me over the last 10 months or so.

I agree also with your comment that this time the doctor was right in not mincing words or softening the blow by praising past weight loss. Between the two of you, you have identified (most of) the problem areas. Now is not the time to rest on your laurels. Kudos for recognizing that and taking the corrective measures to ensure your success.

Good luck and I'm here if you need anything (as we all are)


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NUMD97 7/21/2012 10:48AM

    You're mistaken, Bren. She has over the years commented on the weight loss and the improvements in my numbers. But apparently in the past two years, the numbers have taken a decidedly wrong turn in a "southerly direction", and she needed to not mince nor couch the words any. Pre-diabetic is serious stuff. My brother-in-law "graduated" from pre-diabetes to the full blown diabetic status. The difference, I believe, is that in my case, mine most likely has a stronger relationship with obesity and therefore something more in my control than his situation. And if that is true, there really aren't any more excuses, are there?

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VICTORY2XS 7/21/2012 10:47AM

    Thank you for your in-depth blog. It really set the stage for your need to lose 20 pounds. I really like that you took the time to explain your situation.

I am "morbidly obese" and that scares me.

I'm with you on your realistic goal of losing 20 pounds by Oct. 9th. We can do this hand in hand if you wish!

However, I do not call it losing weight. I consider it GETTING RID of weight. I am not losing it, as it is not something I wish to find later. If you lose something, you end up looking for it at some time or another. Nope, not me, I most definitely am getting rid of it. I have no intention of finding it again!

I have to lose 60 pounds total or I face a very scary, intricate operation on my lower back which involves the placement of two rods on either side of my spine. I do not want that operation.

I also have an appointment the last week of October. If I can show him progress, I hope the operation will not be necessary. Of course, I will still have the other 40 pounds to lose, but 20 by October would be great.

So consider me your partner on this journey. We can keep in touch daily if you chose, and encourage and motivate each other, and sometimes give each other that kick-in-the-butt that we each may need sometime!

Best of luck and keep in touch. You have my support.


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JITZUROE 7/21/2012 10:42AM

    Count me in to be one of your resources to get you to your goal! Of cour I am not the best Sparker with my ridiculous health drama, but I do want to help, however I can.

I'm kind of perturbed at this doctor. Not that I expect doctors to give you stickers and daisies, BUT I sincerely would think tha this doctor would give you props for your big life changes, the goals you have met thus far, and your drive to keep going going going. Ok, that was maybe a bit too much to ask, I agree I still stand by my stance that the doctor should have recognized your loss so far. Sheesh!

I'm sure you already have some goals set, so let us know what the are so we can cheer you on!


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TEDDYTEDDY 7/21/2012 10:19AM

    I need another wake-up call or something to provide motivation. Perhaps if I just sit down with pen and paper and make a list of pros and cons of losing weight I could finally get to my goal weight.

I, too, have a CPAP machine and dragged myself around tired all the time for about 15 years before finally having the overnight sleep study. I could feel a big change with the machine (it's almost 2 years now) but the extra weight I have been carrying around will make my 2 knee replacements (2 years ago and 3 years ago) wear out sooner than the estimated 20 years for a normal weight. I really don't want to go through knee replacements again as that was a traumatic experience. I have been lucky to have normal blood sugars and excellent cholestrol levels but I seem to find plenty of excuses when it comes to exercising (I need to start a daily walking program). At this moment, there is a rainstorm going on outside (excuse for not walking this morning) but I do have a treadmill about 20 feet from where I am sitting in front of this what's the excuse?

I hope you are able to lose those 20 lbs by October and I know it is possible as I once lost 50 lb in 5 months through a supervised diet I was on. I may have to get assistance from my doctor or some weight program as the past 3 years I have not done well losing weight on my own (of course, that was before SparkPeople).
There is so much help available here on SparkPeople!!!


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What The Heck Is A Serving Size Of Fruit Or Vegetable Anyway? - July 13, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's amazing however long that we're on this journey, there is still something new to learn. And often enough, that changes over the years as even nutritionists and the FDA contemplate what is really in our best interests.

So, today's conundrum for me was lunch. I wanted to have a bunch of baby carrots with my grilled eggplant, but had no idea what a serving size of the carrots is. The packaged stuff is now easy, thanks to the work of Dr. Fred Kessler during his tenure with the FDA requiring foodstuffs to include caloric content. That alone was worth his weight in gold, and in my opinion one of his greatest accomplishments while in office. It simplified calorie counting beyond measure.

Looking for help, I went to the net in search of an answer, in my latest quest to get even healthier, and I found something that, perhaps, others may find useful:

Happy eating!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PARKERB2 7/16/2012 10:02AM

    I do a cup usually and 4 to 5 servings, so I figure I get enough. Thanks for the info.

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NUMD97 7/15/2012 8:41AM

    Thanks, Maritimer3, for stopping by. I would have put this on your own SP page, but it's marked "private".

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GAYLLYNNE 7/14/2012 9:22AM

    Good Info! I never bother with servings when it comes to fruits and veggies. As long as I eat lots of them and less of "bad" stuff, it's all good!!

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LISALGB 7/13/2012 7:35PM

    You always come up with the most interesting and helpful blog posts!! Thank you for sharing your info!!
I hope you have a great weekend!!

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BUTEAFULL 7/13/2012 6:38PM

    thanks for the link it's very helpful

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SWTHNY- 7/13/2012 6:14PM

    thank you

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1CRAZYDOG 7/13/2012 6:02PM

    Thank you for this information!

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MARITIMER3 7/13/2012 4:36PM

    Thanks for the good information. I agree with Kathrynlp about limiting the starchy vegetables (corn, peas are two main ones) to one serving a day. I believe the Canadian Cancer Society recommends 5-9 servings of fruit and/or vegetables/day.

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KATHRYNLP 7/13/2012 4:14PM

    Thanks for the nutrition site. Lots of good information there. I try to limit all the starchy veggies to one serving a day, and load up on the others. You're right, Dr. Kessler made our lives a lot easier. emoticon emoticon emoticonKathryn

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KANSASROSE67 7/13/2012 2:32PM

    Appreciate the info. I always get five servings a day, but NINE? That's tough for me.

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ECOAGE 7/13/2012 2:29PM


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Live With Intention - July 4,2012

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Today, I borrow -- this being a rest day, I need my brain for other pursuits and know that you all will forgive the transgression.

This was too good not to quote, and the author is Mary Anne Radmacher:

" Live with intention

Walk to the edge

Listen hard

Practice well

Play with abandon


Choose with no regret

Continue to learn

Appreciate your friends

Do what you love

Live as if this is all there is "

- mary anne radmacher

Now tell me that did not resonate with you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 7/14/2012 1:06PM

    I stopped by to thank you for your thoughtful comments on my "don't leave early" blog and I am happy to find this blog. I see by your status you are off to the library to "get smarter" - given the level of your current "smartness" that is a lofty goal, indeed.....You are a wise one. emoticon

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LISALGB 7/6/2012 11:58PM

    Such wise advice - for all of us!! Thank you for sharing.

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PHEBESS 7/5/2012 1:25PM


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BESEVEN 7/4/2012 11:57PM


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1CRAZYDOG 7/4/2012 10:21PM

    Awesome words to live by!

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KATHRYNLP 7/4/2012 1:30PM

    Words to contemplate and pass on. Thanks for this... emoticon

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BUTEAFULL 7/4/2012 12:41PM


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Sweetest Graduation Gift Ever - June 28, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

OK, it appears it was too long for the feed, but this is really a "must read". Get the tissues ready.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Love it! Thanks for sharing.......

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1CRAZYDOG 6/28/2012 11:02PM

    Oh . . . my . . . gosh. What a beautiful story, what a beautiful way to give your child the most precious gift possible . . . memories! This is absolutely awesome.

I have saved all my kids' report cards too. I am going to give my son his when he gets home from his Army graduation next week. Wonderful!!

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X5X52000 6/28/2012 6:45PM


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KATHRYNLP 6/28/2012 5:29PM

    OH what a long sighted Dad he was... and what an amazing surprised, to received something so personal and inspiring as that book filled with loving remarks from your teachers all through the years. Thanks Nu, for sharing this heart warming story! I saved all my girls report cards and art work from Kindergarten and up, which they received from me a few years ago. They didn't realise I had saved all that stuff and hid it in my Hope Chest, all these years. My teenage Grandies got a kick out of seeing Mom and Aunties' work too! I still have their "growth chart" on my wall, but not ready to give that up yet. emoticon emoticonKathryn

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How Fat Exactly Are You? - June 21, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Since starting this journey, learning exactly how much body weight I have stored as fat, has become an important aspect of my better health plan, to better understand exactly where I am, health-wise. Call it the scientist in me, I need to see concrete evidence in numbers of the damage I have done, and another way to mark my progress. I have read about scales that offer this element as part of a simple weigh-in, but when I actually bought one, it didn't work and I sent it back from whence it came.

Just now I came across something that is simple, versatile and best of all, FREE. The YMCA formula claims to be within 1-3% of accuracy, and for my purposes, that's close enough. I'm not ready to spend thousands of dollars on something that will only give me a small difference in percentage points for the sake of better accuracy. [Did I already say that the YMCA formula is free?]

Check this out and tell me you don't agree:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NUMD97 7/24/2012 11:15AM

    Doctors' judgments ALWAYS override simple online calculators. PLEASE, folks, remember that. This blog was meant to entertain and stimulate conversation. It was never meant to replace clinical judgment on the part of the medical community.

Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).

End of public service announcement.


Comment edited on: 7/24/2012 11:18:04 AM

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GINGERMACC 7/23/2012 3:27PM

    Ok, so I used the calculator on the link and the result was "Obese". I am now very confused because I had a doctor appointment in April and she was not concerned with my weight. Any thoughts on that? Thanks!

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NUMD97 7/23/2012 11:06AM

    I subscribe to various medical links online, when I want a fast up-to-date review. This crossed my desk today about waist circumference, BMI and risk stratification that I thought might be of interest for our discussion (apparently still ongoing):


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NUMD97 7/15/2012 9:01AM

    OK, it appears that the "jury is still out" as far as using waist circumference exclusively as a predictor of obesity. As I originally said, it's just one more tool in the armamentarium in our fight to slay the obesity monster.

Here's another interesting link from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition addressing just that issue:

And, of course, the conundrum of BMI alone on fit people that does not take into account muscle mass, but I found this discussion interesting as well on a blog called (of all things), "Obesity Panacea" emoticon put out by a clinical exercise physiologist and a doctoral student researching the relationship between sedentary time and chronic disease risk in children and youth:

[I hope I'm not being too obtuse here.]

Comment edited on: 7/15/2012 9:20:16 AM

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NUMD97 6/29/2012 7:05AM

    I agree with what you are saying, Catherine, that a 35-inch waist will not conform to the same body fat percentage on *all* body types, but it does seem to be the least common denominator in saying that on no one (or at least close to that), is a 35-inch waist going to be healthy. I think that was all the article was trying to bring out about that point.

Thanks for your input.

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BUTEAFULL 6/28/2012 2:34PM

    according to this calculation/site I'm in the okay range, so I'll take it

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 6/27/2012 7:21PM

    Yes, greater than 35 is a problem. BUT having a waist that is less than 10 inches smaller than the hips (the classic proportion for an hour glass figure), does not make you fatter than that person with the hour glass figure. So a 28 inch waist (for example) could mean extra fat on one person and not on another.

If all you are doing is trying to determine if your weight is healthy, go with the 35 inch waist, but don't assume that it necessarily correlates to the same body fat % on all body types.

I'm probably not being clear here, but setting boundary above which most people are over fat and using waist size to calculate body fat % (where you don't know the person's proportions) are apples and oranges.

Comment edited on: 6/27/2012 7:25:00 PM

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NUMD97 6/27/2012 6:05PM

    "Wide waists" for a woman does not seem like merely a "normal size" issue, especially if the circumference is greater than 35 inches. This assumes one is measuring accurately.

I delved further [The following is taken from The National Heart Lung And Blood Institute (seems to be a division of the National Institute of Health]:

"Waist Circumference

Measuring waist circumference helps screen for possible health risks that come with overweight and obesity. If most of your fat is around your waist rather than at your hips, you're at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This risk goes up with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men. To correctly measure your waist, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones. Measure your waist just after you breathe out."

Comment edited on: 1/8/2013 10:59:31 PM

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IFDEEVARUNS2 6/24/2012 7:30PM

    seems simplistic. Some of us just have wide waists.

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 6/24/2012 7:13PM

    It gives me exactly the same % as my Tanita Body Fat scale.

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ILIKETOZUMBA 6/23/2012 8:58AM

    I must need a professional to measure me. It's telling me I'm "acceptable" but close to obese, and that's definitely not true. I'm experiencing amenorrhea, and my doctor just told me I need to GAIN weight because I don't have enough body fat. Interesting to try that formula anyway, though. Thanks for the link!

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VHALKYRIE 6/22/2012 2:21PM

    I think having it measured so you have a start point is a good idea, and a motivator. I use a handheld bodyfat monitor, and while not super accurate, it gives me data that is good enough to spot trends. However, honestly, I think using a camera, mirror and taking pictures is probably the best low tech method around. It's very motivating, and you can see changes that you won't see with numbers alone.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/22/2012 1:53PM

    It's a conundrum.

On one hand, it's really body fat we're trying to drop.

Yet on the other hand MEASURING or even accurately ESTIMATING body fat can be hard.

Despite that I still think it's worth trying to estimate and track changes in it.

I've written two of my own blog posts about the subject...

About measuring and estimating % body fat

About trying to track changes in body composition

Some people use photos:

And some people just use a measuring tape.

In my case I suspect the formula overestimated my % body fat by quite a bit (28%). At this size and weight and similar physical condition DEXA put me at 19% in January 2010. (I'm wearing the same clothes as I did when that measurement was taken.) FWIW my average BIA number at the moment is 19.34.

The only explanation I have is that because I'm a kayaker I have an unusually developed core which means I might have muscles around my waist that they didn't anticipate.

Comment edited on: 6/22/2012 2:01:23 PM

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WATERMELLEN 6/22/2012 8:40AM

    Hmmm. If I put in my old weight of 230 pounds and my old waist measurement of 36" I score "fit".

I'm wondering about that . . .

At 142 pounds and 28" I'm "athletic" . . . that feels more accurate.

(Tripped across this blog from mutual friend PHEBESS's page: thanks for the link!)

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ELIZABETH-H 6/22/2012 5:28AM

    How useful, thank you

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OOLALA53 6/21/2012 7:33PM

    Personally, I think the emphasis on bodyfat can be as misleading as BMI, though for MOST people BMI is relatively accurate (excluding bodybuilders, as noted above, the very tall and the very short). It's a world wide measurement. Too many weight loss advocates aim at bodyfat that is too low, IMHO. In many countries where health is good, women are at 25% bodyfat which is high by our standards and not considered "fit".

Also, I don't know if I used this incorrectly but it underestimated my bodyfat. I have had underwater weighing and the new gold standard, DEXA, plus calipers done at various times in my life. I know what my weight was and how certain clothes fit and I know my bodyfat is at least 5% higher than this measure showed. But maybe I used it incorrectly? It didn't even ask my height! I think if I were several inches taller I could still have the same waist measurement and have much lower bodyfat.

I gave up on this weight and that bodyfat and committed to moderate eating over two years ago. Weight loss was not my first goal, but I I reached the high end of my BMI range a few months ago and am holding steady. I've definitely been thinner but lived in fear of food and eating situations and had to ice my knees almost every day. I'm much happier now!

But, as you say, this is acceptable. Besides, waist measurement is a better indicator for health purposes anyway.

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1CRAZYDOG 6/21/2012 6:16PM

    I found this helpful. Thank you!

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PHEBESS 6/21/2012 2:04PM

    Interesting - thank you for sharing.

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NUMD97 6/21/2012 1:56PM

    Thanks for stopping by, LILY_SPARK. Perhaps you'll come back and see this, as I can't leave a note on your page since it's marked private.

Thanks for your input. So that's one for the "no" column.

This is going to be interesting to see how this plays out.

All the best,


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LILY_SPARK 6/21/2012 1:53PM

    It's great that it's free but I've found the YMCA calculations run VERY low.

These are free, too, but you do have to have a smartphone:

If you have access to iPhone (don't know if droid has these apps), I run my measurements through FOUR calculators. I take the highest THREE, add and find the median. If I use all 4, it comes out lower. I don't want a false--"good." I want the truth.

I use these apps:



It takes a lot of measurements and a little maths to get accurate data but I'M WORTH IT. LIFE is WORTH it. You're worth it!

Comment edited on: 6/21/2012 1:54:42 PM

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KANSASROSE67 6/21/2012 11:56AM

    Thanks for sharing this! It made me wonder if my goal for weight loss has been set too low. According to BMI, I need to lose another 5-8 pounds to reach the upper middle of my normal range. According to the YMCA body fat tool, I'm at 19% body fat and in the "athletic" category!

Food for thought!!

PS. Just thinking about this some more, I imagine the reason I got such a low reading is because I have a small waist. So those of us who don't carrry our weight around our middles are going to have lower numbers.

Comment edited on: 6/21/2012 2:07:57 PM

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LISALGB 6/21/2012 11:06AM

    Oh, my!! I have a lot of work to do!! This is a very helpful tool. I had never really calculated the numbers before, it's a real eye opener as to where I am and where I need to be.
Thanks so much for posting this.

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CASEYTALK 6/21/2012 10:49AM

    I have a scale that claims to calculate percent body fat. It fluctuates by 4-5% from day to day and even though I've lost 50 pounds I appear to have lost only about 3% of body fat. If 50 pounds is 3% of my body (let alone body fat), I must have weighed 1,650 pounds! Needless to say, I have no faith in that number and don't pay attention to it.


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EGALITAIRE 6/21/2012 10:05AM

    Hmmmm - this formula shows at 24% body fat while the electronic calculator has me at 27.8%, so I guess that is close to +/-3% difference.

BMI is not a measure of body fat. In fact it is a quite imprecise measure as it doesn't take into account body composition (ie. % body fat). By BMI measures I was obese when I was a body builder at age 21 and had 10% body fat. If you are ST at all, % body fat is a much better representation of healthfulness.

Thanks for posting this, I also like data and will continue to check it against the fancy tools.

Stay Strong

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ALPHASENIOR 6/21/2012 9:43AM

    Thank you. I don't like being called obese, but it is what it is. Maybe more motivation.

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EMFRAPPIER 6/21/2012 8:40AM

    Thanks for posting this!!

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ROCKINMOM776 6/21/2012 8:35AM

    Awesome, thanks!

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NUMD97 6/21/2012 8:13AM

    Thanks for confirming that the freebie the YMCA provides matches your electronic gizmo, TAMPATINK67. That's exactly the kind of result I was hoping for!

Comment edited on: 6/21/2012 8:19:48 AM

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TAMPATINK67 6/21/2012 8:02AM

    Interesting... It matches my expensive electric tool! That's pretty cool!!!

Crazy thing is, it lists my category as "acceptable"... Not obese! I won't be out of the obese BMI category for another 10 lbs - but looking at percent body fat is another great metric and something I regularly track.

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NUMD97 6/21/2012 7:38AM

    Interesting question was asked: This is not the same as BMI calculations. According to what I just found on the web, this purportedly is a better index of internal fat than the BMI.

See the link below for more information about the study comparing BMI and waist circumference:

Comment edited on: 6/21/2012 7:39:02 AM

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CLRWILLIAMS25 6/21/2012 7:35AM

    Thanks for the calculator- definitely a great way to measure progress!

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KARL1266 6/21/2012 6:45AM

    Is this the same as BMI? If so, this will be a great tool to backup (or dispel) my scale as it gives me my BMI as well as weight. Thanks!

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BOSS61 6/21/2012 5:37AM

    Way cool and thanks!

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