Thursday, January 24, 2013
This made my 5'10" self feel a little bit better:
Mathematicians found the formula used to calculate body mass index (BMI) has made tall people more overweight and those vertically challenged not fat enough.
They argued it did not take into account a person’s weight tends to grow with their height, giving taller people more room to bulge.
Consequently Prof Nick Trefethen, a leading mathematician, has devised a new formula after finding the current BMI divided weight by too large a number for short people and by too small a number for tall people.
“The NHS relies on the BMI pervasively in all of its public discussions of obesity,” he said.
“We deserve an explanation of what justification they have for using this formula.
“BMI divides the weight by too large a number for short people and too small a number for tall people.”
He added: “So short people are misled into thinking that they are thinner than they are, and tall people are misled into thinking they are fatter.”
The BMI formula is used by doctors to work out if someone is overweight or obese and so at risk of problems from high blood pressure to heart disease.
It is traditionally calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared with the aim of giving a measure of an individual's body fat.
But this assumes people scale up according to a model of growth, in which they get taller more quickly than they bulk out.
A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is normal, less than 18.5 is seen as underweight while 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. A mark of 30 or above means a person is obese.
Prof Trefethen started investigating the problem after realising conventional BMI calculation methods failed to take into account that taller people tended to be bulkier than those who were smaller in height.
He found short people were misled into thinking that they are thinner than they are and tall people are misled into thinking they are fatter.
For those who are 150cm tall [five feet], the new formula would add a whole BMI point, enough to topple people lurking on the borders of the "normal" weight into "overweight" territory and a similar number would become "obese".
Those of 180cm or above (six feet), lose a BMI point. Only those of average height (170cm) will remain the same BMI.
The mathematical formula was devised by the Belgian scientist Adolphe Quetelet in the 1830s. But the professor insisted his formula was far from simply an academic exercise.
“BMI is only one of many factors and inevitably not everyone will fit the standard pattern,” he said.
“We know that BMI is a good indicator of population level trends, but not always a good indicator at an individual level."
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
THOSE 5 pounds…
You all know what I’m talking about. There comes a point where you are just within 5 pounds of a goal. It may not be your final goal weight, but its something like being in onederland, or finally making it into the 170s (like it is for me). Then you reach a point where you never think you’re going to lose those five pounds. You may have lost a lost of pounds before… heck I’ve lost around 100… but these same five pounds refuse to leave my butt.
I lost them briefly… for less than a week. One time that I stepped on the scale it read 178. Then I gained it back up to 183, and I’ve been hovering there ever since.
Then the unthinkable happened. I gained another five pounds. It was the holidays. I felt like crap from my surgery. I felt like crap from being around certain members of my family. And I ate like crap. Now THOSE five pounds pissed me off.
I don’t know what it was about those new five pounds that put me ten pounds away from my mini-goal… but those new five pounds almost derailed me. I think if the scale would have read 190 instead of 189 I might have had a fit. Luckily, no major fit, just a realization that I needed to re-focus. Now with those new holiday five pounds I felt awful. Partly this was due to my extreme restriction on movement for two weeks. I’m better now, but I still have quite a few restrictions. But I somehow managed to get rid of those five pounds.
It took three weeks for me to do it, through mainly diet alone. I had a salt detox, a semi-sugar detox, and I increased my protein A LOT. At 189 I felt like I had gained twenty pounds instead of five. I know this happens a lot on this site, but we become so hyper critical of our bodies, and we all know what a pound of fat looks like, so we can basically picture on our bodies exactly where those new five pounds went. I know I felt like it went directly over my ribcage, into my arms as I lost all my muscle definition, and in my belly.
I would like to say that I am silly. Its okay, but there comes a point where you even realize that you are freaking out about five pounds. Five pounds. That’s it. I was five pounds heavier than I spent the majority of 2012, and I was going to let five pounds make me feel like crap?
So I decided to avoid the scale until the end of January. (I didn’t, but I made it three weeks!) Instead of focusing on my number I focused on myself. I know I didn’t do perfect. I know some of my weight loss was water bloat and muscle weight… but now I’m back in the 183-184 range and I am fine. Now I feel a lot better. I’m not saying losing the five pounds is what made me feel better. It’s the healthy eating and drinking water that made me feel better. It does help my ego though that I feel less puffy overall. No one but me would have noticed the extra five pounds. My jeans noticed, but that gave me a measure to see how I was doing, non-scale wise.
SO now I’m back to losing THOSE five pounds. Those five pounds will get me in the 170s. Then if I manage to get to the 170s, I’m just ten pounds away from my goal weight of 170. I plan to get there this year. My body has plateaued enough, that its used to this weight. I’ve been maintaining my weight for a good period of time, so hopefully once I kick back up my exercise routine I will make it to my goal weight.
So don’t let THOSE five pounds get you down. If you keep going, then you will not only lose THOSE five pounds…. But another five pounds… and another five pounds… until you reach your goal weight. Stick with it ;-)
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I friend of mine posted this article on facebook this morning.
Why are women so obsessed about getting thin and skinny and not fit?
Why don't women eat more protein?
Why don't women want to weight lift?
Reason: we don't want to be bulky and manly.
Screw that. I want muscles!
Read it at: www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2
Can you whisk eggs without your arms aching, or push a car that’s broken down?
Your grandmother might have been able to do this, but chances are you can’t.
For new evidence suggests humans are getting weaker — today’s generation simply don’t have the same muscle power as their parents.
And it’s women who are affected most.
‘In Western countries such as the UK, U.S. and Canada, muscular strength has hit a plateau and muscular endurance — the ability to repeatedly exert force, such as doing sit-ups — has declined by 8 to 10 per cent since the Eighties,’ says Dr Grant Tomkinson, senior lecturer in health sciences at the University of South Australia, a leading researcher on trends in fitness over time.
It seems our average muscle power peaked in 1985 — since then we’ve increased in weight, but our muscles have got weaker and weaker, especially among women.
‘I’m seeing a massive epidemic of weak women who have no muscle strength,’ says London-based physiotherapist Sammy Margo.
‘There are skinny women who have no muscles supporting their spine, and overweight ladies who don’t have any muscles under the fat.’
Women’s lack of muscle has serious implications for their health.
Experts say poor muscle strength is to blame for a host of health problems such as osteoporosis and fractures, arthritis and back pain.
So why are women so weedy — and what should they do about it?
GIRLS WANT TO BE THIN, NOT STRONG
It takes only a cursory comparison of the covers of men’s and women’s magazines to understand the differences in what motivates men and women to exercise.
While men strive to get ‘the ultimate six pack’ and ‘more body bulk now’, women’s objectives tend to be negative — to lose fat and burn calories rather than gain strength.
Ken Fox, professor of exercise and health sciences at the University of Bristol, says: ‘The majority of young females want to look thin.
'They don’t eat much, they don’t exercise much, and because of that they have weak musculatures — it’s really not a healthy way to be.’
A survey by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation found 40 per cent of women said feeling better about their appearance was the main factor that motivated them to exercise; in another, a third of women said they felt more pressure to be thin than healthy.
SCHWARZENEGGER BODY MYTH
Girls and women often avoid muscle-building exercise such as weightlifting or press-ups because they’re afraid of becoming too muscular and bulky.
Even the golden girl of the London Olympics, Jessica Ennis, has admitted she had at first been concerned about weight training because she ‘didn’t want to be all muscly’.
But many experts say it’s actually difficult for women to ‘bulk up’ because of their hormones.
This resistance exercise, as it is known, triggers muscle growth by causing small amounts of trauma to the muscles — the body repairs the damage by adding protein strands to the muscle to increase its strength and size.
Testosterone is the hormone that triggers this process and men naturally have higher levels of it than women, meaning it’s much harder for women to develop big muscles, explains Professor Fox.
‘They can get toned but looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t an issue,’ he says.
Women also can’t lose as much fat — men can conceivably get down to 4 per cent body fat while women typically cannot get lower than 10 per cent.
Women evolved this way because they need more fat to bear children.
THE PROBLEMS START AT SCHOOL
Today’s children are set up for a life of puniness from an early age, thanks partly to our increasingly indoor lifestyles.
Dr Gavin Sandercock, a lecturer in sports science at Essex University, tested the strength of 315 Essex ten-year-olds in 2008 and compared the results from children of the same age in 1998.
Today’s children managed only around two thirds of the sit-ups of the previous generation; arm strength had fallen by 26 per cent and grip by 7 per cent.
Dr Sandercock says he was especially concerned by the children’s poor performance at sit-ups, because ‘your ability to do sit-ups has been shown to be an indicator of back pain in later life’.
Meanwhile, in a study by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation of 1,500 schoolchildren, half the 14-year-old girls surveyed said getting sweaty was ‘not feminine’, and a third of boys said girls who are sporty are not feminine.
It probably doesn’t help that teachers don’t have the right specialist PE training, which is leaving younger generations ‘physically illiterate’, as Susan Campbell, the head of UK Sport said last week.
She claimed this lack of training means thousands of children start secondary school unable to run, jump, throw a ball or catch.
Women’s disregard for muscles may be costing them dearly. Muscles are the ‘scaffolding’ that holds the body up, vital for protecting the joints and bones, and it’s essential to start building muscle in early life to avoid miserable repercussions.
Numerous studies have shown the strength of your muscles can be a key indicator of longevity.
Healthy muscles reduce the risk of falls in later life, says Professor Janet Lord, director of the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research.
‘Muscle allows you to control your movement,’ she says. ‘So if you do have a trip, you fall in a controlled way and there’s less chance you’ll fracture your wrist for example.’
A PAIN IN THE BACK
Strong muscles are also vital for preventing sore backs. Sammy Margo blames the endemic problem of back pain on weak tummy, or ‘core’ muscles.
It’s the stomach muscles that hold you up straight when sitting or standing.
But if these are weak, we tend to use the tiny muscles in the back, which leads to damage.
If you have poor tummy muscles, you tend to slump and overstretch the muscles, tendons, ligaments and discs in the back — setting up inflammation and, in the long term, chronic back pain,’ she explains.
‘It’s not just back pain but ankles, neck pain, shoulder pain, even knee pain.
'You can postpone or prevent the need for a knee replacement just by building up the surrounding muscle.’
WOMEN DON’T EAT ENOUGH PROTEIN
Healthy muscles rely on regular intake of protein — it is essential for the structure and functioning of muscle cells.
Catherine Collins, principal dietitian at St George’s Hospital, London, says recent health concerns over meat, and the growing popularity of extreme diets that exclude whole food groups, such as veganism, means more and more women may be missing out on protein.
‘The best sources are meat and dairy products,’ she says. ‘It’s essential we get about 60g a day — equivalent to an 8oz steak or 200g chicken breast.’
Being deficient in protein can have devastating effects, she adds.
‘If you’re not getting enough protein from food, your body cannibalises your own tissue. It starts by taking from your muscle bulk, but then it will use organs.’
BLAME LIFTS, CARS AND THE INTERNET
Our sedentary lifestyle has been blamed for expanding waistlines, but it is also causing our muscles to waste away, say experts.
The decline in manual labour means our jobs are now overwhelmingly office based, and even getting up to go to a meeting has been replaced by email.
‘It’s not just the fact that the average person sits for eight hours a day,’ says Sammy Margo.
‘We have remote controls so we don’t have to get up to change channels, and cars and internet shopping so we don’t have to walk to work or school or carry heavy shopping back home.’
There may be good news on the horizon, however, thanks largely to the stunning success of Britain’s female athletes at last summer’s London Olympics.
Lucy Wyndham Read, a personal trainer, has noticed a shift in women’s requests and aims.
‘Women are now asking for an athletic shape. They want to look feminine, but have definition and tone,’ she says.
Strong could be the new sexy — and it’s healthier, to boot.
THREE EASY WAYS TO FIGHT BACK
The simple habits that mean you can build muscles — without going to the gym...
1) Try ‘the String’ to build abdominal muscles, says physiotherapist Sammy Margo. ‘In the morning take a piece of string, suck your tummy muscles all the way in, release by 50 per cent and tie the string around your stomach. Keep it on throughout the day and try to keep the muscles engaged when you’re sitting, standing and walking. Within a week you should notice you’re already starting to engage the muscles automatically.
2) Get into the habit of always lifting yourself out of a chair without using your arms. ‘This keeps the thigh muscles nice and strong, protecting the knees,’ explains Margo.
3)Practise standing on one leg as long as you can. This works the muscles but also strengthens balance receptors in the legs. They provide information to our joints about our position and stop us falling over.
Monday, January 21, 2013
117 Days till graduation! (eep!)
I'm such a procrastinator that I needed to post that to myself, so that every day I can remember that there is a deadline and I need to work my butt off to get stuff done.
The last few days have been a bit odd. Friday I saw the plastic surgeon again. My wound is quote "shallower" so its improving. It doesn't hurt as bad all the time. The nerves have started to regrow in that arm now. My left arm feels fine, or maybe its just in comparison, but the right arm is going through little bits of electrocution when the nerves fire signals to the brain and reconnect. So in fact, I am electrocuting myself ;-) Oh, Science!
I decided to take part in an MLK day sale at Home Depot and went to pick out new carpet on Sunday... with my mom and sister. The two people who trigger emotions and bad eating. And I'd like to think I kept myself in check yesterday. I didn't do too badly, and I saved more than half of my lunch entree for lunch today. Its hard to spend money to make money, but the carpet in my house is the original builder grade carpet, and I'm just replacing it with newer builder grade carpet. No point in blowing $2000+ when $1200 will get the job done. Especially since my house is now appraising for less than I paid for it in 2007. Not by much, but by enough that all of my equity is lost after seller's fees and bank fees and the new sales tax on homes... So that's depressing to think of.
And also having to rent! I know I'm spoiled, but the hardworking equity builder in me would rather pay my $700 mortgage than $500 in rent. *sigh* The only bright spot in moving back to StL is that I will probably just move into an apartment with TJ somewhere. That may seem quick to most people, but I'm ready for it. That boy is just weird enough to click with me perfectly.
So that's the house news. I looked at my finances and decided to keep the roommate. Sans dog. Once I get new carpet, the dogs are gone. Mine included. They get to reside with my parents, and I'll probably just visit them on weekends. Especially if people are going to be looking at my house *and hopefully buying it. I've already started trying to declutter and have come to the conclusion that I own way too much crap. Seriously. I have a problem. So from now until I sell I'm slowly going through stuff and trying to decide if I really need it, donate it, or toss it. Then do I need it now? Or should I pack it? Its a lot to deal with. I tackled my bathroom and vanity this weekend, and made some decent progress.
I also tried to work out a bit. Still no cardio (dear god that would hurt!) but just some ST. No weight lifting either ;-) I feel like my arms got really flabby after surgery, but its really just the fact that I lost all of my muscle tone. Which I WILL get back once i get back into things. I did more core stuff until it felt like I had stretched my skin a bit too much. So baby steps. I just can't be inactive.
I swear this might be a blessing in disguise. There is no way to get someone to want to do something, than to tell them they can't do it. And my body is adjusting to this weight range, so hopefully once I really focus on limiting calories and working out at my old level, these stubborn last 20 pounds will disappear.
I feel better since I started doing my little workouts. The back pain is gone. I fell like I can see my ribs more (and yea, I see my ribs at 190 due to my frame and height -- I have no idea what 170 is going to look like), and I feel lighter than I did at the beginning of the month. I've switched up my food to try to avoid sugar. I had some dairy last week, and boy could I tell. That's officially verboten. I just need to stay away from cheesy food which the BF loves. He actually asked me to make him a cheesecake, 'cause I offered to make him anything he wanted. Can we say, bane of my existence!? Not only is it delicious, its made from three kinds of dairy which make me sick, and full of sugar. So I may want a piece, but I know how bad it is! So I'm not going to make it. I'll make something else instead. I tried to find a lower-calorie one, but none of them looked good.
As far as the thesis goes... its not much further along than last week, but I did manage to sort most of my data files and tried to make it easier to access. I need to e-mail my committee tomorrow to try to set up a date in early May. So *fingers crossed* no one throws a hissy fit when I ask to graduate... 'cause I already signed up!
This week I'm going to focus on eating the food I already have in my house to save money. I did my budget and it is sad! I'm actually checking the mail every day hoping my W2 is in there so I can file my taxes ASAP. I'm one of the people who does it the day I get the W2. Why wait? Mine aren't that hard to figure out since I still file a 1040EZ (my parents claim the tax credit on the house as an interest payment for my loan from them), so its not a hassle like it is for most people. I just would like to start paying down some of my debt. I jokingly told TJ I was like Lily from How I Met Your Mother (she had a shopping addiction and some credit card debt). He has no idea HOW true that is. But I'm working on it, and hopefully sharing the bills with someone and only paying half of the rent, coupled with a better paying job after grad school will help me get out of debt ASAP.
Oh god, job hunting. Haven't done that at all. I'm trying not to get too stressed out by everything I have to do in 117 days, and especially trying not to emotionally eat, but it is getting a little rough. I just need to stay focused and remember WHY I started on Spark, how healthy I want to be, and just know if I focus on my goals and don't beat myself up over the small details, I will keep going, I will graduate, I will find a job (time is the only factor here--when), and I will lose weight.
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