Thursday, October 09, 2008

Forget the BMI

Right from the day it was designed (In the early 1800's), the Body Mass Index has been limited.

It was supposed to be a way to calculate and ideal weight for your height..if you moved above or below the 'optimal' range you were considered to be 'less healthy'

However, its shortcomings are very apparent. It's a tough equation (Your weight in KG divided by your height in meters squared), it doesn't account for people with higher than average lean mass, and its ability to predict health is often disputed.

So if the BMI is confusing and doesn't really tell us what we want to know, what else can we use?

Here is a simple, simple equation - your waist circumference should be no more that half your height.

Simple, easy and effective.

So for me, at a generous 5 foot 11 or (71 inches) my waist should be no more than 71 divided by 2, or 35.5 inches.

The great thing about this equation is that it is inline with a lot of the aesthetics research that shows that a man's body is aesthetically pleasing when the waist circumference is just a little below 45% of height, and a woman's body becomes more aesthetically pleasing the closer her waist circumference gets to 40% of her height.

The best part about this equation is that there is no mention of an ideal weight, and there doesn't need to be.

Simply, you cannot be a 6 foot tall man with a 33 inch waist and have a dangerously high body fat level. The same goes for being a 5 foot 5 inch woman with a 28 inch waist.

So remember- as a rule of thumb, try to keep your waist circumference to less than half of your height.


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Mary said...

Hi Brad,
I have always been frustrated with BMI so thanks for this post. I just bought your book and am starting my first 24 hour fast after a lunch meeting today. I am super excited--I feel I have a good nutritional foundation and already weight train regularly, but have been stuck at the same plateau for over a year. I'd like to drop 10-15 pounds. If you have any thoughts or advice for the first official fast, I'd love to hear them. Thanks again!


Anonymous said...

I am working on my third fast. I feel great and have tons of energy on fasting days, but do get hungry and headachy. My question is somewhat similar to Mary's. I eat pretty good already and I work out. I do interval training videos (Jillian Michaels, Workout/Bravo, Biggest Loser). If I start out with a muffin top, spare tire, whatever you want to call it, and that's mostly where I carry my fat, will Eat Stop Eat help me lose that if I continue with my exercise and eating habits when not fasting? That's the area that most concerns me (or consumes my thoughts).

Anonymous said...

Is it okay to do 22 hours of fasting rather than 24? Is it still effective?

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS said...

great stuff Brad.

Brad Pilon said...

Hi Mary,

For your first fast just remember to drink fluids, and to keep busy.

Also, remember that fasts are just like any other are going to have good fasts, OK fasts and even bad fasts, you just need to role with it.


Brad Pilon said...

Hi Anon,

As long as you let Eat Stop Eat put you in a caloric deficit (ie..your not overeating in between your fasts) then you will lose weight.


Brad Pilon said...

Hi Anon II,

22 hours is miss out on 2 hours..but if this is the best you can do, its not a big deal.


Brad Pilon said...

Thanks Craig,


Wazzup said...

> rule of thumb, try to keep your waist circumference to less than half of your height.

That's the simplest I've heard it put ... very nice (and simple)