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How Do I Measure My Belly Fat and Why is It Important?
So how much belly fat is too much? How do you know if you’re in a danger zone and prone to the deadly diseases that belly fat can cause? Let’s take a look at why it’s important to measure belly fat and how to get the job done.
There are different tactics to measure fat. One of the most common is the BMI or Body Mass Index. It’s a comparison of your height and weight. You can find BMI calculators online. There’s a good one at the National Heart and Lung Institute – http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm
Unfortunately, this body fat measurement technique doesn’t take other factors into consideration. For example, a short bodybuilder would likely be considered obese because of their height to weight ratio. They may have 7% body fat but fit into the “obese” category. So there are limitations to using BMI as an indicator of your health risks as they relate to fat and body composition.
The Caliper is another tool to measure body fat. It’s essentially a tool that measures the folds of skin at your waistline. You essentially pinch the skin at your waist and use the tool to measure the thickness of that skinfold. You’ll then use the chart that came with the caliper to convert millimeters to body fat percentage.
For example, if you can pinch an inch then you’re carrying too much fat at the waist. The challenge with this type of system is that your body changes throughout the day. You may be able to pinch more at the end of the day than at the beginning. Additionally, it’s trickier to use a caliper than you might think. It takes experience and practice to use one accurately.
Tape Measure/Waist Circumference
The simplest and most accurate way to measure your waistline is with a good old fashioned tape measure. Here’s how to measure:
- Step One: Place a cloth tape measure around your bare stomach at the narrowest part of your stomach (your waistline).
- Step Two: Pull the tape measure until it fits snugly around you. Don’t let it cut into your skin. Make sure the tape measure is level around your stomach.
- Step Three: Relax and exhale. Don’t suck in your breath or stomach. Look at the measurement where the tape measure completes the distance around your waist.
For women, a waist measurement of 35 inches or more indicates an unhealthy concentration of abdominal fat and a greater risk of health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes. For men, a waist measurement of 40 inches or more is considered high risk.
You can also determine your waist to hip ratio. Measure your hips the same way you measured your waist. Make sure to measure them at their widest point. Divide your waist size by your hip size.
The chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke increases steadily as a man’s ratio rises above 0.95; for women, risk begins to rise above 0.85.
Why Is It Important To Know Your Belly Fat Measurements?
All of this measuring and calculating and pinching can make a person feel pretty down. Most people are more at risk and more overweight than they’d like to be and believe they are. Knowing the facts can make you feel lousy.
However, this is incredibly important information. If you don’t know where you are, how do you know where to go next? The only way to deal with busting that belly fat is to know exactly how much belly fat you have to lose.
Measuring your belly fat helps you get a clear picture of your current health. It’s also a good idea to go to the doctor and get a physical. You need to know numbers like your blood pressure, your cholesterol, and your weight. Facing the risks head on helps you take losing weight and belly fat seriously.
Tracking and Measuring Results
Additionally, when you know your measurements you have a number by which to evaluate progress and success. You know your starting point, and each millimeter you lose is one step closer to your end goal and to improve health and vitality. And the ability to measure and track success is one of the best motivating tools you can have.
It lets you know when your efforts are paying off and when you need to take your diet and exercise program to the next level. Speaking of diet and exercise, it’s now time to take a look at how to get rid of that abdominal health so you can wear a swimsuit confidently and know that you’re taking the best care of your health.