New Castle News

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March 28, 2013

Lori Brothers: Don’t measure yourself against others, but keep tabs on your midsection

NEW CASTLE — When it comes to your health it is more important to take “wise measures” to ensure it, and to leave vanity out of it.

It’s best that you learn to listen to yourself and not judge yourself against others who may have different genes, different preferences and different goals than you. When it comes to owning your health issues, the best place to look is in the mirror. If my last suggestion makes you cringe, it’s time that you decide to beat your own drum, and dance your own unique dance of success.

How often do you use a “yardstick” to measure yourself against another person?

Weight, height, size, shape and many other variables can become the yardstick you use to undermine you self-concept and sabotage your goals. Instead of looking around at what others look like, or measure the requirements to meet your goals based on their actions and choice, put down the yardstick and pick up the success meter by acknowledging daily what you’ve done to positively meet your goals.

Even small successes will contribute to the long-term result if you keep your focus on the outcome. The details take care of themselves. When you keep your own personal numbers, including your weight, and cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels as your focus, you’re less distracted by who is eating dessert, and whether someone looks better in their dress than you.

The ultimate success is when you feel better, live better and add longevity to your life so you can continue enjoying the things you really love.

However, while dropping the yardstick, don’t put down the measuring tape. It turns out that studies are beginning to indicate that your waist size is a more important indicator even than your Body Mass Index in determining your health.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine determined that “every 4-inch increase in waist size was associated with a 25 percent greater risk of death.” The study suggests that the ideal waist size is less than 35 inches for men and less than 30 inches for women.

The shift to waist size as an indicator of health, and away from the more traditional BMI guidelines for determining health, has to do with the concern about visceral fat. That is, the amount of fat around your vital organs which tends to increase along with your waistline.

It’s important to pay attention to your waist size and not just your weight because visceral fat is proving to be the trigger for inflammation in the body, which is the underlying cause for all disease.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and premature heart disease are lurking in your body if you don’t put the focus on trimming your waist. To correctly measure your waist, stand and place a tape measure around your middle. To determine your waist circumference measure about one inch above your belly button, just after you breathe out.

Besides eating plenty of whole grains, fruits and veggies to shrink that waist, yogurt helps promote digestive and intestinal health, and the calcium can help break down fat, according to a study published in the April 2005 issue of the International Journal of Obesity. The study found that yogurt eaters lost 81 percent more stomach fat than those who did not eat yogurt.

So go for the fat-free yogurt, walk to the beat to your own drum, and throw away the yardstick — but not the tape measure.

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