This article summarizes a new study that says the circumference of your waist, as related to your height, is a better indicator of overall health and life longevity than measuring BMI.
Why is this important?
BMI is a faulty measure of body mass and in determining “obesity” because it doesn’t account much for muscle mass. For people of the African diaspora who are genetically more muscular, this isn’t exactly a fair measure of our health. Yes, many of us are obese, but it also doesn’t take into account those of us who workout regularly and have dense, weighty muscle mass.
Then, belly fat is more harmful than lower body fat. One thing I learned during the surgery prep process is that the way I was shaped was no imminent threat to my overall health. My weight wasn’t resting in my midsection, crowding my organs, depositing fat onto them, etc. My doctor said my problems were more orthopedic and that I’d develop severe bone/joint problems as I got older. It’s been long accepted that being pear shaped is “healthier” than apple shaped, but we also know it’s harder to lose lower body weight.
Anyway, this study makes sense. The article goes on to say
“"Keeping your waist circumference to less than half your height can help increase life expectancy for every person in the world," said Ashwell, as reported in the Telegraph.
Thus a man who is 6ft or 72 inches tall (183 cm), should keep his waist under 36 inches (91 cm), and a woman who is 5ft 4 in or 64 inches tall (163 cm), should keep her waist measurement under 32 inches (81 cm).
Ashwell said the measure should be considered as a screening tool.
The idea of using Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR) to predict cardiometabolic risk is not new, but is coming to prominence as more studies reveal its value.”
I’m 72 inches tall. My waist is 30 inches. Well done, kid. Well. Done.
I don’t normally respond to these things, but she asked nicely. And she’s cute :)
My questions for you:
1. Dick Clark once said, “Music is the soundtrack of our lives.” What songs would be included on the soundtrack to your life?
"The Ballad of Dorothy Parker" and "D.M.S.R." (Prince) "Human Nature" and "Oh Father" (Madonna) "Cater 2 U" (Destiny’s Child) "The World Should Revolve Around Me" (Little Jackie) "I’m Prettier" (Jill Scott) "Stranger In Moscow" and "Leave Me Alone" (Michael Jackson) "The Art of Noise" (Cee Lo) "Moment In Life" (Musiq) "Visions" (Stevie Wonder)
2. What milestones do you want to cross in the next five years (e.g. graduate, get married, etc.)
Obtain another master’s degree; Move out of NYC; Fall madly in love with a compatible partner; Travel to at least 3 countries
3. What qualities do you look for in a mate?
Honor. Respect/Respectability. Loyalty. Compatibility. Earning potential. Sexual Liberties and Skill. Calm.
4. They say never judge a book by its cover. What is something most people would never guess just by looking at you?
That I am a submissive woman.
5. Has any book, poem, story, or author change your perspective on life? If so, please share.
I’ve been shaped by those who have come before me in many ways. Malcolm X’s and Marcus Garvey’s writings for sure. Angela Davis and bell hooks. Anais Nin. Baldwin, however, is my favorite author and The Fire Next Time really made life worth living.
6. What or who can make you instantly happy?
Garvey X, my son.
7. What do you REALLY want to be when you grow up? What would you do even for free?
I’m grown. I’m a social worker.
8. If given the time, opportunity, and finances, what improvements would you make for the social issues you care about?
I’m strike down bipartisan politics, increase taxes for the wealthy, and reallocate funds towards the improvement of public education, sexual health education, mental health treatment and support, diversity initiatives, and the eradication of homelessness.
9. What do you want your lasting legacy to be?
She got a lot of people off the street.
10. If you could pick anyone dead or alive to play you in the story of your life, who would it be and why? How would you want the movie to end?
Me. I have a theatre background so I can play myself #NoFantasia. The movie would end (To Be Continued)
11. What do you want your famous last words to be?
Dance. Music. Sex. Romance.
Bonus: Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? If so, what is your plan?
After losing 100lbs, I decided I wanted to turn my focus on body shaping and sculpting. One of the things I wanted to do was lift my booty a few inches. Rapid weight loss can often lead to an overall sag in the body, between deflated skin, muscle loss, etc. I wanted to do everything I could to combat that, so… Operation Booty Lift came to be.
**Disclaimer** This is not necessarily going to give you an ass if you don’t already one. I don’t want anyone getting mad at me if, after 3 months, your long back is still going to be long as hell.
The most important thing you need to know as you begin Operation Booty Lift is that most of this is related to diet. You must must must change the way you eat if you want to see any results in reshaping your body. You have got to minimize simple carbs to start. Breads, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, juice, soda, cake, candy, donuts, ice cream, danishes, etc. all contain simple carbs that convert to sugar, then into fat, when the energy isn’t used. If your body is using the energy from the carbs, how is it going to burn any fat? Take out the middle step and encourage your body to focus on burning FAT. Low carb, high protein diets are helpful when going through a body sculpting process like this.
So, map out a healthier eating plan for 3 months. Absolutely no juice or soda. No more than one serving of cake, donut, cookie, ice cream per week. No breakfast cereals of any kind. No bread (not even whole wheat), switch to brown rice, but no more than 2 servings per week. Whole wheat pasta is ok once a week. Get into protein shakes. I recommend GNC Lean Shake, which is 170 calories, 25 g of protein, 6 g of carbs, 4g of sugar. I drink this for breakfast every morning after my workout. Don’t need anything with more than 25 g of protein because your body isn’t going to process much more than that in one setting. You can also make shakes with Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and protein powder at home. Supplement one meal with a protein shake!
Now, the workout:
When I go to the gym, I never do long cardio sessions. They’re basically ineffective in fat burn after about 20 minutes. Think of your body like a car. You get more highway mileage because you’re using less energy once your car gets into a consistent pace. It’s the stop and go of city traffic that burns more gas because it requires more energy. Your goal, for your body, is to use more energy. Stop and go cardio is the best way to do that.
Stretch: Spend 10 minutes or so stretching your lower limbs. Hold your stretches steady; don’t bounce. That can lead to muscle injuries.
Warm up: 18 minutes of cycling. First week start at level 1. Each week, you’re going to go up one level. Choose the random hill option. Keep your RPMs above 50. Month 2, above 55, month 3 above 60.
Now that your body is warmed up, your muscles are ready to be worked out.
Lifting the booty isn’t just about strengthening your glutes (butt muscles). You’ve got to work your core and legs too.
3 sets (groups) of 12 rep(etition)s. This works your quads. The weight depends on what you can handle. For perspective, I’m at about 70lbs.
Seated Leg Press
3 sets of 10 reps. This works most of the muscles in your legs. Again work with weight that is comfortable, gradually increasing every 2-3 weeks. Weights vary by machine, but I’m at 120lbs on most machines.
45 Degree Seated Leg Press (my preference)
I’m at about 90lbs for this.
Seated Leg Curls
3 sets of 10-12 reps. This machine works your hamstrings. I’m at about 110lbs.
This is a full lower body move that hits all of the muscles we need for this operation. It’s an alternative to the seated leg press. 3 sets of 12 reps.
Hip/Thigh Adduction/Abduction machines
These machines work the muscles in your hips, upper thighs, lower back, and booty
3 sets 15 reps. I’m at about 110lbs.
Lunges are great, when you do them correctly. I struggle with balance, so I only do these when I’m at home and won’t look like an idiot. 3 sets per leg, 12 reps per set.
Most gyms have some variation of this machine. Targets the butt directly.
3 sets, 12-15 reps per leg.
Round out the session with 15 minutes on the elliptical OR on the treadmill at at least a 4.0 incline, 3.0 speed.
These are the exercises I do. I work my lower body 2x a week.
Hope they help you. If you have questions, hit me on Twitter @FeministaJones or hit the inbox here on tumblr.
I received an email from a friend about a casting call at O magazine seeking women 25-60 who have gone through major transitions in their lives and wanted to get a make-over. They mentioned things like caring for a sick loved one, moving on post-divorce, weight loss of 100+ lbs, etc. My supportive followers encouraged me to apply when I tweeted about it, so I submitted this email, along with before and after pics
My name is Michelle Taylor and I’m writing to be considered for the O Make Over
I’m 33 years old and I am a program director with Community Access, Inc, a non-profit organization that provides housing primarily for homeless people with psychiatric disabilities. I’ve been in this field of housing/homelessness for 10 years.
How I Overcame
As an adolescent/teen, I experienced certain traumatic events that led to me seeking solace and comfort in food. I found myself eating to create a shell that would protect me, if that makes sense. Over the years, the weight piled on and I graduated college weighing a whopping 406lbs. It might have been more, but I refused to weigh myself after that. At 23, shortly after leaving college, I was diagnosed with type II diabetes and immediately set to work trying to lose weight. My mom had received the same diagnoses when I was 13 and I was scared of having to take medication every day. I was only mildly successful, going up and down over the next few years. I got married and had my son in 2006 at age 27 and was still tipping the scales at 375. My mother passed away from pancreatic cancer in April 2007 at the young age of 51. This scared me, being a new mom myself. All I could think of was “What if the same happens to me and I leave him motherless at a young age?” Around the same time, my marriage began to fall apart and I suffered through a brutal depression dealing with that, the death of my mom, and a bad case of post partum depression. After attempting to take my own life, I finally decided then that I would no longer hide behind my shell and be burdened by the weight, that I wouldnt give up on life, that I had so much to live for, yanno? My ex husband and I physically separated in 2009, I got a new job making double my old salary, and I was living on my own, and co-parenting my son. I decided to take control of my weight so I threw myself heavily back into trying to lose weight except this time, I couldn’t seem to get past a certain point. Over the years, doctor after doctor suggested weight loss surgery and I said “No way” every time, feeling that it would be cheating. I didn’t want to give up on myself and felt that if I couldn’t “do it myself”, was it worth it? I also realized I had a lot of emotional healing to do and began going to group therapy and individual therapy to try and confront some of my personal demons. Eventually, I realized that no matter how much I “dieted” or exercised, I wasn’t losing the weight, so I consulted a bariatric surgeon. Long story short, I had weight loss surgery on June 21, 2011 weighing 364lbs. Today, I weigh 241lbs, am divorced, and I am loving the positive turn my life has taken. I now exercise 5x a week and have become more active/fit. My divorce has been finalized and my son is happy and healthy. I want to lose another 20 lbs or so and get rid of all of this loose skin. Unfortunately, my insurance doesnt cover plastic surgery for that and I have some insecurities about the loose skin, but… I’m healthier and I’m lighter, and I feel that is a minor consequence. I have my good days and my bad. I still battle with emotional eating but I’m in recovery and getting better. My outlook on life has improved drastically and I’m focus now on being the best mom I can be to my son. I’m a work in progress, but.. Im making progress. I struggle adjusting to this new body and finding appropriate clothes to wear. I still go into plus sized stores, knowing I can’t fit most of the stuff in there.
I’d love to be considered for the make over and share my story with others. Maybe I can touch someone else’s life
I got a call to come in for an in-person “Go-See” next Monday and I’m nervous but elated. Wow. This would be a great opportunity for me :)
Hi, My name is Michelle and I’m an emotional eater.
Emotional eating has long been the biggest influence on my weight issues over the past 2 decades. I’ve treated food as a comforting reprieve from the struggles in my life. At first, it felt GOOD. Literally. Eating felt like the best thing to do, especially when the food was deliciously tasty! I had favorable physiological responses, too. Felt the goodness spread from head to toe, stomach to fingertips. Why would I stop doing something that felt good to ME?
And then it stopped feeling so good. Instead of having positive effects, I gained ridiculous amounts of weight. I stopped feeling as good as the early days and I would eat MORE to try and regain that feeling of good, warm comfort. It didn’t work as well as the years went on.
And now, I’m in recovery. At least that’s how I think about it. I developed an unhealthy dependence on food in the ways that alcoholics depend on alcohol and drug addicts depend on their drugs of choice. Like with those substances, latter “highs” are never as good as the first or early ones, and the quest to replicate those feelings seems almost never-ending.
Like many substance abusers, I tried to quit this addiction “cold turkey” on my own for years. I’d have mild successes then always relapse, falling right back into the same cycle of emotionally relying on food to comfort me through the bad times in my life. I didn’t think of finding other things to duplicate the good feelings that would be less detrimental or even beneficial to me; I stuck with what I believed would work. Most times, I thought it was helping when it wasn’t. I know that now. As someone who works in the substance abuse counseling field, you’d think I’d know better, right?
And like many abusers, I finally decided to get extra help. I got weight loss surgery and found a tool that would help my transition in being addiction-free easier. I often compare my weight loss surgery to methadone maintenance programs or money management programs. Methadone maintenance programs help transition people off of heroin by supplementing their bodies with a medication that duplicates the feeling. Then, by gradually reducing the dosage, people can get completely off of the drug. Money management programs limit the amount of money a person receives at a certain time. Less money you have, less you can spend on drugs. Right? Not exactly.
While these interventions certainly have proven success with reducing the actual drug use, they aren’t failsafe. On methadone, some people still use heroin or stay at a certain meth dosage far too long, never quite weaning off. OR, they start abusing other drugs. With money maintenance programs, people use the little bit they’re allotted on drugs. Without addressing the core issues of substance abuse, overarching, long-standing change won’t happen and “success” will remain a distant goal.
The same goes for emotional eating. Yes, I have the tool that restricted the amount of food I can actually eat but it did NOTHING to address the emotional connection I have to food. That is something I’m still working on and in recovery for. I recently lost a friend in a tragic death. I was so hurt, confused, literally at a loss and I didn’t know how to process it. My problem is that I don’t want to “burden” my friends with my struggles, so I felt myself relying on the default coping mechanism: food. I bought one of my favorite foods, fried crabsticks, and sat on a bench and began eating. And dammit, I felt so much better. I swear even the sun came out while I was eating. Birds were chirping, people were laughing, and all was right in the world.
But then, it happened. I looked down at the greasy bag in my hand and was like “What the fuck are you doing? Why are you eating this crap?” and I stopped feeling good. A few minutes later, I began to feel sick, literally. My new stomach rebelled against this bag of fried greasy garbage. I wanted to vomit. It was horrible.
In that moment, I felt my body protected me from the emotion-induced destruction I was about to throw myself into. And that horrible feeling was like the physical manifestation of the pain I felt from losing my friend. I needed that. I realized that I needed that help. Saying that I needed the surgery to help me with this is not me being weak; I’m admitting that I can’t do this alone.
I wish more people would do that… or at least be more sympathetic to people who opt to use surgery as a means of helping them along on their journey.
Surgery isn’t the end all be all. If I really wanted to, I could have eaten the entire bag over the course of a couple of hours. In that moment, however, I threw it in the trash and realized that this was more of an emotional set back than a physical one. I made up for it by walking 3 miles home from work. During that walk, I had to admit to myself that sometimes, I still seek the comfort of food to get through the bad times. I don’t do it nearly as often as I did before, but that’s what being in recovery means. I’m working towards being in a better place, one where I can find other means of coping with emotional issues that don’t involve food. I’ve gotten good at taking my frustrations out at the gym or spending time a lone in thought or practicing yoga. I’m still working on it.
This is a process. Surgery isn’t a quick fix. Many of us can’t properly identify what caused our weight gain, so we have to start there, in my opinion. If you know the root cause, you can start the path to recovery, using tools and interventions you find most helpful.