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Measuring Your Weight Loss Progress

May 27, 2008
How do you measure the result of your changed healthy lifestyle? Obvious changes in health-related behavior patterns like decreased dependence on medications, increase in ability to perform physical activity, reduced intake of fat, and the increased intake of fiber, vitamins, and minerals in your diet point towards an improvement. If you have started cooking your food in a healthier manner, watching out for labels, checking out new health recipes, using alternate low fat ingredients, etc. then you are on the right track. This means you are comfortable with your new lifestyle and are looking forward to betterment. You start feeling good and keep moving forward.

Physical indicators include reduce in the waist hip ratio and waist circumference. Abdominal obesity has consistently been associated with risk factors for diabetes and heart disease, thus any positive change in this front is an obvious improvement. It directly implies weight loss as well as a healthier fat distribution. Physical progress can also be determined by hydrostatic weighing, electrical impedance, or by using skin fold calipers. Although it might not be as accurate as the former method it gives you an upstart of the path in which you are treading at least. A certified personal trainer can help you measure the percentage of your body fat.

However, a weight scale is not a good indicator of your progress. Simply because, it does not differentiate between the lean body mass and mass of your body fat. It does not give you the actual information about the change in body composition that you are going through. The scale might show that you have not reduced any weight, but actually, you might have lost fat which would have been replaced with firm, fat-burning muscles. This is indeed a progress which goes unnoticed while using scales. Two people who weigh the same might not necessarily be healthy in the same way. This is the huge disadvantage of using weight scales.

Similarly height / weight charts, and BMI- Body mass index charts don't take into consideration body composition and fat distribution. Besides BMI is appropriate only between 20-65 years of age as it does not account for growth patterns in adolescence and old people. It focuses on reducing one's weight to attain a lower BMI, thus promoting weight reduction as the only indicator for a healthy lifestyle. Instead people should pay attention to visible changes which can be felt within like increased energy, stamina, performance, self esteem, feeling of becoming young, refreshing, reduced medication and enjoying physical activity. So what if your BMI is high, as long as you know you are eating healthy and exercising, it is good enough. You should feel the change by yourself. It's not a matter of proving a point to someone else. Reduction in health risk factors and an improved quality of living will eventually follow. If you take proper care of your body while you are young you will not only remain healthy for a longer time but also have a longer life span.
About the Author
Gary Grewal is the founder of http://www.101WeightLoss.com; a site featuring over 100 articles on weight loss subject including diets, pills, exercises, eating right and more. Visit his site for many more tips on quick, easy & healthy weight loss.
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