Hi guys, welcome back to the show. So today I want to spend some time talking about ideal body, weight and BMI. I feel like so many women will say to me like, Oh my God, I ideal body weight is supposed to be this and my BMI is supposed to be this. So let’s talk all about it and let’s figure out if there’s a better way to figure out what your health status is, then ideal body, weight and BMI. So can listen in welcome to the whole health empowerment project podcast. This show is for busy moms like you with the desire for better whole health balance, but you may be feeling overwhelmed and busy and really don’t know where to start. Hi, I’m Tricia. I’m a registered dietician and nutrition coach, and I’m here to walk you through the whole health journey so that you can begin to have more fulfillment in who you are meant to be in this podcast. You’ll learn practical tips to get you started motivation to keep you inspired and guest interviews that will empower you to take action. Come join me in failing forward. One step at a time into the journey of health, wellness, and self care. Welcome to your new project.
So we’ve all been online and we’ve all, you know, tried to figure out what we think our ideal body weight is supposed to be for many of us. It’s kind of like we’re at this place where we’re ready to lose weight and we’re trying to figure out, okay, what should my weight be based on what some crazy number that I’ll never be able to achieve. And so what we do is we’ll Google something like what is my ideal body weight? So I want to talk about ideal body weight and why that was used and kind of what it means so that you can not use that as a weight that you think that you should. In fact, they so ideal body weight and BMI we’ll talk about them both, but ideal body weight is basically something that insurance companies use back in the day because they were trying to figure out how long you will live to a certain age.
Right? So when we talk about someone’s ideal body weight, especially for women, basically, it means that once you’re over five foot at five foot, that’s a hundred pounds every foot above a five foot, you can add an extra five pounds. So for instance, if you were somebody who was five foot, your ideal body weight would be a hundred pounds. If you’re somebody who is five foot two, your ideal body weight is 110. If you’re somebody who’s five foot four, your ideal body weight is 120 pounds. Then they would add all these different things in like, what do you have a small frame and medium frame, a large frame. There’s a lot of parts of it that just don’t really add up. And then how do you know which size frame that you are? So ideal body weight isn’t used? Like, will I use it in terms of my clinical practice, but typically ideal body weight.
Isn’t something that you use anymore. So what, you know, I think really, yeah, people will use and you’ll see it in your doctor’s office. And if you’ve ever gotten not health insurance, if you’ve ever gotten life insurance, you’ll usually have somebody who comes out, they determine your okay, EMI. So BMI is thing that you’ve probably all saw. You’ve all seen it. It’s basically a chart where on the left-hand side, you will have what your weight is. And on the bottom of the chart, it will use, well, I guess it depends on what kind of chart you’re using. But the one that I’ve looked at is usually like your height is at the bottom and then your weight as along the side. And so basically you look and see what your height is. Can you go up the chart based on your weight? And it puts you in a category of being underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.
There’s a lot of things, my calculators, and I’m sure that you guys have used shows. So that’s another way that people determined BMI. So for each of those categories, when it comes to BMI, I typically the range starts at about 18.5 or less. That’s right. And you’re considered underweight in this BMI category., A normal range BMI is 18.5 and 24.9. The next level is overweight. So that typically is a BMI between 25 and 29.9. And then there’s an obesity category that’s greater than 30. Now that obesity category is further broken down into three different categories, class one, obesity, class, two obesity in class three obesity. So if you’re somebody who’s in a class, one obesity, you’re typically like 30 to 34.9 is your range for BMI. Class two is 35 to 39.9 and then class three is greater than 40. So obviously that greater than 40 candidates, Corey is a huge difference can be a huge variance in terms of what your weight is.
Right? So the only reason I’m talking about these categories is because I really want to kind of dive into this when it comes to the usefulness of the PMI. Sure. So typically the BMI chart is really inexpensive way we can decide and doctors can decide what your disease risk is. Yeah, right. So the thought behind it is, is that the higher your BMI, the higher your risk of developing, I think, diseases associated with having that extra weight. Okay. So if somebody like take, for instance, if we’re doing somebody who’s overweight and someone that’s in the class, three obesity category, the thought is that if you’re a little overweight, your disease risk development, isn’t as high as if you’re in that class three obesity category, because you have much more, you may in fact more fat mass. And so because of that, your disease risk is going to be higher.
The diseases that we worry about when it comes to BMI and just overall increase in fat mass is heart disease, diabetes, different kinds of cancers, high blood pressure and things like that. So that’s why it’s used first of all, because we are just the doctors and maybe even a dietician is trying to identify your disease risk and kind of, you know, figure out if there’s ways that we can help decrease that disease risk. But you know, why I wanted to talk about BMI is that there are some limitations when it comes to PMI. So usually, you know, ways that we measure our health can be things like for some of you, I talked about ideal body weight BMI. For most of us, it’s probably a scale. So one of the things that having your weight in any capacity doesn’t tell us is what the composition of your weight is.
And so when I’m thinking of is, is what composition of your weight is fat mass and what composition of your water mass and what composition is fat mass. Great. Because our body’s made of water. We have fat mass muscle mass. And so that matters because that’s really, what’s going to determine your disease risk. So with BMI, with scale, with ideal body weight, none of is accounted for, there’s no way to look at you and say, Oh, this person has this much muscle mass. And this person has this much fat mass. There is a way I should say, I should not say, there’s not a way there is it’s called hydrostatic weighing. And it has like the gold standard. And most of you, aren’t going to have access to that. So I guess that’s why I said that, but when it happens with hydrostatic weighing is it’s basically you get in a tank and you’re in like a bathing suit and they kind of measure you and they can decide how much mass you have and how much Lee monument and most people aren’t going to do that.
And so that’s, that’s kind of some of the caveats with BMI, if you are somebody who has like a really high muscle mass. So say you look at some football players, right. Or bodybuilders, and you know, that their weight is probably higher than is normal on the BMI scale. It probably is. But none of that BMI takes into account their, their muscle mass and how it’s much larger and that they are doing a lot of strength training. It doesn’t take into account that the other part of it is, is that typically as we get, we, you know, especially being a woman, right, with menopause typically, you know, you will have lower estrogen levels. And so there is, uh, you know, um, a redistribution of muscle mass and fat. And so what comes with that is that as you, as you go into your older years and you’re not physically active, then we assume that you’re going to have more fat mass.
But again, BMI and ideal body weight in a scout is never going to measure that. So BMI can be useful. I mean, I’m not saying that it isn’t, it can be useful. It’s a really quick and dirty way to kind of really figure out like what your disease risk for. But I want you to understand that that’s what it’s for. That’s, that’s the point of BMI. What may be a better indicator of our disease or risk though, besides ideal body weight and besides the BMI would be doing, measuring our waste size, our waste. Okay. So why that is important is that typically women in general have a higher waist size. And what that means is, is that we store more visceral fat in our craftsmen, right? So if we’re able to measure our waist size, then we can figure out what our disease risk is because we’re now accounting for that’s our conference.
When I’m talking about fat, I don’t want it to be like something that’s like shameful or anything like that. It’s just basically how our bodies are made. We have muscle, we have fat, we have water. Let’s just the way that we’re mates, we’re talking about it on a very, like, kind of like cellular level, not based on any kind of appearance I’m talking about it based on kind of what your body is looking like from the inside, not what your body looks on the outside and appearance. Typically women have this subcutaneous fat, right? And it’s meant to be protective for us, especially as we’re in our reproductive years. So subcutaneous fat is like the fat that’s found on our hips and our thighs. Okay. And that’s 90% of our body and it’s necessary. We need it. Especially if we are people, if we are women that have decided to reproduce.
So we needed, it’s a necessary function. But what happens is, is that typically as we get older and we go through menopause, we have these changes and affect distribution and muscle mass distribution in our bodies. And that’s totally normal. It’s part of the aging process. And the difference is in hormone levels. And, you know, especially as you get past your reproductive years and you go into menopause. So what ends up happening is that you may notice that, Oh my gosh, I, even though I’m eating exactly the same, nothing is different. My pants are tighter around the waist. Right. Cause that’s what happens. You’re having this redistribution. It’s totally normal. I know as a mom after, right. I had my son and belly is still there. Again, I’m not trying to, do you have any shame and for you to be like, Oh my gosh, I have all this.
It’s just, I’m just providing some knowledge to you so that you can make the decision to do whatever you feel like you’re able to do at this point in time. And so talk about like, instead of focusing ideal body weight, and instead of focusing on BMI, taking that off the table, I’m really just being aware of what’s happening in our bodies. So typically, you know, how we carry our weight or around depends on, and especially our, uh, in our body depends on your genes. It depends on your age. You may be in your twenties and have more muscle mass. And then as you get older again with, because of the difference in your heart and the changes in your hormones over 50 or 60, you may notice that you’re having a higher fat composition than you did previously, especially if you’re not as active as you used to.
You know, and again, we’re talking about, if you’ve had children, you may be more likely to develop some visceral fat around your habits, and then you meet he previously. Then you did, if you didn’t have children. So when it comes to abdominal fat, why we worry about it? Domino fat is that it is linked to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, different kinds of cancers and dementia. Like I said, so when we’re talking about waste or conference, what are we talking about? We are talking about, I think that there’s like a rule that says, keep your wastes or conference less than half your height. But I think that gets to be like very confusing. So what I would focus on is just a general guide mine, which is waster conference for men kits to be over 40, because a lot of what happens with wastes are conferences going to be based on your height.
So typically if you are taller than your waist or conference, maybe a little bit bigger, if you’re shorter, you’re wasting time, Ritz might want to be a little bit less. You might want to be smaller. And so the general guideline, yeah. Guess for men to have a BMI of less than 40 and for women’s and have a BMI of less than 35. So how would you do this? How would you measure your waist or conference? Well, you would measure your wastes or conference at the level of the navel. So at the, not at the narrowest part of your juror zone, basically when you’re doing it, you’re measuring it with a tape measure. You’re standing up straight and you, you are exhaling. So you’re not like sucking in your belly. You are in your belly for what it is. And you’re wrapping a tape measure around it.
Again, not at the narrow is part, you’ll probably find this. You can probably put this in on the internet and kind of search it and figure out how to do that. But the main thing is like that you’re not doing it too tight, the tape measure. And that it’s even around that the tape measure, isn’t like, you know, pushed down in the back or too tight in the front. And so in doing this in measuring your waist or conference, the information that you’re going to get from that is really, if you have this oral thought and the amount of visceral fat, you’re not even really going to know, but it’s just to determine if you have, if that’s where you’re biased or cause remember visceral fat is the fat that we worry about because that’s like the intro nominal fat or like the belly fat that we have.
And what happens is, is that this kind of fat can’t be seen. It can’t be seen from the outside, but it’s dangerous to us. So, you know, the only way that we would really be able to measure that would be like, if we did a CT scan of the hospital or an MRI. So it’s just a really quick and dirty way for us to see, okay, I have some visceral fat here and listen, you may not even, I can see my visceral fat. So you may not even need to do a tape measure. The tape measure, just kind of gauges it to the degree of where you’re outside of that guideline. And so why I wanted to talk about this is because for many of you, you may already be doing the things right. So how can you make your waist circumference smaller?
Well, the good news is that you may already be doing it. You know, the biggest thing or the bigger things here that we’re going to talk about is healthy, eating, getting enough sleep, managing stress and exercising. So when I’m talking about healthy eating, I’m not talking about like over restricting on what you’re eating. I’m talking about just eating the way that we’ve talked about in this podcast. We eat the things, you know, more of the things that you know, that are going to give you nutrition. So that’s going to be making sure you eat fruits and veggies and that you’re eating whole grains and you’re eating low fat dairy and you’re eating some protein and some fats too. And then eating less of things that, you know, maybe take you a little bit away from what your nutrition goals are. Getting enough sleep is a really big one.
And that would be like as a woman, making sure that you’re getting anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep a night. One thing I don’t know that we’ve really talked about is managing stress. So I know we’ve talked about like on this podcast meditation, we did an episode last or the last few weeks about meditation and yoga. But another thing with managing stress is really this chronic stress. So as I sit here all day, I’ve been in this state of like fight or flight. I don’t know if you guys have ever been that way, but I’m having anxiety. I take meds for anxiety, but as many people do, but what happens is, is with chronic stress is that it releases the stress hormone called cortisol and cortisol is just not helpful in terms of our health, right? So maybe in the past it was, but now it really, it isn’t on an everyday basis.
So I’m not talking about stress. That’s like, Oh my gosh, I’m so stressed about my job. I’m talking about stress that is chronic. And that you’re experiencing all of the time, unless you have a job that you really don’t like, and you are having that chronic stress. What happens with chronic stress is that there is an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol and cortisol is responsible for cravings. It’s responsible for like increasing insulin resistance, which means it puts you more at risk for diabetes. And especially after menopause, it puts you at risk for Wiki and the, you know, one of the results of that can also be an increased abdominal girth or an increase in visceral fat. So when your body is in this like fight or flight that you’re having, or that maybe I’m just having, that’s what happens is like you, your body increases cortisol, these cortisol levels all the time.
And so then you’re having this, you know, you’re having, you’re more at risk to have this increased abdominal girth. And so that’s why, you know, we’ve talked on this podcast about meditation and doing things that manage chronic stress because my goodness way that the responsibilities that women are asked to do is crazy. And especially now, you know, with, during these COVID restrictions, it’s just crazier. So really just taking care of yourself, that’s going to be the key in all of this. And then exercising is something that helps too. So it’s just making sure that you’re exercising, you know, most days of the week, or as much as you can, that’ll help manage the stress. It’ll help probably with any emotional eating that you’re doing. There’s a lot of benefits to exercise. And I know we’ve talked about it on previous episodes. So all of those things are, you know, I think the basis of, of having an taking care of yourself, healthy, eating, getting enough sleep, managing stress and exercise.
I think that these are all the things that we all worry about that we’re not doing enough of, but they’re all things that make a difference in our overall health. So I’m not saying that you need to be perfect. And I’m not saying that your waste has to be like a certain number when I’m saying to you in this, is that just kind of be aware of what’s happening with your body. Again, I try not to focus on calories and scales. So again, it’s just like having that focus beyond what’s happening in your body. So if you notice that your clothes are become a little bit snugger, then you notice that, you know, maybe that’s what’s happening. You’re increasing your abdominal girth right there. You’re getting a little bit more visceral fat. And so, you know, that scale is not going to tell you if that is happening.
So try to just, you know, take it one day at a time and maybe just do one thing at a time that helps you because this journey into self care, it takes time. It takes years of undoing, all of the behaviors that we’ve been doing to survive. And so just you can do it. It’s just, don’t get become overwhelmed and you try to do everything all at one time. It’s just, you know, picking something this month or this year that you want to focus on and then trying to get better at that this whole journey isn’t about being perfect. It’s just about being 1% better than you were yesterday. So any health changes that you’re making is better than no health change at all. So I thank you so much for listening today. And if you have any questions about this, or if you’re like, Oh my God, why the heck did I listen to that? I’m so sorry. But as a health professional, I do feel like it’s kinda my job to, you know, differentiate some of the things that you hear out there instead of being focused on things that maybe don’t really make too much of an impact in your life. So again, thanks for listening and I’ll see you guys accurately have a good week.