Am I fat? You must be joking right?
Kelly is preening in front of the mirror thinking about weight loss when her husband, my friend Dan walks in from work.
Kelly: Honey do you think I look fat?
Dan: Of course not sweetie! You look perfect!
Kelly (glumly looking down at her love handles): But I can’t seem to fit into that yellow dress you gave me on my last birthday.
Dan ( He’s just had a rough day at work and he would like nothing more than a drink on the couch) : But honey I bought that over an year ago.
Kelly (suddenly glaring): So you mean I have put on weight in the last year? Have I?
Dan: No no baby! That’s not what I said
Kelly: Yes you did!! You just said so yourself Why do you always lie????Why??
Dan (Wishing he was elsewhere): But!!! Honey that’s not what I meant. I mean I meant it……..but not in the way you think!!… uh…uh!!!
“Do I look fat?” Many a hapless spouse/partner has met his nemesis in this innocent looking loaded question. On the other hand a few “Smart Alecs” have mastered the knack of quick repartee’s to get out of this conundrum. (Check out our growing #fatfibbers section for more on that).But the basic question remains unanswered. Is there any way to find out whether you are fat, overweight or obese? Can you do it by looking yourself in the mirror?
What people around you will not tell you about weight loss
If you suspect that you have gained weight whom do you ask?
Whose advice do you rely on?
Do you understand what I am getting at? We all try and get a 2nd opinion from people who are either not qualified to answer this all important question(friends/relatives/colleagues) or have a vested interest(spouse/partner… remember #fatfibbers). As far as friends go, everybody who weighs or looks like they weigh more than them is fat. Everybody else is thin. Spouses and partners just want to avoid trouble and they’ll tell you what they think you want to hear.
But it is important that you know the truth without sugar-coating. And the sooner you realize the truth the sooner you can do something about it. For that you deserve a clear unambiguous answer not the roundabout dilly-dallying that you usually get from all the above mentioned people. When we get obfuscating, confusing and conflicting signals we usually end up doing nothing. And weight gain is not something you want to procrastinate about.
So even though it might bruise your feelings somewhat read on and find the answer to the question, “ Am I too fat”
I was called fat and ugly in the press almost my
entire life. I understand that being judged by
others comes with the territory, but it broke
my heart and ruined my self-esteem.
How fat is too fat?
Unless you were kidnapped by savage tribes of the Amazon we all know what fat is. It is a natural greasy substance deposited in a fine layer under the skin or around certain vital organs for their protection. All fat is not bad and our body needs some fat to survive and also to regulate body temperature.
The body stores excess fat as it is a rich source of energy. 1 gram of Fat contains 9 Calories as compared to Proteins or Carbs which only contain 4. In times of need the excess fat is converted in to glucose and burnt off. But when fat keeps accumulating we gain weight.
As an average woman needs 25-31% body fat and a man about 18-24% , this can be considered to be normal. But how do you know if you are fat or overweight or even obese? Here are a few tell-tales.
- Do you feel exhausted after any physical exertion?
- Do you always feel hungry no matter when you have eaten your last meal?
- Your clothes feel tight all the time?
- Do you consistently gain weight every year?
- Is your BMI higher than average?
- Do you have a waist circumference of more than 35 inches?
- Are you suffer from high Blood Pressure or Cholesterol?
- Does your back & knees hurt all the time?
If any of the above sounds familiar stop kidding yourself. It is time to face the unmistakable truth that you need to shed a few pounds and some of your false notions along with them!
What should be your ideal weight?
If you expect the answer to this question in the form of a number then let me warn you that you are being naïve.. Just because you weigh 5 pounds heavier does not mean you are fat and your friend is not. It would be like comparing apples to oranges.
Numerous Height and Weight formulas abound and they have their uses. I have listed some of the most popular ones below.
- D. Robinson Formula (1983)
52 kg + 1.9 kg per inch over 5 feet (man)
49 kg + 1.7 kg per inch over 5 feet (woman)
- R. Miller Formula (1983)
56.2 kg + 1.41 kg per inch over 5 feet (man)
53.1 kg + 1.36 kg per inch over 5 feet (woman)
- J. Hamwi Formula (1964)
48.0 kg + 2.7 kg per inch over 5 feet (man)
45.5 kg + 2.2 kg per inch over 5 feet (woman)
- J. Devine Formula (1974)
50.0 + 2.3 kg per inch over 5 feet (man)
45.5 + 2.3 kg per inch over 5 feet (woman)
(Sourced from http://www.calculator.net/)
However these calculators are a starting point, they should not be taken as definitive judgments.
To get more perspective you should try the Body Fat Calculator
Alternatively you can try this Ideal Weight Calculator which takes into account your Frame Size.
To find out whether you are an ectomorph, mesomorph or an endomorph Body Type or Body Frame Size you can try out this calculator.
If you wish to calculate your ideal calorie intake per day, there is a calculator for that as well based on your height, weight, age, gender and activity type.
I believe all these metrics would give you a more better idea about your weight profile rather than gazing into a mirror like it was a Crystal Ball.
While I may be considered fit at 140 lbs my jogging buddy Joe with similar weight may be judged to be overweight taking into consideration his body type and body fat. Weight per se indicates nothing as I may weigh more but if my weight consists more of muscle mass and very little body fat I am fitter than Joe who is lighter on the scales.
So you get my point? We need to see the whole picture and avoid jumping to hasty conclusions based on dubious data masquerading as gospel truth!
What is BMI (Body Mass Index)
BMI is another useful metric which makes use of both height and weight to determine whether your weight is more or less than it should be for your height.
It is easy to calculate:
BMI= Weight(In Kilograms)/ Height²(In meters).
If you want to use pounds and inches instead, just multiply the above with 703.
BMI= 703* Weight (In pounds)/Height² (In inches).
- Less than 18.5 : Underweight
- 18.5 to 24.9: Healthy weight range
- 25.0 to 29.9: Overweight
- More than 30: Obese
- 30–35: Moderately obese (Obese Class I)
- 35–40: Severely obese (Obese Class II)
- BMI > 40: Morbidly obese (Obese Class III)
Whereas BMI is a good comparative tool, it can mislead if you do not take other factors into consideration. People with greater proportion of muscle mass are quite likely to have higher BMI’s.
But normally BMI is a precursor of body fatness and the 2 share a (un)healthy co-relation. This is perhaps why BMI is used in the initial screening for weight and obesity related issues.
Overweight vs Obese
If both overweight and obese mean fat then what is the difference between them. We sometimes even use them interchangeably. But there is a sea of difference between the 2.
When we call someone overweight what we really mean is that this person weighs more than he or she should considering their age, gender and height. Not all people who are overweight are unhealthy and some athletes, bodybuilders or sportsmen may weigh more than the normal charts. But that may be on account of their muscle mass rather than fat.
Now obese people carry a lot of excess fat, so much so that it may adversely affect their health. Their body fat is more than 20% normal weight and a BMI of over 30. Obesity carries with it the risk of heart diseases, hypertension, blood sugar and high blood pressure. Obesity is variously described as a disease or a disorder marked by excess of adipose fat.
When a person’s weight is 50-100% more than normal weight or carries a 100 extra pounds then he or she is said to suffer from Morbid or extreme obesity.
What does it take to lose weight?
So you want to lose weight; Period!
What is the proper way to go about it? Well, it is no state secret and while tomes are being written about “secret formulas”, “miracle pills” and “wonder drugs”, the fundamentals are the same.
You may take different routes to get there but there are basically a few common ways to lose weight
Which road you go down is a matter of choice. Exercise alone may not do the trick and you will have to control your diet as well. Some people don’t trust either Supplements or Medications while other may use them only when they want to lose weight fast.
Surgery is recommended only in extreme cases since it is invasive and obviously expensive.
Other than what I have recounted above I would like to add another way of losing weight and that is
- HOME REMEDIES
Umpteen home remedies exist and while some of them may not be as effective as others quite a few of them really do work and have a scientific basis.
Why do we gain weight?
With so much being written about Weight Loss one thing is immensely clear that people are very weight conscious. Then has anyone ever wondered why is it that we gain weight. Why do people who have lost weight gain it back again? Weight does not increase overnight. It creeps up on you one ounce/pound/gram/kilogram at a time. What are we doing when we are putting on?
The fact of the matter is that we assign variable priority to different things at different times. When we are in the midst of a weight loss program we are motivated and focused on losing weight. We endure all the pain of exercise, hunger of diets and limiting lifestyle bravely. On achieving our weight loss targets we are overwhelmed by a sense of euphoria and basically rest on our laurels. There is a sense of rewarding ourselves for achieving an important life goal.
When our weight is creeping up again we have already moved on to other important things in life: career, money, relationships etc. The “weight thing” has already been taken care of. All our energy, focus and self-discipline is taken up by other mountains that we want to climb. And all this while we are losing the battle with fat!
Even with people who are not repeat weight gainers this period coincides with trying times in their lives. Either they are under a lot of stress (mental, physical or financial) or absorbed in other spheres of their lives. Alternately people who gain lots of weight pretty quickly can also be identified as those who just give up and show increasing signs of depression or de-motivation. Simply put people who suddenly find themselves grossly overweight almost overnight are either too busy or too indifferent.
So why does this all matter?
It requires less effort to prevent weight gain than to lose it once you have gained weight!
If you agree with all that I have stated above there is only one conclusion that you can draw. To guard against putting on unnecessary flab you need both motivation and prioritization. If you are motivated enough to stay fit and have a healthy lifestyle you will find the time and the will to prevent weight gain.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to lose weight?
Since you are with me so far it is clear that you do indeed want to lose weight! Stay with me and we’ll see that you get a fair chance. And make sure you free up a few resources both tangible and mental so that you can follow up on your resolution to lose weight. What are they?
- Your time
- Your resolve
- Your common sense
- Your loved ones support
- Shed your fear of failure
- Drop all old baggage like frustration, hurt and insecurity
- Be ready to make a new beginning
- Tap into your inner reservoirs of strength
- Make it a spiritual journey
- Motivation, Inspiration, Aspiration (#inspire2aspire)
While all of the above are equally important, I stake my honor on the last mentioned and Motivation and Inspiration are the cornerstone of my message to you.
Because I believe that Motivation is the game changer no matter which route you take and which Health Coach you follow or product you use and whichever Gym you go to and the food you eat. Motivation gives you the strength and reason to go on.
I have even carved up a special section of my blog into a nerve centre of motivation. I am calling it #inspire2aspire. It will be a collection of stories both real and fictional about weight loss and health: personal stories of pain, insecurity and frustration but also about perseverance , endurance and ultimate triumph. Because good health is not just an end in itself: it is the hope of a better and fruitful life that we all aspire to!
No doubt you will hear a lot more about that soon but I promise you that if you read one story a day it will dramatically increase your chances of sticking to your weight loss program and reducing the risk of you throwing the towel prematurely.
These stories are about real people minus the fluff and gloss. The underlying message is that weight loss is not easy, sometimes difficult & frustrating. It does not always yield results immediately and severely tests your patience & self-confidence. But if you stick to it with doggedness and single-mindedness of purpose then the results are well-worth the effort.
If weight gain is akin to losing your confidence, your personality, even your identity itself then losing the flab is like reversing the scales. Getting back on track is likened to proving your worth and finally forging your character!
Let us come forward
The weight loss community is like a safety net, we’ve got each other’s back and the fat off our backs and behinds as well. Motivation and inspiration depend on the environment and the people we engage with. We here at Fashion Aaina thrive on engagement and it really gives us a kick. For that purpose we encourage reader’s contributions in our #inspire2aspire section. This is a collection of short personal stories of battles against fat. Do subscribe to it if you have a story to tell then we’ll make sure that it is told. Also keep your comments, emails and feedback coming.