I️ had a great time giving the previously-mentioned presentation in Highland with Jo Lambert, Sarah Erwin, and Mandy Mahon on Friday night.
Congratulations to coach Sarah Erwin, who won the free ticket to the $547 three-day event Art of Mentoring at the Salt Palace next week!
I️ especially appreciated all of the positive feedback I️ have received since then (although negative feedback is welcome as well). It’s a lot of fun sharing lifesaving information with groups of people rather than only one at a time in the office. And the community Jo is developing in Utah County and surrounding areas will benefit countless people who are wanting to improve their health. I️ look forward to joining her for more informative (and healthy food-filled) gatherings on a wide variety of topics each month as this idea snowballs.
I️ look forward, too, to creating a similar group with my partners in Moab for Southeastern Utah. Anyone who is interested in becoming part of this community of health in either location, feel free to contact me.
Anyway, I️ wanted to share with everyone my answers to two of the questions that arose after Friday’s presentation:
One attendee from San Francisco mentioned she had “tried” our health coaching program twice already and couldn’t relate to my statement that most clients tell me they don’t get hungry while they are watching their weight fall off. Upon further discussion, it became clear to me that she wasn’t working closely enough with her coach. As a result, she was on the wrong plan for the amount and intensity of exercise she was doing. So I wasn’t surprised to learn that she never got past the first four days.
For those of you who are in our health coaching program, the lesson to be learned from this unhappy experience is to work closely with your coach! It can make the difference between success and failure.
The second question I️ wanted to share has to do with weight targets. Whether you are in our program or working on your own, how do you know when you have reached a healthy weight?
BMI is a simple calculation that incorporates your weight and height. By definition, a BMI less than 18.5 or greater than 24.9 is concerning for suboptimal health. With this in mind, a weight that yields a BMI in the neighborhood of 23 is a good starting target.
When I️ share this with patients, many reply, “I️ haven’t weighed that little since high school!”
But think about it: For most of us, isn’t that when we were the healthiest? Granted, those who are muscular will find that a BMI of 23 would require them to lose muscle. That’s not what we are looking for.
This is where body fat measurement comes in. For women, a healthy target is 17-22%, and for men, 10%. The more muscle you have, the higher your BMI can be and still be healthy for you because your body fat is actually lower. A rough do-it-yourself guide to determine whether you have excessive body fat is simply to ask yourself if your pant or dress size has increased over the years. Unfortunately, that’s usually not due to muscle! For a more objective measure, however, come into the office any time to check your body fat percent.
But there is more to healthy weight even than body fat percentage. Waist circumference is important because abdominal fat (as opposed to breasts, buttocks, and elsewhere) contributes the most to metabolic syndrome and heart disease. In fact, one of the criteria for the definition of metabolic syndrome is a waist circumference of 35 or more inches for women, 40 for men. Keep a safe distance between you and these numbers. In other words, if you are a man and your waist measures 39 inches, don’t think you’re out of the woods!
But there is more to a healthy weight even than waist circumference. As I️ demonstrated during the presentation, there are a number of cardiometabolic parameters we follow on each patient in our offices that indicate whether an individual is going closer to or farther away from heart disease, cancer, stroke, and so forth. These are obtained through blood tests and digital arterial pulsewave analysis.
See a doctor who specializes in functional medicine to obtain these tests. A simple rule of thumb is this: If your doctor hasn’t already checked your adiponectin and lipoprotein(a), for example, he or she has not been trained in functional medicine and wouldn’t know what to do with the results if presented with them. And these are just two of many critical pieces of pieces of information you need to know about your risk of cardiovascular disease. This is not a criticism of anyone’s family doctor or cardiologist. Rather, it’s merely a reflection of the reality that our medical education system is focused on treatment of disease rather than prevention of disease and promotion of health. This is why you need to see a specialist.
In summary, your ideal weight is the weight that makes you:
We can set ballpark targets based on BMI, but we may not know precisely what that optimal weight is until you reach it! Whatever that weight turns out to be, we can help you get there.
To your health in the new year,
Ray Andrew, MD