Weight vs. Waist Size

Do the numbers on your scale mean anything?

When it comes to dieting we tend to put a great deal of focus on the numbers on the scale, or what we feel we should weigh. We have a magic number in our heads and we work towards achieving it. But how do we know that a number is appropriate or even achievable for our body types?

Before you step onto your bathroom scale and begin critiquing yourself, realize that there are a number of ways to determine your ideal body weight. You can use an ideal body-weight calculator by using your height, but this fails to take your body type into consideration. There are three main body types: endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph. Individuals who are characterized as endomorphs typically have a larger bone structure and carry more weight on their frames. Ectomorphs have narrower frames and are usually naturally thin because of a faster metabolism. Individuals with this body type do need to exercise, however, if they want their bodies to appear shapelier. Mesomorphs possess an athletic body structure, with broader shoulders and a naturally muscular build. They tend to have faster metabolisms, which helps them to build lean muscles.

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There is much more to our bodies than fat alone, which is why an endomorph and an ectomorph can't realistically fit into the same ideal weight range. This is where waist size comes in and the numbers on your scale become less important. Waist size, combined with height, is a good indicator for whether a person is over or underweight. Health research indicates that men with waists sizes greater than 40 inches and women with waist sizes greater than 35 inches are overweight. With the growing obesity rate in the United States, Levi's has begun to include information on its jean labels about the connection between waist size and obesity. You can find out if your waist size is appropriate for your body by using a waist-hip-ratio calculator. This calculation provides a ratio of your hip size to waist size. Those who have a waist-to-hip ratio above 0.8 are considered unhealthy. At this waist-to-hip ratio your body is considered apple-shaped, which is an indication that you may be at an increased level of risk for various health conditions (including heart disease and diabetes).

It's important to remember that no form of weight or body-fat measurement is fool proof. Your health and the way you feel about your body is what really matters. If you maintain a nutritious, balanced diet and get regular exercise there is no reason to step on a scale or pick up a measuring tape at all.