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    What's Your Best Weight?
    James Beckerman, MD, FACC posted:
    I'm a big fan of "finding your starting line." If you're motivated to kick-start a long-term journey toward becoming healthier, it makes sense to first figure out where your starting point is today. A visit with your healthcare provider is a great way to do it. Discuss any symptoms, follow-up on medications, discuss age-appropriate preventive care, and learn your numbers. The "numbers" I refer to are test results for your lipid profile, blood sugar, and blood pressure. These numbers are easy markers you should know to help you and your healthcare provider determine which way you need to go -- and how quickly you need to get there!

    The one number we all seem to know is our weight, and this turns out to be a good thing! Weighing yourself regularly can help you lose weight. But even if you know the starting point for your weight journey, how do you know where you need to go?

    ? Body Mass Index (BMI): This is a great place to start. It's a number that relates height to weight, commonly calculated in your doctor's office. Once you know your BMI, you will know if you fall in the "Underweight," "Normal," "Overweight," or "Obese" category. Next, it's time to start thinking about how much weight you need to lose to get to your goal. BMI has some clear disadvantages. The recommended ranges are not adjusted according to sex or age, and there's no distinction made between the muscle and fat content of your body. This can put athletic individuals in the "Overweight" category despite being fit and healthy.

    ? Body Adiposity Index (BAI): The research journal "Obesity " discusses this new measurement that relates hip circumference and height using a more complicated calculation. Unlike the BMI, the BAI is expected to provide more information about percentage of body fat, which may be an even more accurate predictor of health outcomes. All you need is a tape measure. The BAI is still being evaluated by researchers, so don't expect your doctor to be using it quite yet.

    ? Weight/Height Reference Tables: Widely available online or in your doctor's office, these tables provide ranges for men and women of different heights and different body types. They take into account different body builds such as narrow shoulders or larger builds.
    There are lots of ways to calculate it, measure it, and estimate it, but in the end, ideal body weight is sometimes just one of those things where you know it when you see it -- or don't!

    How have test result "numbers" helped you on your journey to better health? What factors do you use to determine your ideal body weight -- the scale, the fit of your clothes, a doctor visit?
    merlie11 responded:
    Well, According to Weight Watchers I should weigh between 152-154 lbs. I am 5'6" tall and am 73 years old. Does age factor in at all? I had lost 15 lbs on weight watchers, but have gained it all back---I do yoga twice a week and water aerobics twice a week----I am totally frustrated
    happylady34 responded:
    I am 77years old and have also lost weight going to weight watchers, but have gained it back plus a few extra pounds. I weigh 172 and am only 5 feet 4 inches. I am pear shaped and most of my weight is in my belly. I am thoroughly disgusted since I seem to be in good health. I know that belly fat can lead to ill health and I want to be healthy. I have and am still trying to lose that belly, but I can't seem to make a dint in it. I do house work, work on community projects, attend many writing functions, walk occasionally. I'd walk more but have nobody to walk with me and sometimes my balance isn't good. I went to Curves but my knees gave out and I had to quit. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions I would really appreciate them.
    happylady34 replied to merlie11's response:
    Merlie 11,
    I understand your frustration. I try to never eat anything white, I do not drink soft drinks, have never drank alcohol and have cut down to 8" plates. I am not a big eater, but from the shape of me I may as well give up. Let's not do that though. I have all kinds of battles so I'd just as soon be working on this one as some of the others I have.
    ladyindisguise replied to happylady34's response:
    Try swimming or water aerobics. There is also a book called Get Fit in Bed by Genie Tartell,DC,RN and Ted Kavanau or Yoga in Bed by Naomi Call. Or joining a yoga class designed for people with some physical imperfections might help. Ask your doctor also to recommend a referral to physical therapy to help work on your balance or maybe an eveluation by an ENT. If you gained the weight back while you were still with WW, you may have overdone the starchy carbs. If you quit WW and regained the weight, go back and keep going. It has to become second nature, not a "diet", i.e. temporary thing. Keep going to meeting of WW or TOPS or even Overeaters Anonymous after you've lost weight to keep reinforcing the lessons you learned. A flat stomach may not be a realistic goal, but losing weight and getting more fit should be. If you are at risk for diabetes or heart disease or stroke or one of the many things extra fat puts you at risk for, you may be able to get medicare to pay for some things (like a visit or two or more to a registered dietician) and if she/he gives you a prescription for water aerobics, WW, etc., you can take it off your taxes. You should definately talk to your doctor before you do any major increase in activity though for a lot of reasons.
    PinkFiction replied to happylady34's response:
    "I am not a big eater, but from the shape of me I may as well give up."

    happylady34, it sounds like you need to add exercise to your healthy living routine. Specifically, strength training (weights). I have a feeling that you may be under-eating and not exercising enough. You need to supply your body with enough healthy nutrition to full engage a healthy workout schedule. I thought it was crazy when a nutritionist told me that I actually had to eat more before I would be able to see the results I desired (that is, a toned and strong body). All I had done by low calorie but healthy eating and cardio was make myself "skinny fat." Once I started eatiing more protein and lifting weights, my weight initially stayed the same and then even increased a little but I still went from a "skinny fat" size 6 to a more compact and toned size 2 even while weighing more.
    James Beckerman, MD, FACC replied to happylady34's response:
    Please don't give up!

    Try to take stock of everything and find your starting line - see your doctor and make sure that medications or medical conditions aren't playing a role. Then, start a food diary - it's the single most effective intervention to get you started. And remember, it's not just quality of food, it's quantity that tends to make most people overweight.
    merlie11 replied to James Beckerman, MD, FACC's response:
    I have been looking into the ZERONA laser treatment to see if i can get rid of some of the belly fat. What are your thoughts on this procedure. I have also thought of taking PGX ---again what are your thoughts.

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