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Is BMI the best way to track my weight loss and health goals?

BMI, or Body Mass Index is a very useful and well-established tool to quickly assess health status, particularly levels of overweight or obesity, which are associated with some serious chronic diseases (such as diabetes, cardiovascular issues including heart attack and stroke)1.

However, as a weight loss or health tracker tool it’s not ideal. You may still see the impact of your results on a BMI chart, but there are other things to consider.

Your BMI reading uses your weight as part of the calculation. But weight is only part of the story. If you embark on an intensive exercise program, you will probably build muscle.

You may have heard people say, “muscle weighs more than fat.” That’s not really true, because 1 kg of muscle weighs the same as 1kg of fat – or 1kg of anything. However, muscle is more dense than fat. So, if you’re carrying an extra 10kg of fat versus 10kg of muscle, your body will look and feel quite different.2 You’ll look a lot more toned with that extra muscle. The other benefit of muscle is that it boosts your metabolism, so it burns calories even when you’re relaxing on the couch.2

Another very important aspect of fat is where it is located. Subcutaneous fat (just beneath the skin surface) is what we see in the mirror. It will feel soft when you poke it. But what you can’t see is the fat lying deep in the abdomen – visceral fat.3

Too much visceral fat is thought to be closely linked to increased levels of fat in the bloodstream, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.3

So, what should I really be tracking?

If you’d like a more complete picture of what’s going on inside, consider a body composition monitor. A body composition monitor uses a complex scientific calculations to estimate the level of muscle versus fat based on the level of resistance to the electrical signal.

Most importantly, the fat that body composition monitors measure includes visceral fat.

In other words, body composition monitors give you a better indication of muscle to fat ratio, which is important for good health.

So, if you’re looking for a more complete picture of your health and how your weight loss goals are going, you might want to move away from just measuring your weight and measure what really matters with a Body Composition Monitor. You can check out the BodiSure options here.

Sources:

  1. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/bmi/bmi-flaws-history-other-ways-measure-body-weight/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/does-muscle-weigh-more-than-fat#fat-vs-muscle
  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/taking-aim-at-belly-fat

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