As we grow old our activity level goes down, digestion becomes weaker and metabolism slows down resulting in loss of muscle mass and fat gain.
If our body weight remains the same in such a situation, it may be an indication of declining health and should be a matter of concern.
It’s not just the actual body weight, but the body composition or make up of your body that actually determines whether you are healthy or not.
It is well established now that fat accumulation in the mid section or abdominal area increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 Diabetes.
Can skinny people still be unhealthy?
Yes, it is quite possible to be thin and still be unhealthy.
One of the main causes for one’s poor health is Insulin (hormone that regulates sugar levels in the body) and Leptin (starvation hormone) resistance.
Even a thin person can be resistant to Insulin and Leptin and may become unhealthy. However, overweight people are more susceptible to these conditions than thin people.
It is, therefore, very essential that we keep a control over the Insulin, Leptin and cholesterol levels. Otherwise, it could lead to many chronic health problems regardless of your weight.
Also, it is important that we maintain an ideal weight, although it may vary slightly from person to person. Carrying around extra pounds puts more stress on the body and increases the risk of developing various chronic degenerative diseases.
Best Method To Measure Your Body Composition
A common test to determine the ideal body weight is the BMI or Body Mass Index. It compares body weight in relation to a person’s height.
However this test is not very accurate because it may not apply correctly to people who are very muscular. They may weigh more due to more muscle mass (since muscles weigh more than fat).
Plus the BMI does not tell us where the fat is located in the body. Location of fat is very important when it comes to measuring heart risk as I mentioned above.
According to some studies, waist size is a far more accurate predictor of your heart risk than your BMI, as fat accumulation in the abdominal areas increases the risk of a heart disease. Your waist size is also a powerful indicator of insulin sensitivity, as studies clearly show that measuring your waist size is one of the most powerful ways to predict your risk for diabetes.
Here is a general guide for a healthy waist circumference:
For men: between 37 and 40 inches is considered overweight and over 40 inches is obese.
For women: between 31.5 to 34.6 inches is overweight and over 34.6 inches is obese.
For even greater accuracy, you can resort to Hydrostatic Weighing test, where you get weighed under water. This measures the density of your body, which is used to calculate your body fat percentage.
Another test being used by many experts is the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). An electrical signal is passed through your body to measure body impedance. Fat free mass contains up to 75% water and allows the signal to pass through relatively unimpeded. However, fat tissue has low amounts of water and the impedance or resistance is greatest in this tissue.
These measurements in combination with your height, weight and body type are then used to calculate the fat free mass, body fat percentage and other body composition values.
I have personally done a lot of fat measure tests on myself when I was wrestling and also on other athletes when I was working in an Exercise Science lab. Except for Hydrostatic Weight and Bioelectical Impedence Analysis (to some degree), I consistently found that most other fat measure tests were not very accurate.
Below are 5 things that can really help you improve your metabolism and lose weight. You can click on the links to get more info.
5 Things That Can Stop Your Weight Gain For Good
How can you change your metabolism: Regular exercise, improving your digestion and eating are just some of the ways to improve your metabolism. Physical activity can improve the metabolism and burns more fat. Herbs and spices can help stimulate your digestion and improve metabolism.
Stress can make you fat: People under stress over eat and stress hormones also increase fat storage. Regular stress management, relaxation, mental decompression or down time is very important not only for weight loss, but for overall health too.
Better sleep to promote weight loss: Poor sleep disrupts your hormone balance. This results in a decrease in Leptin, a hormone needed to help you feel full and an increase in Ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger. In addition to weight gain, poor sleep can lead to impaired memory, premature aging and other health problems.
Sugar is as addictive as drugs: Research has shown that foods people like stimulate same parts of the brain that are activated in drug addicts. In my opinion it is very important to remove foods and drinks with sugar like sodas, sports drinks and even juices (unless juice is freshly squeezed and taken in very small quantities).
All artificial, canned, frozen or processed foods and beverages should be removed from your diet. These are laden with preservatives, chemicals and artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame or Splenda (sucralose) (often used in Sodas), though touted for being “Calorie Free” have actually been linked to weight gain. In addition, these are man made chemicals that are toxic and can wreck havoc on your body.
So reducing your sugar intake should be your number one priority whether you are overweight or not. It has been proven that excess sugar consumption increases your insulin levels. Decreased insulin sensitivity and High insulin levels and can lead to:
- Weight Gain
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Heart Disease
- Premature aging
Intermittent Fasting stops weight gain: Intermittent fasting not only improves your digestion, it boosts metabolism and promotes weight loss. A healthier digestion will lead to better nutrition for the body and detoxification of waste products.
Remember to make slow but consistent changes in your diet, exercise and lifestyle. This will allow you to stick with your new eating habits and ensure a higher success rate.
This article is for educational purposes only. Please consult with your physician, physical therapist or medical practitioner before starting any exercise program or trying any of the herbal products/recommendations mentioned in this video/article.