On Your Marks: Don’t have a target weight, have a target waist size

Caught out! I here I am in snacking mode

It’s week two of my challenge to get fit and healthier and this week I am going to focus on diet.

And can I shock you? I like food. A lot.

I don’t eat a huge amount of fast food or sweets. I don’t like cheese. But I do like chocolate, crisps and meat. And I spread butter quite thick on bread.

These are my only real vices (if you remember from my factfile last week, I hardly drink and I don’t smoke). And these are the main reasons I have quite a big belly.
Heading into this challenge I was going to give myself a target weight to aim for.

But when talking to Dr Minesh Patel from the CCG at Crawley Hospital, he said that is not the way to go.

The thing to target is the waist size. My BMI came up as 36.3 as my health check and Dr Patel said: “Taking everything into account, 18.5 and 25 is the healthy range. It can be misleading regarding how far you want to push yourself, similarly ideal weight calculators might not be accurate so take them with a pinch of salt.

“The waist measurement becomes more important for a number of reasons. If you are around 38ins, your waist size is a much more sensitive marker of your future cardiovascular risk.

“That washes out the impact of your body size. The kind of fat that you carry in your abdomen is what tends to drive your cardiovascular risk and your risk of diabetes.

“So your waist size is more relevant in some respects than your BMI. IN some ways you should be targeting a target waist size which is realistic as oppose to a target weight.

“There’s a bit of both to be had but you you be looking to reduce your cardiovascular and diabetes risk.

“Men whose waist size is more than a 38 are going to be at a more substantially increased risk of type 2 diabetes, similarly if you drop that size your risk drops.”

So that is what I am going for. My current waist size is 38 ins and I would like to get to 34 ins.

It was interesting that Dr Patel said the fat you accumulate in you legs, bum and chest area does not really matter, it’s the belly when you want to lose it from. That gives me a focus and a target.

I have already cut down on chocolate and snacks between meals.

Now it comes down to exercise and getting fit. So next week I will let you know how I get on in my first Tilgate parkrun.

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