WaistlineIt can be your enemy or your friend: the scale. Guys are obsessed with numbers. We are also obsessed with our weight, how much money we have in our bank account, how many followers we have on Twitter, friends on Facebook, the length of our … well, you get the picture.  How many times have you gone into hyperventilating-induced stressed over stepping on the scale and seeing how bad or how good you’ve been doing with your workout and eating? Well, what if I told you that weighing yourself isn’t at all how you should be measuring your fitness? Intrigued? What if I added that your weight, or that number on the scale, doesn’t really matter as much as you thought it did?

Here’s the thing we often-times forget or overlook: we look at the number on the scale as a universal measure of how healthy, fat or skinny we are. We then run out and compare ourselves to others based on these numbers. We ask our friends how much they weigh and tell them they look good and yet inwardly we cringe or laugh at how much their weight varies from our own. Well guess what – that number on the scale really isn’t all that important. Sure, if you step on the scale and it snaps to the end of the dial or says it can’t measure you then child, you’ve got some problems. Otherwise, I say relax. I even will go so far as to tell you to put the scale away – retire it, send it on a vacation to the farthest reaches of the closet, forget about it!

Scales measure how heavy you are. Scales, however, do not take into account your height, and that’s a big issue we often forget. Take, for example, someone who is short – 5’2 or 5’3. They step on the scale and they’re just 110 pounds. Oh God, just 110! You’re either envious of said person or whispering that they’re anorexic. What if, though that same person steps on the scale and they’re 150 pounds? 160 pounds? You may shrug, saying you still WISH you were “that skinny”. But … really, do you think that’s skinny? If they are 160 lbs, 5’2″ and have a 36 inch waist, is that really skinny? No, they’re overweight and by harsh medical standards, they’re obese! Now, consider someone 6’2 or 6’3 who has similar weight … 160 or so pounds. Really, they could be considered slim and fit. So what gives?

Your weight is just another number, but what really matters if you’re trying to determine how fit or un-fit you are is actually your waist size! Dr. Oz wrote about this in his popular book You On A Diet. Here’s the gist of his research: it’s not your weight that matters, it’s the size of your waist. The bigger your waist, the more belly fat you’re probably lugging around which means you’re also at a greater risk of illness and certain diseases. To figure out if you’re fit and at a healthy waist size, divide your height (of course, in inches) by 2. Is that number more than your waist size? Then you’re fine, you’re healthy. Is it less than your waist size? Then you’re probably carrying too much weight and need to work hard get that waist size in line. So put away that scale and instead take out the tape sure. Measure around your belly button to figure out your true waist size. This is the number or measure you want to pay attention to, not your weight.

Here’s an example:
Brenda Walsh: 5’3″, 160 lbs, waist size: 36.5″
63 inches / 2 = 31.5
Verdict: Brenda needs to shave about 5 inches off her waist

Kelly Taylor: 5’2″, 110 lbs, waist size: 28″
62 inches / 2 = 31
Verdict: Wow, Kelly and Brenda are close in height but Kelly’s waist is smaller and she actually could stand to gain 3 inches around her waist and still be considered healthy.

So, you see – your height, a number you really can’t change after a certain age, has a heck of a lot more to do with how “skinny” or “fat” you are than you, or even your doctor, are taking into consideration. Notice with the Brenda and Kelly example that both have similar heights. The only big difference between them is their waist size. If you’re concerned about how much you weigh, you should be more concerned with the size of your waist. Usually, a smaller waist will mean a healthier weight. But just paying attention to how much you weigh really won’t give you a proper idea of how healthy you are.

Stop worrying so much with how you weigh. Unless you wear a t-shirt with your weight printed across your chest in bold letters, people won’t know or care what you weigh. What is noticeable, however, is your waist size. Get that slimmed down to the ideal size (half your height (in inches)) and people will not only see how skinny you are, they will automatically assume you weigh less than someone with a huge waistline.

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