Do you know your health score? You probably track the common numbers like your weight and blood pressure, perhaps cholesterol, and maybe even your A1C score. But do you know your day-to-day numbers as they relate to hitting your health goals?
What's measured is managed, and if you have some specific goals you are working toward, the best way to achieve them is to monitor them.
Here are a few key numbers to know in your overall health score:
BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is a chart that is universally used by the CDC, your physician, and even insurance companies when they are determining your risk. Your BMI is only based on your height and weight and gives a general range of if you are at a healthy weight. A healthy range is about 19-25; anything over that gets into the overweight category and above 30 gets into the obese categories. Since you probably can't get taller, the only way to reduce an inflated BMI is to lose weight.
BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate or the number of calories you burn in a day just staying alive. BMR does not factor in physical activity which can add 300-500+ calories depending on your level of activity. The BMR is important for you to know as many people don't eat enough calories in a day when trying to lose weight and can go into starvation mode. The opposite is true when people unknowingly eat way too many calories and are gaining weight and not sure why. It could be that they are just getting a few hundred extra calories they didn’t realize they were eating. To determine your BMR use an online calculator or if you have access to one, get a body composition analysis.
Daily Sugar Intake
Do you know how many grams of sugar you are eating each day? The newest recommendation is to keep it under 36g of added sugar per day for men and under 24g per day for women.
The average American consumes an astonishing 150-200 pounds of sugar per year. Sugar is quietly added into our foods left and right, and we are consuming it at an alarming rate. The only way to cut back on sugar is to get a good idea of what you are consuming now. To determine the amount, track everything you eat for a day. There are many great apps available to see what that translates to in grams of sugar. Getting down to 20g a day may seem like an insurmountable task so start with small reductions. Cut it by 25% to start, then move to 50% until getting at or lower than the recommended amount is easy for you.
Visceral Fat Rating
Visceral fat is the deep fat in your abdomen that surrounds your organs. This is typically higher in men as they tend to carry weight in the gut area. A high visceral fat rating is a warning sign that a person is at greater risk of heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, and clogged arteries. To get your rating, you can do a body composition analysis at a wellness clinic that offers such testing or ask your health care provider.
Health goals can feel really overwhelming, but when you can break it down to simple numbers, you can track and manage them better. Rather than setting out to lose weight, start with a goal of knowing your sugar consumption and getting it to half that amount per week. Small changes can lead to huge health wins.
Emily Countryman is a board-certified health coach and owner of Ideal Wellness located at 2639 172nd St. NE Suite 104 in Smokey Point/Marysville. She can be reached online at www.idealwellnesswa.com or email@example.com.