What gets measured gets managed. The tough task of body measurements is a necessary part of tracking weight loss. This is how I am measuring up.
My first month’s body measurements tell the tale of years of self-neglect
“The tell of the tape”, they call it. Everything in our lives gets a measurement. From the day we are born we are measured for length and weight. Finally, at the end of our lives, we are measured for suits and coffins.
Body measurements are another way to tell me what I already know: I am out of shape and headed for severe health problems. When matched up against my weight, they make perfect sense. I am heavy, therefore I am wide around the waist. As I lose weight, I should lose inches, too.
Right now I am carrying most of my excess weight in the worst areas for a man my age. Facts show that men graced with the “spare tire” around their waist increase their health risks considerably. As a result, I am upping the odds that I will have a heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Losing weight is not enough
I have to be aware of more than just pounds on the scale. It is important to note where I am losing weight, too.
Taking regular measurements to see how weight loss is reducing my body mass as a whole is great. But I also need to stay attuned to where I may still be carrying extra weight that can have a negative impact on my health.
Everyone, it seems, has something of a gut. There are a few people I see with flat abs and narrow hips and hardly an ounce of excess fat on them. But I’m seeing fewer and fewer of them these days. And even fewer in my age group.
Being older and overweight presents real challenges in a return to health and fitness. The body doesn’t work like it used to. Old injuries hamper performance. Recovery is longer. There seems to be less energy available in order to get into shape.
And I know it won’t get any easier for me as more years roll past. So the time for me to work the hardest at losing weight and inches is right now. Every day moves the goalposts further away.
Typically a healthy person will have a decent proportion between the size of their upper body and their waist. This is especially true in men, where broad shoulders and narrow waists convey impressions of health, vitality, and sexiness.
However, my proportions are completely reversed. My belly is the largest measurement on my body, a major red flag. I don’t start broad and taper down. The opposite effect is the case. Rather than an Adonis, I look like a pear:
This makes life harder in many ways, from buying clothes that I can look good in, to climbing a set of stairs. It is also emotionally hard because of the impact being overweight has on self-esteem.
Body measurements measure success
Just like a starting weight on the scale, the tape measurements of my body proportions are uncomfortable to record. But they will provide the starting point from which I can make some judgement regarding progress.
I want to measure twice a month, or basically at the end of each Jack Gets Fit Diet iteration.
I will be looking for three basic things with each measurement session:
- When I lose weight, do my body measurements decrease?
- If my measurements decrease, are they decreasing in the most important areas?
- While my belly and waist measurements are decreasing with weight loss, are my chest, arm, and leg measurements increasing with exercise?
- Finally, do I look less like a pear and more like a triangle?
When I began my weight loss program on Monday, June 3rd, 2019, I weighed in at 254.8 lbs. These were my measurements:
The measure of a man
Being overweight has long suggested a lack of self-control, discipline, vitality, or even moral character. While I am only able to judge myself, I know I have felt that way about myself for a long time.
I want to lose weight to gain self-control and discipline. It will give me more energy and I will be able to do more things. It will certainly improve my quality of life and reduce the chances I will die from heart disease.
If I don’t want to put in the effort for a few weeks to get to that point, maybe moral corruption is a problem I have anyway, regardless of weight.