At 45-years-old, I'm fitter, leaner, stronger, and slimmer than I was at 35. And I'm much healthier than I was at 25. I rarely jump on the scale as my waist size in jeans tells me all I need to know.
But I've been pushing my food and fitness for the past few months with a six pack coming in for summer, so I dusted off the scale and climbed on.
At 5'11" (180cms) and 80kgs, I'm right where I want to be. Until I found out my BMI reading is 24.7 – putting me in the healthy range but just below overweight. Damn it.
Are you erring on the unhealthily overweight spectrum? Statistics suggest you probably are, but here's how to be sure.
Your Body Mass Index (BMI)
Unless you're an athlete or regularly training to bulk up, BMI is still a good measurement for the masses. Take your weight (in kilograms) and divide it by height (in metres), then divide it by your height again. The 20-25 range is healthy, 25-30 is overweight, and 30+ is obese.
Your Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR)
Your waist circumference divided by your height is your WHtR, which is a good measurement of body fat distribution. For the ladies and gents, a .5 reading and above puts you into the overweight category.
You can't do five push ups
Drop for five push ups - two seconds on the down phase until your nose is one inch from the ground, then one second on the way up. Can you do five? If lack of strength and the beer gut or visceral fat is holding you back, you just might be overweight.
Your body fat percentage is too high
Jump on a high-tech scale, get a DEXA scan, or use some old school skin calipers to obtain your body fat percentage. The healthy range is 22-30 per cent for women and 10-22 per cent for men.
Your reflection makes you unhappy
Get naked at home, and check yourself out in a full-length mirror. Do you like what you see? How do you feel looking at the naked you? It was reported one in three UK men cannot see their penises when they look down … if this is you, it's time to admit it's time to drop some kilos.
You are fit … but
You go to the gym and hit the weights and smash out some cardio. However, you still carry those pesky kilos because you don't practice portion control and uncork the wine with passion. Research shows you still face a higher risk of heart disease.
You can't do a plank for over a minute
Core strength is the foundation of a lean, healthy body. If you're carrying excess fat, it won't take long for your core muscles to give and your lower back to start aching from inheriting the load. You should be able to hold a standard plank for one to two minutes.
You don't care about the cost
I've heard moaning over the cost of the gay marriage vote, the by-election(s), and the banking sector's royal commission. All three of these are dwarfed by the cost of obesity to the Australian public in the next 10 years – $87.7 billion (thanks PwC).
You take the escalators
I'm a professional people watcher – I love to observe within my surroundings. I often walk through Wynyard Station in Sydney's CBD, and I would estimate three out of 10 take the stairs while 70 per cent take the escalator – the exact percentage of overweight Australians. Those stairs are analogous to your choices... banana bread or a real banana? Water or wine? Netflix or lace up the Nikes?
I've done the fat-to-fit journey. It's challenging. It's about sacrifice. It sucks. But, it's rewarding when you come out the other side with a new life. Yet society is doing little to nothing about it when headlines from this week are:
- Australian Obesity doubles in a decade and two-thirds of us are overweight, report claims;
- 'Scary' prediction for US kids: 57 per cent could be obese by age 35;
- Bad diets affect brain by decreasing self-control, study shows; and
- 'Alarming' rise in cancer rates driven by diabetes, obesity.
Research shows we're even tricking ourselves into thinking we're not fat when the average individual is overweight, so you no longer think you are – you just think you're average. Well, average is now
Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his "Cut The BS" diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.