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Keeping Tabs on Your Body

Before you start training, you need to know more about your physical shape. You already know your age and height; now it's time to learn about the rest.


Your Weight

Wearing just your underwear, step onto a reliable scale and scribble down your weight. Don't be frightened by the number. Having an accurate weight reading is important because it gives you a starting point and will help you track all the great progress you'll make with your new healthy eating and activity program. When you weigh yourself, make sure you're always using the same scale, so that you will get accurate results.

Your BMI

BMI stands for Body Mass Index, which provides one indicator of whether you are at your ideal weight. Use the table below to figure out your BMI. This measurement, which is calculated by dividing you body weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared (weight (kg)/height (m2), is used to identify health risks. Please note that it is a good tool in most cases, but it is not for children, the elderly and very muscular people, because it doesn't take muscle or bone weight into account. First, find your height in the column at the left. Move across the corresponding line until you find your weight (in pounds or kilograms). The number at the top of that column is your BMI.

Your Waist Circumference

Just as important as your weight is your waist circumference, which is how wide you are around your mid-section. Abdominal obesity, or having a lot of fat around your mid-section, is a significant risk factor for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke, so it's important to keep an eye on this number. You have a healthy waist circumference if your measurement is below the following numbers:

Keeping Tabs on Your Body
European/Caucasian, Sub-Saharan Africans, Eastern Mediterranean, Middle Eastern102 cm (40 inches)F88 cm (35 inches)
South Asian, Malaysian, Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Ethnic South and Central Americans90 cm (35 inches)80 cm (32 inches)

It's very important that you take this measurement correctly. To learn how to measure properly, read the Healthy Waists article by the Heart and Stroke Foundation or watch the quick video on this site that shows you how to do it.

Your Calorie Intake

For one week, keep a food log, documenting what you eat and the amounts. This will help you get a sense of where (if anywhere) changes need to be made. You might think that you eat very well already and don't need to keep track of your food intake. Give it a try anyway, at least for a week. You might be surprised by your results. This log will also be helpful information for your nutritionist/dietitian or diabetes educator, so bring it to your appointments with them.

Here's a guide to help you track the amount of calories in your favourite foods.

Your Exercise

For one week, keep track of the exercise you do, particularly the how hard (intensity) and how long (duration) your activity. Be as precise as possible; you'll need to know where you're starting from in order to get where you want to go. Writing down your exercise over time can be a great motivator, too. You'll be able to track your progress, whether it's longer workouts or walking that extra mile!

To help you along, here's a form that you can fill out each week to keep tabs and stay on track. Print it out each week and take your forms to your healthcare professional's appointments. You can look at your progress together and see when you've reached a healthy weight.