Monday, March 30, 2009

What does Healthy Look Like?

What does healthy look like to you?
Should Black women measure their fitness the same way White women measure fitness?
Is the BMI an accurate measure of Health?

As I get closer and closer to reaching the my weight loss goal, I have to wonder what does it mean to be healthy. Should I measure my fitness by the BMI, should I calculate my ideal body weight, should I measure it by how I look and feel, should I measure it by risk for diseases like diabetes?

First of all, there are several problems with using the BMI as measure.
Kate Harding at created the BMI project. The BMI project is a slide show of women with varied BMI's. Take some time to check it out, you may be surprised by what "overweight", "obese", and "morbidly obese" look like. In Kate's BMI project the pictures are mostly of white women. Imagine if this project was recreated with pictures of women of color. In our culture it has always been acceptable to have a little extra meat, "in the right places."

I wish I could do a BMI project with Black Women (maybe I will in the future). But for now here are some pictures of me and my health status according the BMI.

"Overweight" (click to enlarge image) "Obese"

So again, How do you measure your Health?

I have always questioned the validity of the BMI. About a year ago I was Obese, well at least according to the BMI. I did not think I fit into the category of Obesity but I did believe that my weight was putting me at high risk for certain dieases. I wanted to decrease my risk for diabetes specifically which is common in my family.

After working out for a year and getting down to 162 lbs (I am 5'7), I am still technically overweight, my BMI is 25.37. A healthy range is from 18.5 to 24.99. Right now I feel that I am at pretty healthy. I know I have some toning to do and a few more pounds to lose.
So, at this point I am choosing to ignore the BMI. Clearly it is not perfect because it does not take in account muscle. But I do think it is helpful to use as a starting point. I recommend consulting your physician to determine your risk for disease and health status.

I would also like to mention that a colleague of mine is currently looking at AA women's perception of shape in a formal research project. So I am sure she will have results to share with the public soon.

I'll search online and find some alternative ways to measure your health, I'll let you know I find!


What are thoughts?

What do you think about the BMI?

Do you think the BMI applies to black women?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lifestyle Change # 1: A Salad a Day.......

For the next couple of months I'm going share some lifestyle changes that I have already made or will be making in the future. Your commitment to health should revolve around several small changes in your lifestyle. This will help you develop a healthy style of living that you can be committed to for life.

" A Salad a Day....."
Well I can't guarantee that a salad a day will keep the doctor away, but it is a easy way to get a couple of servings of veggies in. It is also a small step you can take to eating healthier over all. Eating at least one salad per day with 2 cups of lettuce and other veggies will help you add fiber, vitamin A, and Vitamin C, potassium, and other nutrients to your diet.

According to the Food pyramid you should eat 3-5 servings of veggies per day.
Here are the serving guidelines, each bullet = 1 serving
* 1 cup of leafy vegetables
*1/2 cup of other vegetables, cooked or raw
*3/4 cup of vegetable juice
Okay so how do you eat a salad everyday and not get bored???

First I recommend heading to your local Costco or Sam's Club and picking up 1lb of Taylors Baby Spring Mix. You can get a pound of this for about 3.99. I recommend this particular lettuce because it doesn't spoil as quickly as the bag salad. 1 lb will probably last you a week and half.

Next you need to decide what you need to keep your salad full of flavor. I add crasins, walnuts a little blue cheese, and rasberry vignagerette dressing. I also add any additional veggies I have in the kitchen. I recommend adding at least 2-3 other raw veggies if you can. Also, add meat to the salad to make it meal.

This was my first week trying out my "salad a day" committment. It worked out pretty well. I saved money because I brought my salads to work for lunch. It was really cost effective. My ingredients lasted the whole week. So it's a great way to save money and eat healthy!

Thinking about trying "Lifestyle Change #1 ?"

Here's what you need....

1. Taylors Baby Spring Mix
2. Craisins
3. Walnuts
4. Blue Cheese
5. Rasberry vingarette dressing
5. Add extra veggies and meat!

Keep you salad exciting by substiting ingredients; tomatoes, eggs, chicken, feta cheese (instead of blue), almonds, etc.

Or Please share your favorite salad recipes!!!!

What lifestyle changes did you make to lose weight????

Monday, March 16, 2009

Put a "WIG" on it

The summer is approaching fast, and it's time to go hard in the gym for the next couple of months. Get motivated so you can be "FLY by JuLY"!

If you still haven't learned to care for you own hair don't let it hold you back any longer. You have options you can get braids, a weave, or put a "Wig" on it. Now, I have never been really been in favor of wigs or weave but Ladies you got to put your health first. So if that means getting a sew-in or sporting a wig a couple of days a week then do just that. Oh, and these days you don't have to worry about your wig falling off. Consult with your beautician about getting a lace wig. One of my girls has one and she loves it!

I came across this site called The site seems to be geared toward women of color. They will help you find the perfect wig for your skin tone. Here is some basic info from about lace front wigs:

Whether you are experiencing hair loss, or just want a fabulous new look, a lace front wig is a great hair option. Once a secret among celebrities, lace wigs are now widely available and affordable.

A lace front wig is a wig made with human hair tied to a lace base. The two types of lace used in lace front wigs are French lace and Swiss lace. A "lace front" wig has lace at the hairline that is secured with liquid adhesive or tape. When the lace is adhered to your own hairline, it gives an invisible hairline, making it look as though the hair is growing out of your scalp."

Be sure to still care for you hair under that wig or weave though. You want those tresses to stay healthy so when you are ready to go back to wearing it natural or relaxed.

Anyone have a lace wig? Share your experience, does it make exercising easier?

If you have any other tips about hair exercise please share!

*I know my blogging is sporadic but I am still working out this whole PhD program stuff. One day I will get it together. Thanks for you support!