The information below for KNOW YOUR NUMBERS is found on WebMD
Cholesterol – is the fatty substance that naturally occurs in the blood. It is composed of HDL, LDL and triglycerides. Total cholesterol is important as well, however the individual values of HDL, LDL and triglycerides are more important. Total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL (mg/dL is milligrams per deciliter of blood – the nomenclature for measuring any substance in the blood) is best.
HDL – high-density lipoprotein, is the good fat and research says protects the heart – above 50 mg/dL is best.
LDL – low-density lipoprotein, is the bad fat , less than 100 mg/dL is best.
Triglycerides – is fat in the blood from digested foods and are impacted by eating sugar and white flour. Less than 150 mg/dL is best.
Fasting Blood Glucose – measures the amount of glucose in your blood typically after an 8 hour fast. A value of less than 100 mg/DL is acceptable.
A1C– this is your body’s average level of blood sugar over a 120 day cycle. Less than 5.7% is best.
Blood Pressure – is a measurement of the force applied to the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. Above 140/90 taken on 2 separate occasions is considered high.
- systolic – pressure when the heart beats and the arteries fill with blood (top BP number)
- diastolic – pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats (bottom BP number)
Normal for an average non athletic male is 18 – 25%.
Normal for an average non athletic female is 24 – 31%.
A complete breakdown of acceptable percentages of body fat can be found on WebMD . Working to reduce your body fat, not just your weight, will help in the preservation of your muscle on your quest to be healthy.
Underwater weighing (water displacement)– while the most accurate in measuring body fat, this method is the most inconvenient and the most costly. You have to find a facility to do this (and those are limited), schedule an appointment, change into swim wear and oh by the way you cannot be claustrophobic at all (something they failed to tell me until I was in the lab – but I sucked it up and went thru with it – how bad could it be..huh). Measurements and weight are taken on land. You are put in a basket (ok not the technical term), told to blow out all the air in your lungs (impossible) and submersed under water a couple of seconds (which feels like minutes). This is repeated multiple times, some calculation are done and an average body fat percentage is determined. Not a great experience for me but…just me!
Body fat Calipers – most convenient however this is a tool and method that you cannot do alone. There are 3 sites where a skin fold needs to be taken and measured using the calipers. The back of the arm, the lower abdomen and the top of the thigh – so you have to partially undress for this method but it can be done at home. The skin fold pinches are measured multiple times and then averaged to give you an overall body fat percentage based on a chart. This again is not 100% accurate as the location of the skin fold pinches will always be slightly different each time. This method should always be repeated by the same person to eliminate any “testing bias” introduced by how this person used the tool. Again this is just a measurement to help you gauge if you are going in the right direction – preferably down in body fat.
Remember consistency is key, life is going to happen, so plan your work and work your plan!