Why Waist Measurement Matters

One of my biggest concerns with my weight was my waist circumference. My waist measured 109cm (42 inches) when I started on my journey. This put me at a much higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. An ideal waist measurement for women is 88cm (35 inches) or less, and men is 102cm (40 inches) or less. Anything above this is classed as abdominal obesity.

All the extra weight I was carrying was fat, which was surrounding all my vital organs like my heart, liver and pancreas. I had been taking tablets for high blood pressure for a couple of years, and for my cholesterol for at least 6 years, so my body was already showing signs of issues caused by this excess fat around my abdomen.

According to research, reducing the size of your waist to a healthy size will increase your longevity as well as reduce your risk for other diseases, such as dislipidemia, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Even if you are relatively smaller everywhere else on your body, the increased weight around your waist will still lead to other health problems.

How to Measure Your Waist Size

Along with wanting to lose weight, I was desperate to reduce the size of my waist to prevent any other health issues. So I started measuring my waist, hips, bust, thighs and upper arms along with weighing myself 2 – 3 times a week. I used a Body Fat Calculator to assess this. My body fat percentage a year ago was 43.3% which is very high, and now it is around 28% and in the healthy range for my age.

I have found that taking those measurements is more incentive to lose weight than just weighing on the scales alone is. I can also see that some days I’m quite bloated with my waist ranging between 84cm on a good day to 88cm on a bad day! The “bad day” is usually from working night shifts or having a day or two of eating and drinking unhealthy food – but we all need a day or two like that occasionally.

Image credit for feature photo: Pixabay on Pexel

If you are interested in starting to do the same measurements, there’s a great website called Calculator.net that has a number of health and fitness calculators that are easy to use, including a Body Fat Calculator. If you don’t want to go to that much trouble, try writing down your waist measurement and weight once or twice a week.

The way your clothes fit will also be a good way to gauge whether you’re losing weight off your waist. I’ve had to totally replace my whole wardrobe twice in the last year, down to my underwear! It’s so rewarding to be able to see the results, and know that I’ve done a lot to improve my health by reducing my waist size.

Here are my measurements before and after:

October 2018 / October 2019

Weight 83.5kg / 66.1kg

Waist 105cm / 84cm

Hips 109cm / 95cm

Bust 104cm / 90cm

Thighs 69cm / 59cm

Upper arm 30cm / 27cm

Before 83.5kg October 2018. After 66.1kg October 2019

How to Reduce your Waist Size

The following six steps have been shown to effectively reduce your waist size:

  1. Cut out all sugar, especially drinks that have been sweetened. A high intake of sugar leads to the liver getting overloaded, resulting in insulin resistance. Because your body can’t cope with so much sugar (fructose) and stores it as fat in your abdomen and liver.
  2. Increase your protein intake, because this reduces cravings and boosts your metabolism. High quality protein is important, such as that found in eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, seafood, meat and high quality protein supplements (whey powder).
  3. Cut carbohydrates, particularly highly refined ones found in cakes, sweets and white bread. Some people cut carbs drastically leading to ketosis (the popular keto diet) which reduces your appetite and leads to rapid weight loss. My brother has done really well on this diet, while I found just dropping all the rubbish like lollies, cakes, muffins etc. was enough for me to be effective. I find that if I have any of those foods now I get a migraine so that just proves to me that this type of food is bad for my health.
  4. Eat food high in fibre, particularly vegetables. This helps to fill you up, and aids digestion. One of the most effective steps I took was to amp up my vegetable intake, replacing a lot of the carbs with vegetables. Vegetables contain plenty of vitamins and minerals which also help our health and wellbeing. Other food sources of fibre include fruit, cereals and legumes. Adding a fibre supplement like Metamucil would be effective as well.
  5. Exercise, in particular aerobic exercise such as walking, running, swimming and cycling. Spot exercises like sit-ups do not work! Improving your core muscle strength will help you overall but it might not necessarily reduce your waist size unless you are doing aerobic exercise. I can’t do heavy exercise but I have found that regular walking has been effective for me.
  6. Count your calories using a macro counter. I use an App on my phone to record everything I eat, and from there I can see my macros (percentage of protein, carbs and fat), and calorie intake. I try to keep to between 1500 – 1800 Kcal per day, and make sure my calories in is lower than my calories out. I still track this every day even though my weight has been stable for months because I find it helps me stay accountable to my health goals.

Another benefit of reducing your waist size is that clothes fit better! I always found it really hard to find clothes that fitted my apple shaped body and was always trying to hide my belly with tunics etc. It’s now so much easier to find clothes that fit, and my body has a better figure (not quite an hourglass shape though!)

20 thoughts on “Why Waist Measurement Matters

  1. Good job! In the beginning, I took my measurements. I know it is important and can be a better indicator of health than weight and BMI. I was in the obese category back before my cancer diagnosis. Then, breast cancer hit like a freight train and I knew I had to get healthy again after treatments. I ate better and started running. I lost 90 pounds. But my cancer meds left me with a swollen liver and bloated middle. Waist measurements were frustrating me, so I stopped. Now I don’t really worry about any of it. I run and I eat healthy. I weigh myself occasionally to ensure my weight isn’t creeping back up, and it does from time to time. That just makes me readjust and reassess my choices. I am constantly striving towards healthy. Thank you for sharing your journey. I am so glad you found your healthy path too. Fantastic! You are an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Patricia, thanks so much for your feedback. I think you’re an inspiration too! You’ve taken a negative experience and made changes towards a healthier lifestyle and it’s paid off. It’s great to find what works for you and stick to it. Well done on your recovery from cancer and healthy lifestyle choices.

      Like

  2. Good job! In the beginning, I took my measurements. I know it is important and can be a better indicator of health than weight and BMI. I was in the obese category back before my cancer diagnosis. Then, breast cancer hit like a freight train and I knew I had to get healthy again after treatments. I ate better and started running. I lost 90 pounds. But my cancer meds left me with a swollen liver and bloated middle. Waist measurements were frustrating me, so I stopped. Now I don’t really worry about any of it. I run and I eat healthy. I weigh myself occasionally to ensure my weight isn’t creeping back up, and it does from time to time. That just makes me readjust and reassess my choices. I am constantly striving towards healthy. Thank you for sharing your journey. I am so glad you found your healthy path too. Fantastic! You are an inspiration.

    Like

  3. Hey There. I discovered your blog the ussge of msn. This is
    a really neatly written article. I will make sure to bookmark
    it and return to learn extra of your hellpful info.
    Thank youu for the post. I’ll definitely return.

    Like

  4. That’s some nice transformation if I look at the pictures. I can relate a lot to this blogpost. The scariest thing is when u read about diabetes and what it can do to your body. I lost 110 pounds myself, so I know you have a lot more energy as well now. What’s the hardest part for you that you had to overcome? For me it was definitely fast food.

    Like

    1. Hi Jonas, that’s fantastic weight-loss success. Good on you. The hardest part for me was dealing with my own self doubt. I’d failed so many times before and had very little confidence that I could do it. There were people telling me I’d put it back on anyway. Once I saw results, and managed to keep the weight off, it was easier. My biggest temptation will always be chocolate. Even though it now gives me a migraine, for some reason I still crave it at times. Thanks so much for your feedback, regards Christina

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I found the weight crept on over the last ten years and before I knew it I’d gone up a size in clothes and felt a bit podgy around the midline. I’ve been on a journey to slowly lose 10kg and have passed halfway – moving more, eating less, stressing less, and making healthy choices wherever possible has made all the difference. You definitely feel better when you’re within a healthy weight range don’t you? Congrats on the how much weight you’ve lost and for being brave enough to share your measurements and your helpful hints on how to achieve it.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

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    1. Hi Leanne, it’s definitely easier to put it on than take it off! All those steps you’re taking will make a difference. I really only made small habit changes and dietary changes. If you stick with it over a period of time and don’t fall back into old unhealthy habits, it’s the answer to long lasting weight loss. It’s easy to stick with because you feel and look much better. Good luck with your weight loss and thanks for your feedback, regards Christina

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