Wed | Sep 26, 2018

SHAPE is more vital than WEIGHT

Published:Tuesday | January 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The World Health Organization has announced that there are now more overweight than underweight people on the planet. Most of us are well aware that there are many health problems associated with excess body fat as health authorities everywhere are encouraging everyone to get to their ideal body weight. But the truth is that your body shape and body composition are actually more important than just your body weight.

Body shape

As individuals, we all have our own unique shapes, and that should be recognised and appreciated. But there is one part of the body - the waistline - where the accumulation of excess fat is a medical disaster.

Excess of this unhealthy fat around the waist and upper body is called truncal obesity and increases your risk of a long list of disorders: Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, fatty liver

disease, gall bladder disorders, and even some cancers. Men with a waist measurement greater than 39 inches and women whose waistlines are more than 34 inches have an over 500 per cent increased risk of many of these problems. This kind of fat is not just sitting under your skin; it enters organs like your liver and pancreas and damages them. It causes inflammation and hormone imbalance.

Your scales can be misleading. Even the popular body mass index (BMI) is an unreliable test. One study revealed that over 60 per cent of men with a normal BMI had truncal obesity when their bodies were scanned using an MRI. This is typical of the seemingly thin male or female with the big belly. Our ladies (and men) will be happy to know that fat on the hips and buttocks is not medically harmful. As my Ounce of Prevention song explains, "The fat around your waist will shorten your life in a haste."

Body composition

Your body composition is also of more importance than your body weight. In other words, the ratio of fatty tissue to lean mass (muscles, organs, and bones) is critical. The key measurements of body composition are percentage body fat and lean body mass. You could actually be underweight but obese.

Simple devices can do these measurements. They pass a tiny electrical signal through the body to analyse its composition. This analysis provides a readout of your body fat, truncal fat, lean body mass, and even an estimate of your body's biological age. The test is safe, simple, inexpensive, and available from many wellness practitioners and coaches. Keeping your truncal fat within normal limits improves your health profile.

Because each body is unique regarding body fat percentage and metabolism, you can optimise your weight-management programme by having these measurements done. A trained wellness coach with these measurements can design your ideal fat-loss programme.

Personalise your protein

Your lean body mass will tell how much protein you need to eat each day in order to change your shape and weight while feeling great. Healthy, convenient, and affordable protein foods like meal-replacement shakes make it easy for you to personalise your protein intake. There are over 40 different published medical studies that demonstrate that meal-replacement shakes are extremely safe and effective for fat loss. The shake is an important part of the Cellular Nutrition Programme I use for body fat and weight management. Fish, lean organic poultry, beans, seeds, soy, and nuts are other useful protein choices.

Have more fruit and vegetables

Health authorities are now recommending that for optimal health, men should eat over nine and women over seven servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Medical research demonstrates that plants, especially fruit and vegetables, contain a vast array of powerful health-enhancing substances. Lots of fruit and vegetables along with adequate healthy protein is the key to healthy fat loss.

Live a healthy lifestyle

Attention should also be paid to exercise and stress management as these will greatly facilitate weight control while enhancing overall health and well-being.

Exercise stimulates your metabolism to increase the burning up of stored fat while providing many other physical and mental benefits. The combination of exercise and adequate protein is great for your muscle mass. Begin slowly with your exercise plan, aiming to get up to 30 to 60 minutes of activity four or more times per week.

Remember that stress is not the things and circumstances around you. Those are called stressors. Stress is what is happening inside you. It is your reaction to those external

stressors. Many self-help stress-management tools are readily available. I particularly recommend yoga as it wonderfully combines exercise along with stress relief.

Our worldwide team of wellness coaches can provide all the information and support you need to get your body in its best shape.

- You may email Dr Vendryes at or listen to An Ounce of Prevention on POWER106FM on Fridays at 8:15 pm. Details of his books and articles are available at