Wednesday, 18 August 2010


So far it's going well, I’ve been walking mostly. The walking has been an interesting experience for me, I come from Cambridgeshire which has landscape similar to Holland. I can walk for miles and miles on the flat, it's what I grew up with. We are now living in Wales which has these strange bumps in the ground, I'm told they're called 'hills.' The picture below illustrates my point! (If you click on the pictures they pop up bigger.)

My chosen walk is round a lake and back again, it includes uphill and downhill both ways, the lake itself is 1.3 miles/2.1 Kilometre (km) around. The total distance is very roughly 4.5 miles/7.2km and takes me 2 hours! Today is walk no. 3. I'm going to walk every two days until I get used to it, then every day, then walk some jog some, then jog the whole thing. When it gets easy you change the routine, at the moment I have to stop half way up the first hill because I've never done this before, but I will get there... oh yes!

If you want to do walking take some water with you, at least 500ml, it's a lifesaver! I don’t even mean the expensive, filtered through a Unicorn water, just run a tap and fill a bottle! Sip it slowly and move it around your mouth to get your gums wet, don't gulp it down then start walking again as that can make you feel sick.

And now on to one of my bugbears: BMI, the 'Body Mass Index'. This is a common measurement used by Doctors and Gyms to get a snapshot of health. It uses your height and weight to determine whether you are healthy or not, to work out your BMI: Divide your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in metres (m), then divide the answer by your height again, to get your BMI. The one I use is here, it's the NHS website so pretty reliable!

The thing about BMI is that it works on the concept of a mythical 'Average human', it is quite loose and subjective and not to be taken as a definitive measurement. A Rugby squad were measured on this scale and most of them were found to be 'Overweight' or 'Obese'. For those of you who don't know what Rugby is, the average player looks like this...

Here is Wales player Gareth Thomas, as you can see the BMI measurement has him in the 'Overweight' category. If my husband lost all of his body fat i.e. 0% and thus got down to below the 'Bruce Lee' levels (the man had 7% body fat, he was a bit extreme) he still only just makes it to the border of 'Healthy' and 'Overweight'. It's a good starting point but don't rely on it too much.

Which brings me to Body Fat and Visceral Body Fat, these levels are the ones you really, really have to keep an eye on as these are the danger points! 'Body Fat' is the soft squishy fat you can see on the outside, on its own it's a good sign that maybe you ought to get out more. Where it is on your body also plays a factor, the NHS website has a great deal more detail here. You do, however, need fat. Every cell membrane in the human body is composed of fat, and it’s also how the body repairs itself. If you are in hospital and need drugs the fat acts as a slow release mechanism to distribute the lifesaving treatment gradually. If you had no fat then any treatment that was given would overdose you immediately, you would be getting the whole lot straight away rather than gradually whilst the body adapts to the treatment.

'Visceral Body Fat' is the really bad one, it's not visible on the outside. It is the percentage of fat that is stored around organs and is metabolized by the liver, which turns it into blood cholesterol. One of the ways to check is through a 'Bioelectrical Impedance' scale.  The higher the visceral fat level the greater chance there is of having a high blood cholesterol. 'Bioelectrical Impedance' is just a tiny, harmless electric current that goes through your body, as muscle is more dense than fat it can measure the percentage of both by the resistance it gets as it goes through. Really clever! We bought one of these scales a few weeks ago, they're getting really cheap, I'm using this scale for my Fat, Visceral Fat and weight measurements for the Blog.

Another easy way to keep an eye on things is the good old fashioned tape measure! I'm using tape measurements with all these fancy electronic gizmos to check if my body parts are reducing! To take tape measurements here are two handy guides, the first one is for women and the second for men:

Bust: Measure around the chest at the nipple line, but don't pull the tape too tight.
Chest: Measure just under your bust
Waist: Measure a half-inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist
Hips: Place tape measure around the biggest part of your hips
Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh
Calves: Measure around the largest part of each calf
Upper arm: Measure around the largest part of each arm above the elbow
Forearm: Measure around the largest part of the arm below the elbow.

Neck: Standing, measure your neck at its largest girth, right over the Adam's apple.
Shoulder: Standing, either as a straight line from largest points on each shoulder across the chest or as a girth measurement all the way around the body.
Bicep: Measure at its largest girth, relaxed with arms at side, relaxed arm bent, flexed arm bent or all three.
Forearm: Measure at its largest girth just below the elbow
Chest: Standing, measure with breath out just above the nipple.
Waist: Standing, narrowest point or at the midway point between top of the hip bone and the bottom of the rib cage.
Hips: Measure at the largest girth, where the bum is protruding the greatest.
Thigh: Standing, measure at the largest girth, just below the bum.
Calf: Seated if you are measuring yourself or standing if you have a partner, measure at its largest girth.

Well, that's all for now. The next Blog will probably talk about stretching, it's a very good idea!


  1. Hi Lucy. Sorry, I'm late in checking this blog out, aren't I? (What can you expect, though, from someone who just took three attempts to spell "blog" properly...?)

    I doubt I can give any advice that you don't already know, so I'll just say good luck to you! :D *hugs*

  2. There's an article on the BBC that acknowledges that the BMI model doesn't fit everyone.

  3. Found another article on the two types of fat and how having some of the softer fat padding the abdominal area can mean that your visceral fat is reduced. Also interesting is that it says exercise has a greater effect on visceral fat than subcutaneous (soft) fat.