Setting a Weight Cap
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Setting a Weight Cap

Written by Nicholas Jacobs

People are always setting goals for themselves for fitness or diet related items in their life but have you ever thought about creating a weight “cap”? I know what you are thinking “what the hell is a weight cap?”. Let me explain.

This entire concept started in my head a few months back when I ran into an acquaintance who I had not seen in about 6 years. He and I used to work together for about a year. I ran into him at a store and he approached me and said “Hey, do you recognize me?” I looked him direct in his face and panic set in when I realized I HAVE NO CLUE WHO THIS PERSON IS. He knew my name and he approached me. It was a very awkward moment for the both of us. He stated his name and then it all started to come together. When we worked together he was about 150 lbs and when I ran into him at the store he was about 300lbs. The extra weight he was carrying totally changed the shape of his face and his overall look.

I back peddled and tried to relief some of the awkward moments in the conversation but he dismissed the elephant in the room by saying “yea when you knew me I was skinny and I have now put on a lot of weight”. The entire experience got me thinking about what point a person who is noticing a weight gain in themselves say “enough is enough”. Being a fitness professional and someone that has struggled with weight gain I know first hand that losing weight and getting in shape can be the hardest thing a person can do. That weight loss becomes even more difficult the larger you become. People who become obese can no longer do the higher intensity workouts that it takes to really burn calories. Instead they have to constantly manage their diets and complete less effective workouts until their larger frames will support a more high fat burn workout.

We all have at one point set a goal for our bodies. I want to lose 10 lbs by the summer, I am not going to eat sweets for a month, I am going to go to the gym 3 days a week, etc. Those are all great but what about setting the opposite type of goal. What about saying to yourself even if all hell breaks loose in my life and I begin to put on weight I won’t allow my body to go past this weight. I hear from people all the time that they didn’t realize they had gotten so big. It seems like they turn around and they are very overweight. Instead of letting that happened you should manage your body more closely and when you do start to slide down the hill you don’t allow yourself to slide all the way to the bottom. Instead, you catch yourself half way down and the journey back to the top isn’t so hard.

I recommend coming up with a weight or a pant size in your head. Let’s say John is most healthy at a pant size 32. He could set a cap for himself of 35. That means if he does gain weight he won’t allow himself to go past a 35 pant size. Once he gets to that point it would be time him him to begin leading a healthier lifestyle to get back into his healthier zone. Jill may feel her best when she is 130lbs. She could set a weight cap at 180lbs. If Jill begins to get to that 180lbs mark she also start to live more healthily. This will prevent her from getting into an obese weight range for herself which will make her weight loss journey twice as hard.

Come up with some health “caps” and put them in a journal, on your bulletin board or in your phone. Approach your body just like managing a business. It is a daily check and balance to ensure things don’t get out of hand. If you are struggling to determine what your cap should be you can either just listen to your body and determine at what size you look and feel the best OR you can determine your overweight BMI (body mass index) and don’t allow yourself to go past that range.

Here are some additional “cap” setting tips:

What is the difference between being overweight and being obese?

• Being overweight means you have an excess amount of body weight, compared to set standards. This excess weight may come from muscle, bone, fat and/or body water.
• Being obese means you have an excess amount of body fat. Everyone needs a certain amount of body fat for stored energy, heat insulation and other functions.
• Men with more than 25 percent body fat and women with more than 30 percent body fat are considered obese.

How do I know if I’m overweight or obese?

• To find out if you’re overweight, you can check a weight-for-height chart.
• You can also find your body mass index (BMI), which is a commonly used way to measure overweight and obesity. To find your BMI, multiply your weight in pounds by 704.5, then divide the result by your height in inches and divide that result by your height in inches a second time. As stated earlier, a BMI of 30 or more indicates that someone is obese.
• If you are overweight or obese, you can improve your health by losing weight.

Waist Size Caps?

Many studies are now indicating that waist size can be a better indicator of health than weight and BMI- body mass index. Here’s what Dr Oz recommends:

“Your waist size should be half your height. For an average size female, that’s less than 35 inches; less than 40 inches for a male. Those numbers are obesity thresholds. Ideally, I’d like you less than 32 and a half inches if you’re a woman and less than 35 inches if you’re a male.”

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