A ‘normal weight’ or a ‘good BMI’: most people would be very pleased with that. Even your GP or dietician do not always see cause for concern if you still fall neatly within a healthy BMI bracket. But unfortunately, it does not automatically mean that you are also metabolically healthy: your actual body composition is much more important when it comes to metabolic health.
Why is that?
You may have heard of the term TOFI: thin on the outside, fat on the inside. This refers to being that ‘normal’ weight or having a good BMI, but at the same time having more fat in the abdomen and around the organs, also known as visceral fat. This is often accompanied by reduced muscle mass.
How can I tell this is the case for me?
Instead of BMI, your WHtR (waist/height ratio) is a better indication of your metabolic health. So how to calculate?
- make sure you stand up straight in front of a mirror
- measure your waist with a tape measure on bare skin just between the lowest rib and the top of your pelvic bone, this is on or just below the belly button.
- don’t pull the tape measure too tight and make sure it runs straight
- now divide your waist circumference (in centimetres) by your height (in centimetres) and round off the result to 2 decimal places, this is your WHtR
Is your result 0.5 or lower? Absolutely perfect! But is it over 0,5? Then chances are you are metabolically unhealthy and there is room for improvement
For example: I am 169 cm tall and my waist circumference is 75 cm. So my WHtR is 0.44: no visceral fat for me!
Click here for a more detailed explanation and table
What are the risks if my WHtR is too high?
The increased visceral fat contributes to chronic inflammation in your body and to insulin resistance. It can also lead to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease , cardiovascular disease, some types of cancers, PCOS and other medical conditions.
So what should I do?
The best way to reduce visceral fat is to cut out all sugars, processed foods and seed oils and adopt a keto lifestyle consisting of healthy wholefoods. But you also may want to consider increasing your muscle mass with strength training: more muscle mass means a better functioning metabolism.
Do you need help making healthy changes to your lifestyle? Why not book an advisory consultation: a 30 minute video call, free of charge! We can discuss your health goals, I will analyse your current lifestyle and you receive advice with regard to keto coaching.