You’ve likely heard that obsessing over the number on the scale is a great way to sabotage weight loss. Now, a growing body (no pun intended) of evidence says weighing yourself isn’t even an accurate way of telling if you’re gaining weight.
Instead, studies suggest that you should be using a…measuring tape.
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Here’s what you do: instead of stepping on a scale, take a tape measure and wrap it around the area of your belly that’s roughly two inches above your hips. Business Insider did some digging on this subject and found that your waist circumference is more accurate in determining your risk of developing diabetes, having a heart attack and dropping dead.
Unlike your body mass index, which doesn’t take take into account your body fat or muscle composition, your belly measurement does.
According to Business Insider:
In general if you’re a woman, you want a measurement that’s less than 34.5 inches. If you’re a man, a number below 40 inches is ideal.
A measurement that’s higher than those isn’t a death sentence, but it has been strongly linked with a higher risk of several serious diseases including type 2 diabetes. A study published in March in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggested that a high waist circumference may also be linked to your risk of heart attack.
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So, what’s the connection between a large waist circumference and poor health? Scientists are still trying to figure that out, but the consensus seems to be that the fat inside your body may be keeping your internal organs from functioning properly.