Today, I have had the pleasure to meet some famous Hollywood stars on the occasion of a private Health Club meeting in Burbank, and have been asked several questions about the Body Mass Index.
First, everyone should know that the BMI is a grossly inaccurate, simplistic way to tell you that you are obese. Your mirror is a better coach in this respect. Diverse impact journal studies of association between obesity and mortality were inconclusive whenever based on the BMI, precisely because of the BMI measurements. There is a slight relevance to your cardiovascular health, but even that is, to a much larger degree, the result of your genetic predispositions.
Second, BMI attempts to account not only for you subcutaneous fat cells but also for the visceral, or inter-organ fat. Most of your body is water and not fat. Inner fat is difficult to measure, but some techniques are more successful than others. The most accurate is probably Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) which is a similar device to the airport body-scan – painless, and precise. Many of you have probably purchased BI scales, which work on “Bioelectric Impedance,” wherein your body functions as a conductor-resistor. These are not terribly accurate, unless you preserve the same conditions every time: the same body temperature, empty stomach, i.e. no drink or meal several hours prior to the measurement. The oldest, most accessible and accurate is the measurement via the skinfold calipers.
The areas for measurement by calipers are the same you have to look at when considering your bodyfat in the mirror: the abdomen (around the navel), the upper arm (triceps area), the inner thigh (pelvic area), the lower back, and the top of the kneecap. You can always conduct a little “caliper test” with your thumb and index finger. If you cannot, you probably need to see me. (please consult my article on liposuction in the SCIENCE section of this BLOG)
What surprised me today was how many of the famous Hollywood stars are on a permanent road to starvation. Starvation is the road to destruction. Many so-called “diets” walk around the news and food journals, fluffing their skinny feathers. You should know that once you reach the point of no return, when your caliper just will not do, liposuction is the only alternative to a strenuous training routine combined with a scientific diet (not starvation!). Why? Liposuction actually takes away the fat cells out of your body. No diet will do that. You have a certain number of fat cells. They may shrink as a result of your diet, but they will be there, and when your diet days are over, your hungry fat cells will want their share back…
That is not to say that healthy eating and moderate exercise are not helpful. Even if you decide not to have liposuction, you can significantly improve your cardiovascular health, gain some muscle and lose some fat, you have time and determination, and are willing to put in the effort and expense requisite for such adventure. However, they will be much more helpful after you have had the liposuction from the most problematic areas: your heart will not be stressed, your body will adjust faster, you will not regain fat in the area, and, most importantly, the most problematic of these problematic areas are usually the places where you started to put on fat first. By a quirk of nature, these are precisely the places where you are going to lose it last – without liposuction. Why? Your body-type and structure, which boils down to your genes, has it so. Some of us put more fat on their buttocks, some on their thighs, some on their abdomen. Fat is very important as a storage of energy and insulation (more on this topic later) and depending on where the ancestors of our ancestors lived (i.e Sweden v. Italy; India v. Korea; Canada v. Mexico) our bodies needed to preserve either fat for energy or fat for insulation or both…
Today, when you embark on an exercise program, you will not lose fat “topically.” You can swathe your body around your arms, put rubber and plastic bands around your torso – this will not make you lose fat topically. If it seems so, such a loss is visually apparent because of the loss of water in the area. Fat will be re-distributed proportionately, and in concurrence with your genetic information. The only way to fight your genes is to have liposuction.