What is an unhealthy dad bod? Has a bit of a derogatory tone to it. It has been used to describe how unhealthy our bodies look as we’ve aged. We’ve become dads and our time and attention has been spent on kids, work, and our spouse at the expense of how we appear. When people think of unhealthy dad bod, they think of the overweight guy, somewhat frumpy looking, picking the kids up from practice. While this is true, there is more to us than whether we are overweight- are we healthy physically, emotionally, financially. The Aging Man aims to obliterate the sad unhealthy dad bod. The Aging Man’s approach to improving our future is to approach the transition holistically.
A holistic approach requires us to eliminate the “dad bod.” The Aging Man strives for a holistic approach that encompasses our physical and mental health, and how we look, dress, and act. That’s what this blog is about, the transition of health, fitness, and lifestyle for the over 45 man to live his best future.
This post will tackle our body appearance as it relates to composition and size.
Body Mass Index and the dad bod
What we look like and how healthy we are physically encompasses weight, of course, but more specifically body mass index or BMI. How much flab, muscle, and the ratio of pounds to height. It’s not just about how you look. Body mass index or BMI is studied in relation to health. The Aging Man is not just concerned with how we look, but also whether we are healthy. For example, you have heard that if you are overweight you are at risk for certain health issues (high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease). If you are obese you are at even greater risk for even more health issues. Problem that I’ve come across in my experiences as a physical therapist is that no one ever thinks they are obese. When people even admit they are overweight they qualify it with “according to the charts but I’m built different.”
Here’s the deal, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (a division of the National Institute for Health) has a BMI calculator and if you are 5’7 and 192# you are obese. If you are 5’7 and 160# you are overweight. Web MD and CDC calculators yield identical results. Keeping it simple, your BMI is a function of your weight and height.
And Me: healthy or unhealthy dad bod?
It was sobering to me to see that I, a physical therapist who exercised occasionally, was in fact classified as obese. Obese. Me, Obese. That’s just crazy. Granted, I was in the lowest category of obese, but that was not a comfort to me. Now, I didn’t look that bad. Especially if I didn’t take my shirt off and wore clothes a little bigger, or a button-down shirt unbuttoned over a t shirt… Ahhh, but my blood pressure was inching up, my back was sore more frequently, and I had to buy some TUMS. The slow burn so to speak..… sound familiar at all?
Waist circumference and the dad bod
Along with BMI is another measurement. If you’ve had a physical for insurance, you may have had a measurement around your belly. This is because waist circumference is an indicator of abdominal fat. Fat around the waist is more metabolically active, is closely related to insulin resistance, and may be more strongly associated with the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes (AHA). The American Heart Association points out studies that are showing that waist circumference may be a more important indicator of health risk than BMI. Both are recommended to be measured for now.
According to the American Heart Association, the ideal measurement for men is 35 inches. A measurement over 40 in. is considered unhealthy and increases your chronic illness risk. Guys, this measurement it is not the waist measurement of your jeans that you let slide down to your hips so they fit. Web MD describes how to take this measurement:
Start at the top of your hip bone, then bring the tape measure all the way around your body, level with your belly button.
Make sure it’s not too tight and that it’s straight, even at the back. Don’t hold your breath while measuring.
Check the number on the tape measure right after you exhale.
Your Action Step
The first two numbers of The Aging Man’s Key Performance Indicator (KPI) chart is BMI and waist circumference. Determine both these measurements now and record them. Make note of the target numbers for waist circumference and BMI. Waist circumference of less than 40 in., ideally 35 in. BMI is specific to you with the calculated number that doesn’t classify you as overweight or obese. You MUST discuss these goals with your doctor. He or she will advise you on the healthiest targets and approach for you and your medical history!
Knowing my BMI classification and my waist circumference relative to healthy numbers were catalysts for finally taking my transition seriously. These two numbers meant more to my motivation than the number on the scale alone. They continue to motivate me. They are concrete targets, they mean something about my current health, and my health future. These two numbers have become part of my personal Aging Man KPI chart.
In the comments below, let me know what you’re thinking about BMI and waist circumference!
Check my previous posts on mindset.
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