Know YOUR numbers

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Some time back, I watched a YouTube video of a TED talk by Daniel Amen. He spends lots of time looking at brain scans as part of his clinical practice. I definitely recommend this video.

Later, I checked out one of his books on Overdrive from my library’s ebook collection. His books talk about steps to take to make your brain healthier (many of them also include making your body healthier). I didn’t actually read all that much of it, but one thing he mentioned stuck with me.

Know YOUR numbers

One of those numbers to know is your BMI or body mass index. This is calculated using your weight and height. It’s then used to classify people as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. If you just Google ‘BMI’ an easy BMI calculator will come up.

I think he mentioned some other numbers as well, but they were based on lab tests that are harder to get without seeing a doctor. The one that stuck in my mind was BMI. (Knowing your numbers from lab tests and knowing that they mean is a good idea too.)

Being overweight is bad for your brain. Obese people actually have smaller brains. Yikes!

Knowing your BMI means you can’t lie to yourself about your weight. “Maybe I have an extra couple of pounds” becomes “Crap, I’m 30 pounds overweight.”

One argument you’ll hear from people if you mention BMI is that it’s not the most accurate measure of whether or not one is overweight. For example, muscle weighs more than fat and body builders can weigh more but still be healthy. Are you actually a body builder?  No. I didn’t think so. Then lets move on from the excuses.

Sure BMI might not be a perfect reflection of your health, but the weight ranges that are healthy for any given height are probably a good ballpark figure for most of us to aim for.

I’ll be the first to admit that when I calculated my BMI after reading this tip, I was not best pleased. I have a bit of ‘baby weight’ still hanging around.

The cool thing is that acknowledging a problem is the first step to fixing it.

I’m not totally onboard with all of the stuff Daniel Amen says, but I do think he makes some good points. I think knowing your numbers is an excellent tip that could be applied to anything from health to business to personal finance.

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