How To Find Out If You Are Really Overweight

Vernon Coleman

Try The Pinch Test
When doctors want to find out how much fat there is in someone's body they sometimes use specially designed calipers to do the measuring.

You can use a simple version of this technique yourself! The big advantage of it is that it will enable you to find out which parts of your body contain the most fat.

Just pick up a lump of flesh between your thumb and forefinger and see how much space it takes up. If you try this test with the flesh on the back of your hand you will see that there isn't much fat stored there. But if you try the same test around your waist you will probably find that it is a very different story. Fat deposits vary from site to site around your body.

When you use your thumb and forefinger for this test you are, of course, picking up two layers of skin and two layers of fat. (Since human skin is fairly thin you are effectively holding two thicknesses of body fat). So, in order to get an idea of the thickness of your body fat at that particular point on your body you have only to halve the distance between your thumb and your forefinger.

You can do this measuring yourself. Don't squeeze until it hurts. Just make sure that you have a firm hold on the flesh you want to measure. Then, using a ruler, measure the distance between the skin of your thumb and the skin of your forefinger.

You can do this test all over your body.

If you want to do this test to get an idea of whether or not you are generally fat then the best place for the test is probably the triceps muscle at the back of your upper arm. You can also try measuring the amount of body fat at your waist, on the back of your legs, on your thighs, hips and buttocks.

If the thickness of your skin and under skin fat exceeds half an inch then there is probably too much fat there. Since the `pinch test' measures a double thickness of skin and fat this means that anything more than one inch thick means that you have too much fat.

If you can pinch more than an inch then you need to diet!

Try The Mirror Test
Take off all your clothes and stand naked in front of a full length mirror. You should be able to tell whether or not you are overweight - and where the excess weight is - simply by looking at your reflection!

Try The Tape Measure Test
1. Measure your chest with a tape measure.
2. Measure your waist with a tape measure.
3. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. If you are a woman and the answer is 0.85 or more then you need to lose weight. If you are a man and the answer is 1.00 or more then you need to lose weight.

Try The Ruler Test
1. Take off all your clothes.
2. Lie flat on your back.
3. Rest one end of a twelve inch ruler on the bottom edge of your rib cage and the other end on the top end of your pelvis. If the ruler lies firmly on bone (with no flesh touching it in the middle) then you don't have a fat tummy. If, however, the ruler bobs about (particularly if you breathe or laugh) then you probably need to lose weight - and your waist is probably one of the places where you have got most fat stored.

For practical advice on losing weight read Food for Thought by Vernon Coleman, published by EMJ Books. Food for Thought is available from the shop on this Web site.

`...(Vernon Coleman's) no-nonsense approach to all foods makes finding your way through the nutritional maze that much easier.'
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`...advice on vitamins, minerals, healthy drinking, losing weight and much more. If you're worried about what you eat, this will tell you what to avoid.'
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Copyright Vernon Coleman 2005