What is "Healthy?"
Macroholics and Being “Healthy”
Let me give you our working definition of “healthy” based on a combination of the relevant definitions of “healthy” and “health”.
Something is healthy if It is indicative/promotes/is conducive to the state of being free from illness or injury.
We regularly employ 5 working metrics that provide, in our opinion, the best indication of health that are reasonably “easy” to measure accurately:
1: A BMI of 18.5 - 24.9
2: A fasting blood sugar less than 100
3: A resting heart rate of less than 90 BPM
4: A total cholesterol of less than 200, LDL less than 100, and HDL more than 60.
5: Blood pressure less than 120/80
Next, here are the 5 “healthy” controllable lifestyle factors we encourage/prescribe at Macroholics:
1: If your BMI is over 24.9, targeting a weekly loss of 0.5%-1% of your total body weight. (1-2 pounds/week for a 200 pound client)
2: Getting 20% or more of your calories from protein (varies significantly by goal/individual)
3: Getting 45% or less of your calories from carbohydrates (varies significantly by goal/individual)
4: Getting a minimum on 20 minutes of exercise 3+ days/week
5: Getting 7+ hours of sleep regularly
Now to explain. While there will be a lot of information, links, and studies to follow, if you’d like data and studies to support one of the above figures or recommendations, please don’t hesitate to ask.
“Healthy” is so much more than numbers and every situation should be critically, thoroughly, and thoughtfully evaluated based on the needs and goals of the unique individual. Make no mistake, the number you see on the scale (or any health metric) does not define you as a person and the number you see there shouldn’t determine your self worth.
Despite those potential negatives, we love using the scale at Macrohoilcs! We use the scale as a tool. We refer to it for guidance and direction in our approach regularly as a measurement of progress for one simple reason:
It provides one of the strongest, most readily available, objective and direct metrics of our health.
If everyone could wake up, stretch their arms, and step into a BodPod, DEXA scan, or Hydrostatic tank to accurately measure their body fat percentage really quick before brewing their coffee, that would be nice. But we can’t.
The majority of people in first world countries already have a scale in their bathroom and a smartphone in their hand. We believe that one should align their methods with the tools available or concede likely defeat in your goals before you even start.
At Macroholics, we form our official stance on different subjects based on three things:
1: The data available
2: An objective point of view
3: Multiple lines of direct evidence.
The one that tends to draw the most criticism is BMI. Please hear this loud and clear:
1: You can potentially be overweight and still be healthy.
2: Percent body fat is, in most cases, a better indicator of health than BMI
Problem is, accurate body fat measurements are hard to come by and very expensive. (Here’s a link to my article on that.) On top of that, the link between body fat percentage and BMI is way stronger and more accurate than most people think that it is and in general, BMI serves its intended purpose very well. (Another article i wrote.) Are there outliers/inaccuracies for a portion of the population? Absolutely! That said, the quantity of “I’m overweight but i’m healthy” individuals it’s much, much less than most people realize.
For the average person, there is only a small window where one can be technically overweight (BMI above 24.9) and still be healthy based on the other remaining metrics of health that we use (blood sugar, resting HR, cholesterol, and blood pressure). If you think that’s you and you’re convinced that an overweight/obese BMI is the “best” weight for you, I would encourage you to reflect on a few things:
1: Take into consideration that according the the American Heart Association being overweight/obese is a risk factor for heart disease even when other risk factors are absent.
2: The number of years spent overweight or obese appear to ”'add up”. (study)
3: “Nearly 40 percent of the deaths related to high BMI occur among the people who were overweight, but not obese.” (link)
4: Your other metrics of health.
Regarding my 4th point, I encourage you to “prove” to yourself that the other risk factors are absent before just assuming so because you generally feel well. You can do that by getting a quick health screening to determine if that’s actually true. You could very well be right. But most of the time, people are surprised.
Getting all 5 points above tested is easy and relatively convenient. Even without insurance it can typically all be done for less than $150. If your health isn’t worth $150, i’d encourage you to take a close look at what is.
Let’s look at the facts:
Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for most of the CDC’s top 10 causes of death including heart disease (#1), cancer (#2), stroke (#5), Alzheimer's (#6), diabetes (#7).
Conclusion: Despite some social stigma around the issue, It’s safe to assume that for the vast majority of people, the pursuit of a normal BMI is one of the “healthiest” things you can strive for.
As mentioned before If you’d like data or studies to support anything mentioned please don’t hesitate to ask me for them.
Now that you understand the general concepts that form the foundation of our program and it’s recommendations, I’d like to tie it all together with the official mission statement of the Macroholics Nutrition system:
“Our primary purpose is to facilitate a sustainable program you can execute anywhere, always, and forever in order to achieve and maintain a healthy and lean body.”
Thanks for reading!