Week 2 Body Composition
Your body composition is a factor that may affect your fertility. For our purposes, the most important factor to bear in mind is your waist to hip ratio measurement. We will be looking at this in detail at your initial consultation and follow up appointments. I have included the instructions again in the Lesson downloads. This ratio is important because oestrogen is stored in body fat; if you have excess fat around the middle, it may affect your fertility. The ideal waist to hip ratio is 0.80 or below for women and 0.95 for men (men aren’t as curvy as women!). You can track your progress here.
Body Mass Index (or BMI)
You can calculate your BMI here Your BMI is a basic indicator of whether you’re at a healthy weight. Try to keep your weight within BMI guidelines and be sure to maintain a healthy muscle mass. Muscles burn fat, and that helps with fat loss. Avoid crash diets at this important time. Instead, focus on gaining and maintaining lean muscles.
The more lean muscle you have, the more fat you’ll burn, even whilst you’re sleeping. If you’re pressed for time to spend on exercise, focus on muscle-building activities rather than lengthier cardio-focused workouts. While a fat-burning class at your gym will help you burn fat, you’ll get much longer-lasting effects when you do weight-bearing exercise. These are optimal for fat-burning and are essential if you’re carrying extra weight, especially around the middle.
Every pound of muscle burns 75 calories per hour whilst a pound of fat burns only 8 calories per hour. Because muscle weighs more than fat you may not see much of a change on the scales, but you’ll definitely notice your trousers fitting differently!
Healthy body fat percentage is between 20% and 34% for women or 8% and 20% for men. Fat cells store oestrogen, so if you have proportionally too much body fat, it can create an imbalance in your hormonal system and can cause problems with ovulation. It bears repeating: building lean muscle will help you burn fat, which in turn will help your hormonal system regulate. Aerobic exercise like walking or swimming is excellent for your overall health but won’t improve your chances of getting pregnant any faster.
There are two types of fat cells in the body: adipose fat, which is the fat under your skin which keeps you warm, and visceral fat which collects around your middle. Visceral fat often accumulates because of stress and poor blood sugar control and is rarely connected to diet. Our liver releases fat and sugar in response to stress, so that we can fight harder or run faster than we normally would. However, modern-day stress doesn’t make us run or fight… instead the fat and sugar are absorbed and stored near the liver in the form of visceral fat.
If you have fat around the middle (sometimes known as “muffin top”) then think about your stress levels and how you could reduce them..