“Know your numbers” is a catchy phrase but what does it mean? What are these elusive numbers and why are we chasing them?
We spend a lot of time focused on the bathroom scale. That number is an obvious indicator of good health. Knowing your biometric numbers , however, gives you a deeper, more accurate sense of your true health.
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is more accurate than your weight because it also takes your height into account. A person 6’4 weighing 150 lbs. is very different than a person 5’4 who weighs the same. BMI is calculated with the equation of kilograms/meters squared. The normal range you want to aim for here is 18.5-24.9.
Cholesterol, or lipoprotein, is what your body makes with extra fat. As we know cholesterol isn’t all bad. In excess, bad cholesterol or LDL can build on our artery walls making it hard for the heart to push blood through. Good cholesterol, or HDL, serves as a scrubby bubble or steel wool that can scrub those sticky cholesterols off of the artery walls. Exercise and unsaturated fat consumption will help to increase HDL.
Triglycerides are so low in protein that they aren’t even considered cholesterols. They’re just free floating fatty acids. This can be bad because they too could stick to your artery walls. Keep this and your LDL low.
Your total cholesterol is a combination of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. You want this number to be 200 or less.
Fasting blood glucose is the level of sugar in the blood stream. It gives you a sense for what the body is able to do with the energy it is given. When the body doesn’t use the energy things can get messy. Higher blood sugar levels are an indicator of diabetes. Things that help lower blood sugar levels include exercise and fiber consumption.
I know this is a lot to digest. You’ll have it all under control as long as you watch your numbers. Stay informed and know your body.
Noga is a Life Coach at Jones Lang LaSalle.