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29 April 2009 @ 12:06 pm
Body stuff  
shelleycat and i spent part of last night discussing the post from yesterday. She thought 165 as a nominal goal was nuts, then i showed her the BMI calculator, and from there we found the ideal weight calculator which gives you results according to a couple different systems. According to that my ideal weight is 151 lbs, with a range of 129 to 174, going by BMI. There's an alternate scale that claims my ideal weight is 166 lbs, and another that claims 155 lbs. She claimed it was unrealistic, but when we tried plugging in her stats for comparison she ended up right near the middle of her ideal range.

She ended up deciding it would be better to pull out a tape measure and just measure me, since she thinks that's more important than the exact number of pounds (and i seem to remember some other people expressing agreement with that philosophy.)

The results of that were: Chest - 41.5", Upper arms - 12", Stomach - 37.5", Waist - 36.5", Thighs - 21.5"

I think my earlier claims about having a bulge in the middle are pretty well validated given that even shelleycat was surprised enough by the apparent discrepancy between the visual difference between my stomach and waist and the measured difference that she went back and remeasured my waist, and got the same results. What was especially ironic is that at the time i was wearing a pair of shorts that claimed to have a 32" waist, but which not only fit, they kept trying to actually fall off =P (Clearly women's clothes aren't the only ones with messed up measurements, though at least the guy's scales seem to be mostly internally consistent.)

So anyways, in her considered opinion my goal ought to be to lose 2 inches from my stomach and 1 inch from my chest, and gain one inch on my arms.
Coraacoraa on April 29th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
One other thing is that tightening the muscles in your stomach can have a huge effect on your waist, independent of weight loss. When I don't exercise/do sit-ups, my waist is more bulgy and less defined even if I'm really thin, whereas I can actually weigh more but have a more defined/less bulgy waist if I'm working those muscles.
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 29th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
If by "waist" you mean "stomach," then yes, i'm sure it does ;)

I've got moderately strong abdomen muscles and probably ought to do something to work them out, there doesn't seem to be a clear notion of what exactly the best way to do that is. Or rather my very limited amount of research has revealed a lot of very differing claims :)
Coraacoraa on April 29th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
I don't distinguish between my waist and my stomach. That is, I take one measurement around my bust, one around my middle, and one around my hips, since that's the way that patterns are designed and clothing is fitted. (Well, and also a bicep, thigh, back, and hip to floor measure, but those aren't as relevant for the discussion at hand.)

(For what it's worth, the position of measurements for sewing doesn't necessarily follow strict anatomical definitions, because strict anatomical definitions don't necessarily help all that much with getting clothing properly fitted -- and your 'my waist is where my pants fall' really doesn't work generally; I have one pair of pants that sits literally five inches higher than the other, because one is fitted to my waist and the other sits on my hips. Here's a fairly common example of a chart demonstrating where to take sewing mesasurements: you can see that the waist is well above the indicator lines for 'standard rise' and 'low rise' pants. Image here. The image is of a female form, but the measurements are more or less the same for both genders. Anyway, this may explain why your "waist" measurement doesn't match what your pants say -- and it explains why people always argue with the way you measure your waist. :D

And before you go 'why do sewing people make this so difficult?' at me, consider that it's just a specialized jargon for a specialized set of tasks, and having a jargon standardized for the task of making clothes is much easier than trying to measure your clothes by judging where your internal organs are. ;) )
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 29th, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
Sewing is Serious Business!!! ;)

I'm all for determining stuff that goes outside your body based on what your body is actually shaped like rather than via organ placement though :)

However it should be noted that girls are different(tm). I've never owned, or even seen when buying pants, a pair of guys pants that go around the stomach/belly/not-my-waist/whatever. And i've only ever seen guys wearing such pants in comedy sketches where it's intended to make the guy look like a dork.

Of course i think the style looks a little weird on girls too, but certainly nowhere near as odd as it does on guys.
Coraacoraa on April 29th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
Right, that's my point -- the line measured as 'waist' is not where your pants fall. It's not meant to be, because pants can be designed to sit in different places. It'd be like defining 'leg length' as 'how long my skirt is supposed to be.' It makes no sense; pants can sit at different places, and skirts can sit at different places. That's why the measurement is independent of 'where the pants go.'

Men are built differently than women, but every instruction for measuring men that I've ever seen has said to take the waist measurement at the narrowest part of the torso -- and I've helped my mom measure my brother and dad for pants that she was making, so this isn't theoretical. The point of measuring waist and hip is, roughly, to get the narrowest and widest part of the lower torso. The chest and waist measurements together give you a comparison of the narrowest and widest points of the upper torso.
DonAithnen: blankdonaithnen on April 30th, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
I'm so confused :(

My pants go around my waist. My waist is where my pants go. I've never had any pants that didn't go there.

Pants are an item of clothing worn on the lower part of the body from the waist to the ankles. A belt is a flexible band, typically made of leather or heavy cloth, and worn around the waist.

My waist is the narrowest part of my torso. (36.5 vs 37.5.) That's why the pants go there, they'd fall off otherwise. It's not at the same location as my stomach, either denotationally or connotationally. It's about two inches(?) below my belly button.

Measuring my waist is theoretically important for fitting clothes, cause that's where my pants go. (Although the 32 is not 36.5 thing throws a bit of a spanner into that theory.) Measuring my stomach/belly is important for cosmetic reasons.

Or are you talking about things from a sewing perspective again and not from a "real" perspective?
Coraacoraa on April 30th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)
I think your idea of what a "real perspective" is and mine are so far apart as to make this conversation basically impossible. :) (Which is to say, I don't think there is a "real" perspective. You just got confused when I said 'waist' to mean what you thought I ought to call 'stomach,' and I explained myself, and you brought up pants, so I explained sewing terminology, which is what's relevant for clothes. That's all.)
Coraacoraa on April 30th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
(Or, to put it another way: the waist is the narrowest point on the body, which on you is where the pants go and on me isn't, and on me is where the stomach is and on you isn't. It was the conflation of "waist" with "pants-place" that was confusing me about what you were saying.)
Coraacoraa on April 29th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
(Also, the muscles in question run from the bottom of my ribcage to the top of my groin -- the so-called six pack -- so even if I did measure waist and stomach separately, strengthening that part of the body defines and flattens both parts. It's just general abdominal muscle tightening. And rock climbing gave me genuine ab definition back when I was doing it even though I was simultaneously gaining weight, which is how I know that it greatly affects my appearance.)
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 30th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
Well yes, we all know that muscle is denser than fat, so you can can weight but lose volume at the same time :)

I wish i could do rock climbing again =/
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 29th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
I should like to point out that the stomach is approximately at the natural waistline, so your "stomach" measurement should more likely be "abdomen."
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 29th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
Uh, is not? My waist is where my pants naturally go =P
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 29th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
The stomach is directly below the ribcage. http://home.comcast.net/~WNOR/skel&wallsabd.htm also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superficial_human_anatomy

The natural waist is the smallest part of the lower abdomen. Where pants sit on men is usually the top of the hips.

Edited at 2009-04-29 07:52 pm (UTC)
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 29th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
"Waistline refers to the horizontal line where the waist is narrowest, or to the general appearance of the waist."

"Trousers are an item of clothing worn on the lower part of the body from the waist to the ankles"

The narrowest part of the area between my hips and the bottom of my ribcage is the area right above my hips. That's why the paints go there, so they don't (normally) fall off :)
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 29th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
Regardless, the stomach is NOT in that location. The stomach is by the lungs, tucked up in the ribcage.
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 29th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
We seem to be in an argument about anatomical denotation vs. physiological connotation. (I'm probably using that word wrong too =)

I know where the actual organ is located, but nobody says "OMG i'm full!" or "My stomach hurts!" and then starts rubbing their lower ribcage.

If i just start calling it "belly" instead (which the dictionary actually notes as a synonym for "stomach," by the by) will you cut me some slack about it? =P
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 30th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
Maybe. ;) But you'll never win a measurements argument with a pair of seamstresses.

(But, uh, when my stomach hurts, I do rub to the spot between my sternum and diaphragm, because that's where it hurts. If I've got gut pain, I say gut pain. You realize my being a medical professional *and* a seamstress means you've got double trouble, right?
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 30th, 2009 02:07 am (UTC)
No! I won't! Because the seamstresses are giving me conflicting definitions of what a waist is, so i can't possible by right not matter what i say! ;)

And okay, all the people who don't think medical stuff is Serious Business will pat their lower abdomen when referring to their stomach, even if they know where the stomach is technically located ;)
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 30th, 2009 02:16 am (UTC)
No, I think coraa and I are in basic agreement.

Jargon is very useful and results in fewer misunderstandings. ("belly pain" vs "right lower quadrant pain": the latter will be what your doc says in his note so the next doc who reads it will know what he meant.)
Kirinkirinn on April 29th, 2009 09:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, for me, weight is pretty much entirely useless as a measure of fitness, because it's barely changed by more than the margin of error since, like, high school, regardless of how in or out of shape I am. I realize some people would kill me for that feature, but it doesn't mean I shouldn't try to stay in better shape. Really, the main change I notice when I *am* in better shape is increased endurance at whatever activities I'm using to get in shape. I probably also lose flab here and there, but it seems to trade off near exactly with muscle weight, so it's hard to tell in a quantitative way. I haven't really tried systematic circumference measurements, but my pants size doesn't seem to change a whole lot either. Maybe a little.
Brie2gouda4u on April 29th, 2009 11:45 pm (UTC)
In case you're curious, the lowest of the three weights is around where I am (for my height/gender, of course). I think it's kind of ridiculous to call that "ideal" - I mean, I'm not saying I'm unhealthily thin, but I think it would be completely reasonable for me to weigh another 5-10 pounds. Weighing 5-10 pounds less, on the other hand, would be getting me in to too thin territory. If x + 10 == reasonable and x - 10 == unreasonable, then x is not an ideal weight. In my opinion.

By the way, it sounds like no bad thing to have someone think you look thinner than you are :-)
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 30th, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
Is the lower one for you the BMI one? Or the second (Dr. somebody-or-other) one?

In my case the Dr. one was about 10 pounds higher than the BMI one, but for shelleycat the Dr. one about 10 pounds lower.

And yeah, there are advantages :) And hopefully between the two of us we can settle on something sensible :)
Brie2gouda4u on April 30th, 2009 12:45 am (UTC)
The bottom of the BMI range is lowest, but the two Dr. ones are lower than the "ideal" BMI. The third Dr. one was lowest of the three - about 15 pounds less than the ideal BMI.
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on April 30th, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
The ideal body weight is derived from actuarial tables, not from anything having to do with the real, human body. Anybody *sane* won't try to get you to your IBW.