When you exercise to lose weight, your waist may shrink, but your weight and body mass index (BMI) may not improve. If this frustrates you, let us pass on some information that may put your mind at ease, and continue on the path to improved diabetes numbers. You are working out so you are building muscle. Gaining muscle weight can offset any loss of fat—especially early on in the weight loss process. Your waist circumference may be a better measure of success early on in the weight loss process.


Recently some large medical associations gathered some of the bright minds in heart health, diabetes management, and weight loss science to debate the merits of measuring a person's waist size in a medical examination. More than measuring the success of weight loss, they wanted to know if a shrinking waist could indicate that a person was improving their heart health and reducing the odds of confronting diabetes-related damage down the road.

The panel agreed that waist circumference, compared to measuring BMI, provides a unique indicator of body fat distribution which can identify patients at increased risk for obesity-related cardiometabolic disease. However, measuring a patient's waist size is really just a starting point. 

To accurately estimate a patient's risk of developing diabetes, diabetes-related complications, and heart disease, doctors still need to calculate a patient's BMI and perform other tests. Therefore, measuring your waistline may not be very useful to your doctor. However, it may be encouraging to you if you have been working hard to improve your health.

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