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When you’re in the weight-loss game, you’ve got all sorts of important information running through your head at all times. Caloric intake, amount of water you’ve drank today, minutes of physical activity you’ve put in – and those are on top of all the other things you’ve got to remember in a day! With so much to remember, it’s easy to lose track of the important numbers. So let’s start a checklist of 5 important numbers that you should know.

1. Cholesterol. High cholesterol puts you at risk for serious heart problems and stroke. Knowing your cholesterol will put into perspective a lot of choices that you may be making day-to-day, as lifestyle, diet and genes all play a part. To find out more about cholesterol, check out this document by the American Heart Association(PDF).

2. Date of last exam. One of the best ways to keep a consistent record of your health is to make sure that you have a health care provider who knows you medically and is advising you on the best ways to prevent diseases for someone your age. Do you need a mammogram, pap smear or a colonoscopy? Peace of mind is just one of the benefits of having a professional to partner with in your quest to stay healthy. So keep track of your exams and make sure you know when it’s that time of year again!

3. Blood Pressure. High blood pressure can go unnoticed for a long time, but while it’s laying low it can actually be doing quite a bit of harm to your heart, blood vessels and organs. You should know this number, whether you suspect you may be at risk or not.

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4. Blood Sugar. Calculating your blood sugar will measure how well your body processes sugar. Obesity, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle all increase you risk of developing type 2 Diabetes, so be sure you’ve gotten your blood sugar checked and always keep a close eye on this number.

5. Measurements. Knowing your measurements can be useful for a number of reasons. One is that it can be a better gauge of progress than “pounds lost”. For example, lot of times folks will notice that the scale isn’t budging but that their pants are fitting looser. And there are newer studies that claim that waist-to-hip ratio is a better predictor of heart disease risk than your BMI. So get out your tape measure today and start measuring!

With all the nutrition facts and ever-changing scale readings swimming through your brain, keeping track of your progress can seem overwhelming. Just make sure you’ve got these key numbers and you’ll be well on your way to another key number – your goal weight!

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