Watch your Waistline! (What’s your “WHR?”)

Last week I was looking for a beige dress. When I passed by one of the shops I frequently buy from, I saw racks of dresses with a come-on tag. “50% off on your second dress!” So I went inside and picked a few pieces in my usual size, one of them was a beige dress.


Inside the dressing room, the sales lady assisted me in zipping up the dress, “Ay ma’am, masikip, ikuha ko kayo ng medium.” To that I replied, “Ay, huwag na.” Then she pressed on, “Pero sayang ma’am naka-sale kami ngayon.”


I thanked her with a smile as I sadly left the dressing room.


So why didn’t I buy the dress? Because I refuse to buy new clothes when I’m not in my usual size. Maybe some would say, “You should have just bought the small and try to go back to your size. It will be your incentive.”


Let me tell you the two-part logic behind this practice, something I’ve been doing since 1990, after I gave birth to our first born.☺


1. Don’t buy clothes when you’re not in your size. Come up with your healthy yet comfortable size as your reference. Anything smaller than that might be impossible to sustain and you’d just be setting up yourself for perennial frustration. Once you’ve determined that, make it your threshold. That means going beyond that is a signal that something has to be done. Improve your diet which is where 80% of the results come from, and do more exercise.

And do not, I repeat, do not buy new clothes to accommodate your growing size. Imagine this. If every morning you struggle to fit in any of your clothes as you rush to beat the traffic, then you end up looking like suman and consciously covering your mid-section throughout the day, I think you would be compelled to do something. Resist the urge to buy new clothes and let vanity motivate you to do the right thing.

2. Don’t buy clothes in your ideal size and hope that it will be your motivation to lose weight. Why? Most of the time a lot of smaller sized clothes end up unused in closets, so it’s a waste of precious money and closet space. Second, buying something (especially if you enjoy shopping) already gives you gratification. Depriving yourself of this gratification will add to your motivation to go back to shape immediately. Remember, we are wired to be loss averse, and losing on this opportunity to purchase something will have a greater impact when it comes to directing ourselves to do the right thing.



Just to clarify, I bought maternity clothes during my three pregnancies, of course. But after my maternity leaves, I didn’t buy new sets anymore. I just wore my first trimester maternity clothes while I worked on getting back to my non-maternity outfits.


It might be such a bad timing to remind you now to keep your size as you hop from one Christmas party to the next and enjoy all the sweets and other rich delicacies you continue to receive as gifts. I’m also “there” right now. But it might actually be the right time so we can put a little caution as we enjoy all the festivities.☺


Another suggestion to avoid deviating from your ideal size is to just watch one measurement. Watch your waistline! Here are the reasons why, and they are not just for vanity’s sake but really for health matters as well.


  1. The waistline is the single best marker of high risk internal fat. The BMI (Body Mass Index) does not give you information on the distribution of fat in your body.


  1. A big waistline signals too much visceral fat, the fat around our abdominal cavity where important organs such as liver, pancreas and intestines are located. This fat plays a dangerous role affecting how our hormones function.


  1. We all need some amount of visceral fat but according to numerous health studies, too much of it increases our risk for the following:

a. Type 2 diabetes

b. Heart disease

c. Breast cancer

d. Colorectal cancer

e. Alzheimer’s disease

f. Musculoskeletal disorders


  1. Watching our weight may not be very effective because sometimes the weight gain registered on the scale might just be because we drank too much. On the other hand, a few pounds lost might just mean that we’re nearing dehydration. Besides, muscle weighs more than fat.


  1. It is easier to carry around a measuring tape compared to a weighing scale.


  1. The waistline increase is not easily observable by the people around us, especially when we know how to choose our outfits. But it is something that we can track confidentially and we should. It takes a while before our arms, legs, face and chin start to look bigger for others to notice. By that time, it means that we’ve already increased our waistline significantly that we may be tempted to resort to dangerous fad diets and procedures. So let’s watch our waistline in order to nip in the bud unwanted weight gain.





As our guide, let’s keep this in mind. Our waistline should not go beyond 2x our height. That means that our Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHR) should not be more than 50%



This is how we compute for it. If your height is 5’3” (or 63 inches), your waistline should never go beyond 31.5 inches – i.e. 63 divided by 2 = 31.5, that’s a WHR of 50%


However, please take note that this is not yet the ideal WHR. It is the limit, and if you go beyond that, you are at risk for the diseases stated above.



For your WHR goals, please refer to the table below.


Source: Average of various charts from fitness websites.

Obesity is a major health concern. Society has tiptoed around it too much that it is not politically correct to point out if someone is overeating or not taking care of his/her health. It’s taboo to say the word “fat.” And this has probably helped in the rise in obesity.


I’ll let you in a secret. Sometimes during the Sunday mass after my communion prayer, I would do something weird. I would watch the communicants and count with my fingers the number of people with protruding abdomens. I always come up with a 30% estimate of overweight people in my sample size.


Guess what, according to the National Health and Nutrition Survey done in 2013, three out of 10 Filipinos are overweight! I was thrilled to read this because it confirmed the 30% findings of my unscientific surveys! But of course I was sad to see the worsening state of health in our country, registering a big jump from only 16.6% in 1993.


In the US, the situation is worse. Seven out of 10 are overweight, ranking number one in the world.


So as we prepare for our Noche Buena and Media Noche, let’s also think of our loved ones’ health. What Waist to Height Ratios (WHR) should we aim for in 2018? What meals should we add and subtract from our menus in order to make those ratios more achievable.☺


I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a WHR below 50% for the entire family! wallet-icon






  1. Watch tomorrow’s FQwentuhan. My special guests are Financial Literacy authors and speakers Randell Tiongson and Marvin Germo. We will talk about Christmas spending and losing inches around the mid-section. It’s a fun interview so please join us at 12 noon.



2. Marvin and I will speak about Living a Brighter Life after Preparing Ahead on January 12, 2017 in Frabelle Business Center, Makati. Registration starts at 12:30 PM.


3. Want to know your FQ Score? Take it today. Click link to take the test. http://tinyurl.com/FQTest



Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.


ATTRIBUTIONS: Images from TheOutCallSpa, Fitness Freak WordPress, CartoonStock, Pinterest, Wikipedia, Crunchyroll, used to help deliver the message of the article.