Chapter 2 - Assessment


“The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist.”

-Zig Ziglar


The objective of this chapter is to honestly assess your current physical condition, and establish realistic health and fitness goals based on your particular height and frame size.


I’m sure you’re familiar with the “Serenity Prayer,” written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. He first published it in a magazine column in 1951, but he had been using it in his sermons since the early 1930’s. One popular modern version goes like this:



Two things about your body that you just have to accept are your height and frame size. You cannot change them, so serenely accept them.


Jesus said in Matthew 6:27: “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?


Jesus also said in Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.


I used to love my long hair when I was a teenager. It never occurred to me back then that I would someday be bald, but God already knew. That’s something I can’t change, so I just serenely accept it.


At 5 feet 5⅝ inches tall, I am often “looked down upon” by taller men. But I am the height that God made me. That’s something I cannot change, so I serenely accept it.


Psalm 139:13-16 says:

For You formed my inward parts;

You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works,

And that my soul knows very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,

And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.

And in Your book they all were written,

The days fashioned for me,

When as yet there were none of them.


You are a unique creation of God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your Creator. Your adult height and frame size were determined before you were born. They are unchangeable.


However, there are two aspects of your adult body that are determined by you, and not by God: they are your weight and waist size. Here is where you may need courage to change the things that only you can change.


In this chapter you are going to take an honest look at your height and weight to discover your Body Mass Index (BMI); and your waist and hip measurements to determine your Waist-to-Hip ratio, Waist-to-Height ratio, and Waist Circumference.


Our Current Reality


“Almost 30% of People In the World Are Obese or Overweight.” That’s the title of an article on dated June 12, 2017. Studies have linked overweight and obesity to a higher risk for health complications like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, respiratory problems, major cancers and more.”


According to the World Health Organization:

·        Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.

·        39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.

·        Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.

·        41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.

·        Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.

·        Obesity is preventable.


Healthy Weight 2020 is a project intended to open the eyes of anyone who is serious about regaining and maintaining their health: to bring into clear focus some simple truths about nutrition and lifestyle.


Over the course of this video series and on our website,, I will refer to numerous lectures, websites, articles and books. Please keep in mind that I don’t agree with anybody about everything, so even if I recommend a particular book, video, article or website, it does not mean that I agree with everything in it.


I don’t always agree with the World Health Organization, but I do agree that obesity is preventable. So is overweight. I also know that they are reversible, and that is precisely the focus of this initiative – to show anyone who is interested, step-by-step, how to reclaim and maintain their healthy weight, the way God intended.


We all have that friend who can eat anything they want and never gain a pound, but for most of us the struggle to maintain a healthy weight is real and constant. But it is doable, so let’s get it done!


Determine Your Height


The first thing you need to do is accurately determine your height. For years, I thought I was 5 feet 7 inches tall, because that’s what was on my driver’s license. Finally one day I actually measured my height and was surprised to discover that I’m actually a little less than 5 feet 6 inches tall, so the next time I renewed my license I had it corrected.


Don’t go by what’s on your driver’s license or how tall you think you are. Take a few minutes to accurately measure your height. Gather up a tape measure, a pencil, and a small plastic level, ruler or hard cover book. It’s easier to do if you have someone to help you, but it can be done alone.


Stand up straight, barefoot on a hard surface, against a wall or door where you can make a small pencil mark. Set the level, ruler or book on your head. Be sure it is parallel to the floor, and place a pencil mark along its bottom edge on the door or wall. Then measure from the floor to the pencil mark, and that’s your height.


Weigh Yourself


To determine your BMI, you also need an accurate weight. Weigh yourself with as few clothes on as possible.


Establish Your BMI


Now, look at a BMI Chart. If you don’t have one, there is a link to one on our website. Note that this applies only to adults; there are special charts for children.


Find your height in the column at the far left; follow that row across to the right until you come to your weight; follow that column up to the top and you will see your BMI.


As an example, I am over 65½ inches tall, so I round my height up to 66 inches. According to the BMI chart, the “normal weight” range for a person of my height is between 118 and 148 pounds. Marshia is 61 inches tall, so her “normal weight” range is between 100 and 127 pounds.


Establish Your Frame Size


The easiest method to establish your frame size is to wrap your thumb and middle finger around your wrist close to your hand. If your fingers overlap then you are small-framed; if they meet then you are medium-framed; and if they don’t meet then you are large-framed.


A more accurate method is to measure your wrist, then refer to the following chart.



Keep this in mind as you consider your “normal weight” range on the BMI chart. In my case, I am medium-framed, so I figure that my “normal weight,” according to the BMI chart, should ideally fall within the range of the middle numbers. For my frame size, I don’t think I would look healthy at 118 pounds.


If your BMI is less than 19 you are considered to be “underweight.” Don’t despair! I believe that if you follow this series to the end, and adopt the necessary diet and lifestyle changes, your body will gradually and naturally settle at your optimal weight.


Also, keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat. A serious bodybuilder could be at a healthy weight even though the BMI chart says they are overweight. That’s why we don’t depend solely on the BMI chart. You need to take two more measurements while you have your tape measure out; they are your waist and your hips. We’ll start with the waist.


Measure Your Waist


Now don’t go running to your closet to check the waist size of your favorite, best-fitting pair of jeans. The waist size of your pants is not the size of your waist!


My employer provides a free health screening every year. Since my shift is 8:00 to 5:00, I have to attend the screening first thing in the morning, already dressed for work. A couple of years ago I got there and the nurse asked me my height and weight, and I told her; but then she told me that she was going to measure my waist! I was wearing my duty belt around my “waist,” or at least what I thought was my waist.


I said, “Do you want me to remove my belt?” She said, “No.” I was confused, but I complied. She took a measurement between my duty belt and ballistic vest, which was just above my navel, and then informed me that my waist size was 3” bigger than the waist of my pants!  


So, it turns out that your true waist measurement is taken at or just above your navel. And sure enough, as I looked back at pictures from my parents’ and grandparents’ day, I realized that men used to wear their pants pulled up to their actual waistline.


To get an accurate waist measurement, stand barefoot, up straight; breathe naturally; hold the end of the tape measure just above your navel on your bare belly and wrap it around your waist, keeping it parallel to the floor; breathe out, and with the tape measure snug but not too tight, take the measurement. Repeat the procedure, and if you get a different result, do it a third time and average the three results. That is your waist circumference.


Measure Your Hips


Next, measure the distance around the largest part of your hips, the widest part of your buttocks.


Waist-to-Hip Ratio


Now determine your waist-to-hip ratio by dividing your waist size by your hip size. For men, that number should be 0.95 or less, and for women 0.85 or less. If it is higher you have an increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.


Waist-to-Height Ratio


To determine your waist-to-height ratio, divide your waist size by your height. As a general rule, your waist size should be less than half your height.


Waist Circumference


Abdominal obesity, also called central obesity, beer belly, beer gut, or pot belly, is an excess of visceral fat in the abdominal area. It gets packed between the internal organs such as the stomach, liver, intestines, and kidneys. There is an increased risk of disease associated with too large a waist circumference. For men the risk increases with a waist circumference of 40” or larger, and for women 35” or larger. If you are a man and your waist circumference is 40” or larger, you need to lose weight. If you are a woman and your waist circumference is 35” or larger, you need to lose weight.




To quote Zig Ziglar again, “The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist.”


If you are overweight and/or your stomach is too big, you have a problem. You have taken the first step in solving that problem - you recognize that it does exist. Now the next step is to take action - to change the things in your life that only you can change in order to begin to move toward your healthy weight.


To quote Carol Burnett, “Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”


God has done His part. He has designed for you a body that will gradually return to its optimal weight and shape when given the right conditions. No matter how far away you are from your ideal weight, you will get there by patience and perseverance.


Ralph Waldo Emerson said it very eloquently, “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”



Patience and Perseverance


James 5:7 says, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.”


The virtues of patience and perseverance apply to every area of life. Take finances, for example. Jesus had a lot to say about money. In Luke 16:11 He said: “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?


And, in Luke 14:28-30, He gives us a lesson in financial responsibility: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?


A contemporary Christian proponent of financial responsibility is Dave Ramsey. One of his many wise sayings is, “There are no shortcuts to getting out of debt.”


I can testify to that! I can say from personal experience that it requires patience and perseverance. It requires sacrifice and hard work, but it is well worth the effort. It took us three and a half years to pay off all of our debt except our house. It required patience, week by week, month by month, and year by year. But, with God’s help, we got it done.


There are no shortcuts to excellent health, either. The primary goal of Healthy Weight 2020 is to get you into excellent health and keep you there for the rest of your life. Once you get there, your weight will take care of itself.


Let me remind you of a quote by Hippocrates that I shared in chapter one that says, “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” 



Don’t miss this opportunity. There are no shortcuts to truly good health. It may take time, but it will be worth it. It will be time well spent. Whether you need to lose twenty pounds or two hundred, you will never reach your goal if you don’t start moving toward it. As Lao Tzu wisely said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”


Take that step right now. Make up your mind that you will do whatever it takes to get your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, back to a healthy weight and shape.


I don’t know about you, but for me time flies. The years go by almost like months. How will you feel a year from now if you don’t take control of your health right now? I’m going to show you how you can easily lose a pound a week, without starving or giving up everything you love to eat. That’s 50 pounds in a year! If you need to lose 100 pounds it will take you two years. If you need to lose 200 pounds it may take you four years.


So what if it takes you a year, two years or four years to reach your health goal? Can you think of a better way to spend the next few years? And one thing’s for sure; if you keep doing what you’re doing now you will never reach your health and weight goals!


I really like a quote that’s often attributed to Albert Einstein. I’m pretty sure he didn’t originate it, but it sounds like something he would have said.


“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”


But, here is something that he did say for sure, “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”


It’s time to take our thinking about health, nutrition and lifestyle to the next level.


The Key Word is “Health”


Remember, the main focus of Healthy Weight 2020 is not actually weight, but health. While overweight and an oversized waist are risk factors for disease, there are other risk factors that we will address in the coming chapters. So even if your weight and waist are within the “normal” range, you may still be putting your health at risk by what you are eating, drinking, doing or not doing.


Stay with us throughout this series to find out more about how you can obtain and maintain your HEALTHY weight, not just your “normal” weight.


Our Next Chapter


Our next chapter is about water. I find it very interesting that approximately 71% of the earth’s surface is covered in water, and the human body is composed of a similar percentage.


Water is essential to life. A person can go weeks without food, but only a few days without water. In the next chapter we’ll examine not only how drinking the proper amount of good water is the foundation of good health, but also how it is a major key in regaining and maintaining your healthy weight.


Until next time – to your health!





Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Copyright © 2019 by Robert May


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