Healthy weight loss really starts with determining if your current weight is a healthy weight. There are several different ways to test for a healthy weight.
What is a Healthy Weight?
Many Americans struggle to control their weight. The country’s obesity problem is well known. According to the latest statistics, 71% of adults in the US are overweight or obese. To make matters worse, the rates are continuing to rise each year.
You may not know what a healthy weight is for you. This is important to learn because it is the starting point for healthy weight loss. You need to calculate how much weight you need to lose, do the hard work, and, most importantly, do it in a way that is sustainable.
Healthy Weight Loss Starts with Determining Your Starting Point
Any healthy weight loss has to start with determining where you are now and then devising a reasonable weight loss plan. There are a variety of ways to measure a healthy weight
Body Mass Index (BMI)
The first is called body mass index (BMI).
To figure out your BMI, just use this math formula: Multiply your weight in pounds by 703 and divide it by your height (in inches) squared. You can also use an online calculator, which will do the math for you.
For example, if you weigh 185 pounds and are 5-foot-5 (65 inches), then your BMI works out this way:
• 185 x 703 = 130,055
• 65 x 65 = 4,225
• 130,005 ÷ 4,225 = 30.78 (round up to 30.8)
Obesity in adults is defined as having a BMI of 30.0 or above. The other ranges are:
• Overweight = 25.0 to 29.9
• Normal weight = 18.5 to 24.9
• Underweight = under 18.5
BMI is a common tool to give you some idea of where you are. But it doesn’t measure body fat. So, it’s not the best measurement of whether you are at a healthy weight. The reason is that it does not account for the percentage of body fat that you have. So, muscular people might have a high BMI without being obese. Also, the BMI calculation can underestimate fat in older people and others who have lost muscle.
Measure Your Waist
There’s a second way to get an idea of how close you are to a healthy weight — just measure your waist. Waist size is important because belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is metabolically active and puts you at a greater risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Here are the guidelines for men and women:
• A man’s waist should be no more than 40 inches.
• A woman’s waist should be no more than 35 inches.
Here’s how to measure your waist:
• Stand up and wrap a measuring tape around your waist (just above the hipbones).
• The tape should be snug but not pressed into your skin.
• Breathe out before you measure.
Here is yet another tool to detect your healthy weight. It is a comparison of the size of your hips compared with the size of your waist.
To figure out your waist-to-hip ratio:
• Measure your waist at the thinnest part.
• Measure your hips at the widest part.
• Divide the waist by the hips.
Men with a waist-to-hip ratio higher than 0.9 have too much of a belly (think apple-shaped).Women with a number higher than 0.85 are carrying too much weight (more like a pear).
The waist-to-hip guidelines differ by sex because men tend to carry extra weight in their bellies, while women show it more in the hips and buttocks.
If you decide you are not a healthy weight, the next step is to get off the excess weight by changing your eating habits in a way that you can maintain. Don’t go on a fad diet because the weight will not stay off.
How Do I Get to a Healthy Weight?
Several things help determine a person’s weight, including genes and hormones. But being overweight or obese usually comes from eating more calories than you burn. Your body holds onto these extra calories and turns them into fat.
Here are two things you have to change to lose weight in a healthy and lasting way:
1. Eat right. Americans love fast food, sodas and processed foods. They add up.
2. Move more. Our lifestyles can be short on exercise, playing, or just moving enough to burn the fuel we take in.
3. Understand that 80% of weight loss is what you eat. Exercise will not burn enough calories to act as a weight loss tool.
Tips for eating a healthy diet:
• Eat more fruits and vegetables.
• Get good protein and plenty of fiber.
• Limit salt, sugar, and fat.
• Be careful with your portions.
You’ll need to cut your calories by 500 to 1,000 calories a day to lose that 1-2 pounds per week. You also need to move that body!
Aim for about 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise (like brisk walking) every week. You’ll likely need even more than that to lose weight. Do some muscle strengthening at least twice a week.
Remember that healthy eating and exercise can connect you with family, friends, and others with similar goals. You can join a support group or fitness center, take a class, or play with your kids.
Click here to read the full article about determining a healthy weight and healthy weight loss.