Weight Management: A Basic Understanding
Before attempting to figure out what to do to loose weight on your own, it is important to understand how to keep it off. The first step for adults is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI formula estimates your weight and height: a basic way to determine this is as follows: weight (x) 703 divided by height in inches (x) height in inches. For example, if you weighed 180 lbs and were 5 foot 11 inches tall your BMI would be calculated like this: 180 (x) 703 = 126,540… 71 inches (x) 71 inches = 5041…126,540 divided by 5041 = 25.1% body fat. For most adults anything under 18.5% is considered underweight, 18.5%-24.9% is healthy or target weight, 25.0%-29.9% means overweight and 30.0% and up equates to obese.
Exceptions do exist for athletes, geriatric or pregnancy. Also, children have a different set of calculations based on age and growth charts. A more accurate calculation can be done by getting a scale that includes BMI as part of the readout. It is important to understand that being overweight is sometimes not as noticeable as the waistline measurement or what the scale states. Too much fat intake can lead to fat build up internally as well causing health related risk factors especially when there is a family history or genetic pre-disposition to conditions such as Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure and Diabetes. Weight management therefore is a term that should be used as a specific plan of attack to properly evaluate and monitor your Body Mass Index in the form of a percentile compared to your overall weight. By doing this you can more accurately set your short term and long term goals and track the effectiveness of fat loss rather than weight loss. This may not seem like a big deal but this is exactly how athletes train.
Moreover, it becomes very key in not having the yo-yo effect so commonly associated with diets. For example, initial weight loss in the first two weeks after starting exercise is mostly water, then as your body adjusts to its new demands the weight gradually (or not so gradually) comes back creating a yo-yo effect and causing many to give up on their goals prematurely. By having realistic short term and long term goals based on fat loss and measured by BMI, you will see not only progress in losing pounds but more importantly, the weight loss actually being fat loss which if targeted correctly through diet and exercise can lead to a gradual decline in BMI resulting in permanent fat loss.
Lastly, it is important to ask yourself certain questions when considering your weight management plan of action as follows: How can I achieve slow permanent improvement in fat loss, not just fast weight loss?…does my plan include at least 3x per week exercise?…is my diet planned at least 5 days out of the week with foods high in water content and low in fat?…do I have written short term and long term goals I expect to achieve?…Do I have a backup plan when my schedule changes and I cannot exercise or eat as I planned? Again, congratulations in taking the first step to investing in your health. The fact that you are reading and researching how to take control of your weight is a great beginning. Use that motivation and apply it in terms of fat loss, BMI and weight management and you will be well on your way to achieving and maintaining a healthier lifestyle and a healthier you. Best wishes.