Body Mass Index (BMI)November 4th, 2013 by David
To give people a good idea of where they sit on the ‘obesity risk’ scale, there is a simple calculation known as BMI (Body Mass Index.)
BMI equals our weight in kilograms, divided by our height in metres, squared.
For example, if you weigh 60kg and are 1.70 metres in height, your BMI is 60 divided by (1.70 x 1.70) = 21
As a guideline, anything under 19 is considered underweight. A BMI of 20-25 is considered ‘healthy.’ If you fall into the 25-30 BMI you are in the ‘overweight’ category, and 30+ is considered ‘obese.’
According to the Body Mass Index, weighing 20% over what is considered ‘healthy’ propels you into the ‘obese’ category.
It is important to note that this is not a fail-safe equation, as muscle weighs a lot more than fat. So somebody very athletic with a large muscle-mass is likely to ultimately weigh more than someone with a far higher fat content at the same height. Therefore this calculation will not accurately apply to everyone, but it is a good general guideline.
If you fall into the ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ category (and you are not a body builder!) then you are likely to be putting your major bodily organs under considerable strain. Being overweight significantly increases your risk of developing serious illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Excess weight also puts pressure on your bones and joints which can predispose you toward debilitating conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis. Those who are overweight are also more likely to suffer from depression, low self esteem, sleep problems and anxiety.
If you are tipping the scale into the red, then the very worst thing you can do is embark on a panic-stricken extreme diet. Also known as ‘crash dieting,’ it doesn’t work, and will serve only to make matters worse when your metabolism screeches to a stubborn halt. You have to address your diet and activity levels with equal emphasis.
Base your meals and snacks around lean proteins such as fish, eggs, natural yoghurt, poultry, meat, pulses, nuts and seeds. Your carbohydrate intake should mainly consist of vegetables and fruits, with a little complex grain such as brown rice and quinoa. Fibre is important so as much fresh produce as possible is advised. Swap sugar-laden soft drinks for water and herbal teas like green tea – which is shown to support your metabolism and therefore linked to weight loss. Remember that sugar promptly turns to fat in the body, so avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar-laden treats. Healthy fats like oily fish, avocado, nuts and seed oils are needed to fuel your inner fat burn mechanisms.
If you are heavily overweight it is not advised to embark on a strenuous exercise regime. Your heart needs to build up strength before it can take on a high intensity spin class. Start off with gentle exercise such as walking and Yoga. Slowly but steadily increase the intensity and length of your workouts, for example progress to jogging for intervals and then picking up your speed and distance gradually. Pilates classes or DVDs are fantastic for developing your core strength and toning up. Aim for at least 2 stints of cardiovascular activity a week, to speed up fat loss.