Body Mass Index (BMI) is a convenient and easy-to-use guide to see if your weight is healthy for your height. It is used by many government institutions, doctors and other health professionals.
It can also be used as a guide for personal weight control or a weight loss programme. Here, Jenny Craig takes a look at the ins and outs of calculating and understanding your BMI.
How do you measure your BMI?
To calculate your BMI, you need to find out your weight (in kilograms) and your height (in metres). You then divide your weight by your height in metres squared. If that sounds way too complicated, simply enter your details into this handy BMI calculator and press the button for an instant answer!
BMI is a measurement that can be calculated by men and women. A few things to keep in mind:
- Bodybuilders and muscular people may have a higher BMI without being overweight
- BMI is not an appropriate measure during pregnancy, childhood, adolescence or in elderly populations
- The point at which someone’s health is at risk due to their weight also varies between ethnic groups.
What is a good BMI?
Your BMI will place you into one of four weight ranges, which are divided as follows:
- BMI less than 18.5 = Underweight
- BMI 18.5 to 24.9 = Normal weight
- BMI 25 to 29.9 = Overweight
- BMI 30 and higher = Obese
Some people with an ideal BMI may have underlying health issues while others with a higher BMI may be very healthy. However, if your BMI reading makes you want to take some steps towards losing weight, here are a few things you can do:
5 tips for getting to a healthier BMI
Before planning to lose weight, assess your current condition. Work out your BMI to help you determine how much weight you would ideally want to lose to reduce any risk of health problems.
- Set realistic goals. Rather than focusing on the end goal, if you want to lose a considerable amount of weight, set yourself small, realistic goals to help keep you motivated along the way.
- Understand how much, when and why you eat. Keep a food diary for a week or two and write down everything you eat, along with the time of day. This will help you understand eating patterns and make it easier to find healthier alternatives.
- Make smart substitutions. Foods that are high in sugar and salt often taste better, but also often have more calories. But giving up salt and sugar doesn’t mean you have to give up on flavour. There are many healthy snacks and treats that will still tickle your taste buds.
- Manage portion sizes. It is much easier to overeat when you have a lot of food on your plate. Reducing your portion sizes may be as simple as putting your food on a smaller plate or weighing your ingredients to make sure you get the right amount of food.
- Get physical! Rather than trying to lose weight by managing your intake of food alone, try to increase your physical activity a little each week. Even if you park the car at the far end of the car park, or take the stairs instead of the lift, these things will all make a difference.
To help you manage your weight, you may decide that you need some support. Signing up for a proven and responsible weight loss management plan can make all the difference to your success.
It can be really helpful to have your own personal weight loss consultant, carefully planned delicious and nutritious meals, and access to tips, tricks and recipes. A personalised weight loss programme that fits in with your lifestyle and activities can allow you to work your way safely to your optimal weight.
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