Overweight refers to an excess of body weight compared to set standards. The excess weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. One scientific tool to estimate a healthy body weight is a Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a measurement that compares a person’s weight and height. For children and teens, age and gender are also taken into consideration. For adults, a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or over is considered obese. For Asian adults, a BMI of 23.0 to 27.4 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 27.5 or over is considered obese.
To calculate your BMI and see what it means to you:
For adults and teens – http://cchrchealth.org/en/calculators/
Studies show that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1-2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping the weight off. Healthy weight loss is not just about a diet or program. It is about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits. In the process, it is extremely important for you to have a properly planned diet, which should not only limit your calorie intake but also, more importantly, provide you with all the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
The key is to avoid high-calorie items and eat a variety of healthy foods. A healthy diet should:
- Be within your daily calorie needs
- Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products.
- Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
- Be low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
Stay away from junk food and impulse eating. Try to keep a “food diary” for a few days. This is a good way to become more aware of what and when you are eating and to help yourself avoid unhealthy eating habits.
Most overeating is due to bad habits. Good eating habits help you to counteract the tendency of gaining weight.
- Eat regular meals, including breakfast.
- Chew your food slowly.
- Watch portion sizes.
- Stop eating when you feel full (Don’t insist on cleaning your plate).
- Skip the desserts.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.
- Make plans for what you are going to eat.
- Avoid eating when you are not hungry.
When combined with a good diet, daily exercise increases the rate of weight loss and improves your general physical wellbeing.
- Exercise for about 60-90 minutes a day, for at least 5 days a week.
- Try a variety of sports: walking, running, hiking, biking, skating, swimming, dancing, basketball, tennis, and group exercise classes.
- Have specific plans: Instead of “exercise more,” tell yourself to “Walk for 60 minutes a day, 3 days a week for the first week.”
- Walk or ride a bicycle instead of riding in a car.
- Use stairs instead of elevators.
- Set realistic goals.
- Focus on lifestyle changes that you can maintain.
- Limit the time spent watching TV, playing video games, and on the computer.
- Participate in meaningful extracurricular activities to keep your mind off food.
- Remind yourself again and again of your original motivation and the health benefits of weight loss.