Body mass index is a helpful tool in assessing your current weight and tracking your weight-loss progress. Learning what it is and how to measure it is an important step in your weight-loss journey and it will help with setting a realistic goal. This article will help you learn how to assess your weight and body mass index (BMI).
Your Goal Weight
It’s just not sensible to start a weight-loss plan without first considering an important question: Is the weight I want to achieve realistic for my body? Answering this question truthfully will go a long way in preventing frustration down the road.
Hopefully, you have already talked to your doctor about your weight, you should have a healthy weight goal in mind based on what she told you.
Rather than setting a “magic number” as your goal weight, give yourself a range within about five pounds of your healthy weight.
If you have a lot of weight to lose, consider making mini-goals of five or 10 pounds every six weeks to two months rather than focusing on your end weight.
As a rule of thumb, you should weigh yourself once a week as you diet. You should try to weigh yourself at the same time each day to get consistent readings as your weight can vary throughout the day.
Your doctor may also assess your BMI. BMI is the most widely-used form of weight-tracking today. It helps health care providers measure your risk for weight-related health issues.
You can find out your own BMI with a simple formula:
Divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared. Multiply by 705.
For example, consider a woman who is 5’6″ and weighs 190 pounds:
Height of 5’6″ = 66 inches
66 squared (66 x 66) = 4,356
190 divided by 4,356 = 0.0436
0.0436 x 705 = 30.75
This individual’s BMI would be rounded up to 31.
BMI is categorized as follows:
Less than 18.5–underweight
18.5 to 24.9–normal weight
25 to 29.9–overweight
(Individuals who fall into the BMI range of 25 to 34.9 begin having some health risk concerns.)
30 or more–obese
40 or more–morbidly obese
Your Waist-to-Hip Ratio
Last, but not least, your doctor may also mention your waist-to-hip ratio.
Waist-to-hip ratio is calculated by taking your waist circumference and dividing it by your hip circumference.
Those who are considered “apple-shaped” (fat accumulates around the belly) are at a much higher risk for heart disease and hypertension than those who tend to carry their weight in the hips or thighs.
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