Saturday, October 4, 2014

Weight loss basics

Two ways to learn if you are overweight are to determine your body mass index (BMI) and your waist circumference.

Your BMI classifies your weight in terms of your height. Too much mass over too little height can mean that you are overweight and possibly even obese. The formula for adults
(1) multiply your weight by 703
(2) divide that number by your height in inches
(3) divide your second answer by your height in inches again

Classify your BMI
18.5-24.9-healthy weight which is associated with the least risk of early death.
25.0-29.9-is overweight. Over 27 is associated with an increased risk of developing health problems
30.0-obese which is associated with the highest risk of health problems and early death

Since BMI may not be accurate for some people waist circumference is also used. Research shows that excess abdominal fat may pose a higher risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes than excess fat on hips or thighs.

To measure it
(1) run a tape measure around your body just above the highest point on each hip bone
(2) a measurement of more than 35 inches for women or up to 40 inches for men may increase your health risks

We need to eat healthfully and the proper foods. In restaurants  order salad dressings and other sauces on the side. Ask that the food be grilled without butter or oil or be prepared "light". Substitute steamed vegetables for high fat or starchy side dishes. Choose tomato based sauces instead of cream based sauces. drink water, diet soda unsweetened tea instead of regular soda or alcoholic beverages. Stop eating when you are full.

At the grocery store: check food labels for the amount of sodium, saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sugar and calories. (foods with mostly or only unsaturated fats are healthier than those mostly with saturated and/or trans fats but are also high in calories so consume in moderation) Also be aware that many items sold as single servings actually provide 2 or more servings)

At home cook from scratch as much as possible. Packaged  foods tend  to be high in some or all of these saturated or trans fats, sodium, calories, and or sugar. Broil or bake rather than fry, add lemon or spices instead of butter and eat wholesome varieties of pasta, cereal and rice.

By cutting 250 calories per day is the goal. Simple ways to cut calories include (1) for breakfast substitute herbal tea for high fat cappuccino. (2) at lunch hold the mayo on your sandwich and try spicy mustard instead. Drink water instead of a soda.

And exercise--very important--experts recommend moderate intensity cardio (aerobic)exercise, 150 minutes a week or vigorous intensity cardio 75 minutes a week. You may need to gradually work up to these goals. Do consult your health care provider before significally  changing your activity.

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