Do You Really Need To Lose More Weight?
"You can never be too rich or too thin," so the saying goes. But trying to reach an unrealistic weight can take a serious toll on your health and wellbeing. Maybe it's time to stop dieting to lose weight and start eating to maintain a healthy shape. Your Body Weight helps you find your ideal weight...
The dangers of carrying too much weight are manifold with greatly increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other medical conditions. Similarly, eating too little can have disastrous effects on your health. So how can you find the perfect balance? Firstly it's essential to realise that we are all totally different. Weight is a very individual matter - while one person may feel happy and look great at a certain weight, it may not work for another. So there's no point in comparing weights with friends or colleagues. It's a question of finding a weight that you feel happy with - and most importantly, that you can maintain.
Start with the charts
The British Nutrition Foundation recommend staying within the guidelines suggested for good health which give you plenty of scope to find what feels best for you. Try using the body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference to give you some personal perimeters.
Calculating your BMI
Your BMI should be calculated as follows
- Weight (kg) ÷ Height (metres)²
You should aim for a BMI of 20-25. A BMI of over 30 is considered seriously overweight and it is vital that you seek medical help to help you lose weight. If it is under 20 then you must ensure that you are having a well balanced diet to provide you with all the essential nutrients. A BMI of between 25 and 30 is a sign that you should be gradually reducing your weight - keep going with the diet. However, muscle does weigh more than fat, so in some cases this may account for a higher BMI.
Measuring your waistline
Waist circumference can also be important in determining your health risk - so put the tape around your middle. Ideally, women should aim for a maximum of 32" ; and men should not measure more than 34". If it is over 35" and 40 " respectively then you really must make an extra effort to trim that tum.
Get a (healthy) life!
So you're within the guidelines but you're still not happy with your weight. Are you trying to achieve an impossible ideal? Many people get too fixated with trying to reach and maintain a specific weight. With so much media pressure to be super slim, it's easy to get mildly obsessive, then you start thinking about food all day long, it takes over your life. You become miserable with self-denial - and you run the risk of yo-yo dieting, which is not only harmful to health, but also leads to greater weight gain. The way you look and feel is a far better guide than a set weight. If you're within an acceptable range then relax. Learn to enjoy the pleasure of healthy food, eat three well-balanced meals a day and lead an active lifestyle with regular exercise - and you will find that your body stabilises at the weight that is right for you.
All in your genes
Even if you're within the healthy guidelines, you may still not be happy with your shape. However, everyone has different natural proportions; some are bigger on the hips, others have wider shoulders. And excess weight isn't always the reason. Whatever your weight you'll still have your own unique body shape, inherited in your genes, which is with you for the rest of your life and can't be changed. If you keep on dieting to lose the excess on your bum or upper arms you may well find it falls off your bust! So, once you reach a healthy weight don't fight your natural body shape, learn to work with it. Exercise to tone and define specific areas and choose clothes that optimise your assets.
One of the top reasons for losing weight is to look more attractive, but some people simply don't suit being too slim. Indeed, a survey among US cosmetic surgeons shows that ultra-thin middle-aged women are thought to be much older than those with a few more curves in the right places. And slimmers agree that is you go too far below the guidelines then you can start to look gaunt and feel unwell. Take heart, the current trend on the catwalk is definitely the toned and healthy look, naturally curvy and feminine, no longer trying to conform to some skinny ideal. The aim is to feel comfortable with the natural shape of your body. The key is looking natural. And the message is clear: nature knows best - so concentrate on following a healthy, active lifestyle and your body will do the rest....