If you’re reading this, I’m guessing your doctor has told you that you need to lower your BMI to improve your health. What does this mean and how do you do it? Your BMI is the ratio of your weight to your height, and it can help you and your doctor determine what your weight category is.
- If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, you are at a normal or healthy weight.
- If your BMI between 25.0 and 29.9, you are overweight.
- If your BMI is 30 or higher, you are obese.
In order to lose weight and lower your body mass index, you need a program that you can stick to over the long term. Here are some tips for changing your diet, exercise and general lifestyle that you can stick to over the long term. If you’re not ready to focus on losing weight, read them anyway – even if it’s just to stop weight gain to prevent your health from deteriorating, it’s the first step to success.
1. Get an Accurate Reading of Your Personal BMI
BMI calculators abound online, but you should get your official BMI reading from the person who weighs you and measures your height in your doctor’s office. If you ask most of us what we weigh, we’ll report that we weigh less than we actually do, and we’ll say we’re a little taller. This will lead to underestimation.
2. Set realistic goals
When you plan to lose weight, it’s important to have a realistic goal. The first step is to stop gaining weight. Then focus on losing 5% of your body weight. For a 200-pound person, that’s 10 pounds. If you’re at risk for diabetes, this will reduce your risk by 50% If you have high blood pressure, your blood pressure will improve. You can even lower your medication (with the assistance of your doctor, of course). Realize that if you are obese and end up losing 15% of your body weight and keeping it off, that is true success, even if you don’t reach your goal of a specific clothing size.
3. Prep your meals
Meal prep can prevent you from grabbing take-out on your way home from work. On Saturday afternoon, scan cookbooks, magazines and websites to find out what healthy foods and recipes you’ll be eating in the week ahead. On Sunday, take your list and go grocery shopping. Then spend the rest of the weekend doing food prep, such as cooking/freezing foods or chopping vegetables.
4.Track Your Weight Loss Progress Closely
Know where you are today – and where you were yesterday. Then give yourself a pat on the back. Self-monitoring is really important when it comes to weight control.
It’s recommended to record your food or calorie intake for a few days to get an idea of what your eating habits look like. Many patients will come back and say, I never knew how much I ate.
That may be the reality check you need to change your habits. Use whatever method you feel most comfortable with, whether it’s writing in a journal or using an app on your smartphone. One study found that the more frequently participants used web apps to track their eating habits over a six-month period, the more weight they lost.
Along with a healthy diet comes the need for physical activity. Being active may seem daunting, however, it is critical to remember that weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Participating in more physical activity will increase metabolism and reduce total body fat; inevitably lowering BMI.
Activities such as walking and jogging can be very helpful in improving cardiovascular health and burning calories. It is recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise five days a week; this may include swimming, cycling and rowing.
Many people do not associate weight training with weight loss, however it is another great form of activity to lower BMI. Resistance training helps individuals burn fat by essentially building muscle. While it may seem surprising, adding muscle does burn more calories.
- Get more sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re not just grumpy. Studies have found that lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain. Getting enough shut-eye can help prevent weight gain from late-night snacking and allow your body to actively burn more calories. Aim for eight to nine hours of sleep each night to maintain a healthy weight and improve your health.
7. Get support
Making changes in diet and exercise can be tough. Don’t try to do this alone. Work with your family and friends to make everyone eat better and exercise more. As you learn about nutrition, offer healthier foods. Take walks with friends instead of drinking. Consider joining a weight loss program, whether in person or online. There are community and business organizations that can help you lose weight in terms of nutrition and exercise. Look for programs where you can learn how to make lifestyle changes to lose weight and then keep it off.
No matter what your weight and your overall health is today, keep a positive attitude! Small changes do make a difference, and they add up. Make a plan to add some new habits to your routine and know that you’re on the road to better health! Celebrate progress, not just the ultimate goal of pounds or inches lost. That first 5% weight loss will dramatically improve your health, even if you don’t see or feel it yet.
Finally, consistency is crucial. Results won’t happen overnight, and one week of a healthy lifestyle won’t directly lower your BMI. sticking to your plan and setting realistic goals will help manage expectations. If some time has passed and you are still struggling to stay motivated and on track, seek other forms of help.
Losing weight isn’t always easy, and what worked for you in the past may not work now. That’s why the best online weight loss programs are built around you and your needs and lifestyle – whatever you need to get you to your goals.