January 2010
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You’ve probably been thinking about losing weight for a while, maybe because you know you’re overweight or only because you think you are. Most likely, you’ve been down this road before. You may have succeeded in losing some or all of the weight wanted to shed, but not in keeping it off. Or maybe you have tried and failed to lose more than a few kilos.

Whatever your situation, we are all in the same boat. Gaining weight is easy: all you have to do is eat. Losing weight is hard. And keeping it off is even harder. Some experts say it is as hard as kicking drug addiction or quitting smoking. And like these two efforts, losing excess weight is critical to your health and well-being. At the end this article, I hope you will be thinking about weight loss in a new way, in a way that works for you.

What is Overweight?

The World Health Organization’s guidelines for what is considered normal weight, overweight, and obesity are based on body mass index (BMI), which is a ratio between height and weight that fairly accurately reflects the proportion of fat to muscle and other tissues in the body.

According to the guidelines, a BMI between 20 and 24.9 is considered normal. BMIs between 25 and 29.9 are defined as overweight, and 30 or over is considered obese.

Are We Getting Fatter Or Have The Rules Changed?

Yes, we are getting fatter and no, the rules haven’t changed – although they have in the United States, where the standard for normal weight has been revised downwards. And while the US has the highest prevalence of obesity, with 55 per cent of the population being overweight or obese, the trend in the United Kingdom is worryingly similar. Over the past 20 years, the number of people who are overweight in this country has ballooned.

In 1980, 6 per cent of men and 7 per cent of women aged 16 to 64 were classified as obese. Over the next 10 years, these figures doubled – and are still rising. In 1999, a Nutrition Foundation study found that more than 40 per cent of the population was obese or overweight.

More Body Fat Measures

BMI is a pretty good way to tell whether a person is overweight, but it’s an approximate measure that doesn’t take into account how muscular you are. Because muscle tissue weighs more than fat, trim and muscular people might weigh enough to put them into the overweight or even obese category.

Conversely, people with very small frames and light bones might fall into the normal range even if they have too much stored fat around their waist and hips.

Body Type

When it comes to health, it turns out that where you carry extra weight matters almost as much as how much you are carrying. This is where the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR = waist – hip measurement) comes in. A simple way of looking at WHR is to think of body types as apples or pears. Apple types are wide around the waist and abdomen; pears are heavy in the hips, thighs, and buttocks. There’s good news and bad news about each type.

For apples, the good news is that they tend to have an easier time losing their “spare tire” once they begin eating sensibly and exercising regularly The bad news is that they are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers.

For pears, the good news is that they are less likely to suffer from heart problems. The bad news is that they are less successful shedding their extra padding.

Get my free weight loss tips and start enjoying the benefits of a new slimmer and healthier you. The best way to lose weight quickly is understanding how diet and exercise can be fun, and how exercise can help you in your weight loss diet.

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