It often seems like people are obsessed with diets and what size they are. We take a look here at what being overweight means and how you can lose weight.
How do I know if I'm Overweight?
If someone has a BMI of over 25 then they're overweight. If it's more than 30 then they're obese. BMI is a measure of your height and weight used to estimate how healthy your weight is. A healthy bmi is between 20 and 25.
What Makes You Overweight?
Energy in food is measured in calories. If you eat more calories than you use up then the spare calories will turn into body fat and you put on weight. The amount of calories you need depends on whether you are male or female, if you are still growing and how active you are. People who are very active such as those who play sport professionally need to eat far more calories than someone who sits at a desk all day.
Go to the Take Life On website to work out what activities you can use to clock up 60 minutes with of exercise every day.
How Can I Lose Weight?
First of all make sure you actually need to lose weight. There's a BMI calculator on the NHS Choices website, which can give you an idea of whether you are overweight or not, but it doesn't take things like body shape, build or lifestyle into account so it should only be used as a guideline. To be absolutely sure, check with a doctor or nurse, who can also tell you how many calories you should be consuming. Keep a food diary to see if you are.
Food labels can help with calorie amounts, and you can buy little books quite cheaply with details of calories for different foods. However, you should be mindful that everyone is different and you should not use a calorific content of food as a fool proof guide to healthy eating! Remember that if you drink alcohol that it's full of calories.
To lose weight you need to reduce the amount of calories you consume, but not by too much. Check with a doctor or nurse to see what’s a good amount for you as it can differ from person to person. If you decide to go to a weight loss club or group the leader will also be able to make sure you are cutting out the right amount of calories - you still need a fair amount each day though!
The best diet is the one that allows you to eat a variety of food and also works for you. Experts agree that diets that cut out whole food groups e.g carbohydrates, can be dangerous (e.g. Atkins Diet).
Exercising also helps with losing weight, as it means you burn off more calories. It’s best to check with your doctor before you start any new exercise and eating regimes.