How to lose weight and BMI

Most of us have some body weight we would like to lose but are often unclear as to the best way of going about this. One of the main things to remember is that crash diets will not work in the long term and neither will bursts of exercise. It is better to have a long-term plan of regular exercise and a sensible diet than to crash diet or have occasional bursts of activity  so don’t be too tempted to rush into intensive exercise or severely restrict your calorie intake.  Remember that our bodies need food for energy but also store excess energy as fat. So, if you eat more calories than your body needs every day, you'll gain weight. This means that to lose weight, you have to use up these stores of fat, and the two main ways of doing this are to:

1.Increase how much activity and exercise you do every day

If you increase the amount of exercise you do, but maintain the same diet and calorie intake, you will almost certainly lose weight. The good news is that this does not have to involve going to the gym seven days a week – even light exercise, such as a short 20 minute walk, will be beneficial if done most days of the week since every time you exercise more than usual, you burn calories and fat. It is important that you find an activity or exercise that you enjoy and which is easy for you to do in terms of location and cost.

Other simple steps include walking at the weekends, and leaving your car on the drive and walking to the shops. Use the stairs instead of the lift at work, or get off the bus a stop before the usual one and walk the rest of the journey.

2.Reduce your calorie intake

If you're overweight and really do want to lose weight then you can't continue with your current eating habits – it really is virtually impossible to reduce your body fat while eating lots of food, cakes and sweets at the same time. You will need to learn how to limit these foods to small quantities and special occasions.

There are no shortcuts to losing weight in a healthy and steady way so don’t crash diet. Crash dieting (eating less than 1500 calories a day) usually ends up with you feeling weak or giving up after some time. ‘Quick-fix’ or faddy diets often lead to a ‘yo-yo’ effect of quick weight loss followed by weight gain, resulting in a vicious cycle.

Aim to eat between 300 to 500 calories less than you usually would per day. This should lead to a loss of between one and two pounds per week, or more than three stone in a year. You might find it helpful to use an App on your phone or tablet to encourage you – such as the BootsDiets A pp. Cut down on fatty foods, eat more wholegrain bread, fruit and vegetables, and replace fizzy drinks and fruit cordials with water. If you drink whole milk, swap this for semi-skimmed or skimmed, and eat less lunch than usual. Avoid second helpings, don’t put sugar in your tea and coffee and cut out snacks between meals. Cut down on alcohol - this is high in hidden or ‘empty’ calories – and don't be tempted to skip meals. This may reduce your calorie intake briefly but will leave you much hungrier later on and more likely to snack unhealthily or overeat. Remember that even eating one extra biscuit a week can lead you to gain 5lb a year – cut that biscuit out of your diet and you'll lose the same amount.  What is my body mass index (BMI)?

Doctors use your BMI to assess healthy weight with a BMI of 18.5 to 25 being classified as healthy. If you have a BMI of more than 25, you're overweight, over 30 is obese and over 40 is morbidly obese.

To calculate your BMI, you'll need to know your weight in kilograms and your height in metres, then follow the example below.

  1. Multiply your height by itself, eg 1.7x1.7= 2.89.
  3. Divide your weight (eg 80kg) by this figure.
  5. 80 ÷ 2.89= 27.7.

This is then your BMI.

Keeping your motivation up is one of the most difficult aspects of dieting. There will be days when healthy eating goes out the window, and there will be weeks where you may not lose any weight – or put a little back on. This is normal for everyone – dieters or not – so don't let it undo your plans for a slimmer, healthier you.

What are the health benefits of losing weight?

If you are overweight, then losing 10 to 20lbs will significantly lower your risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. The nearer to a normal weight you get, the lower these risks become. By keeping your weight at a healthy level, you're less likely to be troubled by illnesses in later years.