How to

How to lose weight – the basic rules

Unlike other illnesses, fighting obesity would require much more than surgery and medications. You would need to do major lifestyle changes including diet and exercise. But before doing so, it would be beneficial to know some basic weight loss facts so you will be on the right tract on your journey to losing weight.

Am I Underweight, Normal, or Obese?

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is a ratio based on body weight and height. It is highly correlated with body fat, but increased lean body mass or a large body frame can also increase BMI.

The ideal BMI is 24, Individuals who have a BMI below 24 or who are 80% or less of their desirable body weight for height are at risk for problems associated with poor nutritional status. Those who have a BMI of 25 to 29 are considered overweight; those with BMI of 30 to 39 are considered obese; those who have BMI of 40 and above are considered extremely obese.

To calculate your BMI, simply divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters (metric method) or divide your weight in pounds times 703 by the square of your height in inches (imperial method).

( lbs/inches² )
(weight in pounds * 703 )
height in inches²
( kg/m² )
weight in kilograms
height in meters²

In addition to the calculation of BMI, waist circumference measurement is particularly useful for people who are categorized as normal or overweight. To measure the waist circumference, a tape measure is placed in a horizontal plane around the abdomen; men who have waist circumferences greater than 40 inches and women who have waist circumferences greater than 35 inches have excess abdominal fat.

Why some people lose weight faster?

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) represents energy needed to maintain essential physiological functions, such as respiration, circulation, and muscle tone. This means that even when a person is at complete rest both physically and mentally, he/she still burns calories because the body needs energy to perform these functions. However, relying in the calories burned through BMR alone will not help you lose weight. It is simply a determinant of why some people lose weight faster than others.

Men: 66 + (13.7 x Weigh in Kilograms) + (5 x Height in centimeter) – (6.8 x Age in years) = BMR

Women: 665 + (9.6 x Weigh in Kilograms) + (1.8 x Height in centimeter) – (4.7 x Age in years) = BMR

How many calories should I consume daily in order to lose weight?

Health buffs are very careful with the amount of calories they take in daily. Some even treat calories as something that is bad for the body and that should be avoided. Calories are actually essential to one’s body because the calories that we get from the food we eat are converted by the body to produce energy for us to be able to do our activities of daily living. Calories become bad for the body when the person takes in too much while living a sedentary lifestyle. If the person is less active, the calories will not be used but instead it will be stored in the body as fat deposits. Whenever we eat 3,500 calories more than what our body needs, we get to gain one pound. If we burn 3,500 calories more than what we eat, we lose a pound. To calculate your daily calorie needs, you may use the Harris-Benedict Equation.

Little to no exercise BMR x 1.2
Light exercise (1-3 days per week) BMR x 1.375
Moderate exercise (3-5 days per week) BMR x 1.55
Heavy exercise (6-7 days per week) BMR x 1.725
Very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts) BMR x 1.9

For example if your BMR is 2000 and you do not do any regular exercise then you need 2000 X 1.2 = 2400 calories.

According to the data given by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, two in five Americans are 20% or more over their ideal body weight. People who are overweight or obese are at higher risk for health complications, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and bronchitis. Also, they could suffer from impaired body image, depression, and low self- esteem.

Because of this, the US Department of Health and Human Services has organized campaigns and programs to fight obesity like “We Can!” a national childhood obesity program. Even with these programs, the best person who can help you is yourself, if you want to live a longer and happier life, do take care of your health and lose that excess weight TODAY!

About the author

Hara Hagikalfa

Hara Hagikalfa completed her BSc(Hons) in Health and Exercise Science, Sports Science and Medicine. She is a certified Personal Trainer and Pilates instructor. You can learn more about Hara and connect with her on Facebook