Here’s a true fact. Many of us avoid looking up our Body Mass Index – also just called BMI. Why? Probably a variety of reasons. I think the name itself is one of them. The word ‘body’ is not so worrisome. But it’s followed by another word. Mass. That sounds negative right off the bat. Then, another word. Index. Sounds cold, mathematical and probably unforgiving. No wonder we’re not lining up in droves to do this for fun. Another true fact. Body Mass Index is a useful tool and a simple step to get started on a healthy life. So, let’s get over the name and put BMI to work for us.
What Your Body Mass Index Should Be.
BMI is an indicator of the amount of body fat for most people. It is used as a screening tool to identify whether an adult is at a healthy weight. As we mentioned in our recent Just One Thing, all you have to do is find an online BMI calculator, type in your height and weight. You’ll get your BMI measurement back super fast. Remember that a special BMI Percentile Calculator should be used for children and teens that takes a child’s age and gender into consideration. According to the Center for Disease Control, a BMI of less than 18.5 means you do not weigh enough. BMI scores of between 18.5 and 24.9 put you at a weight that is healthy. BMI scores of 25.0 to 29.9 mean you are overweight. BMI scores above 30.0 translate into obesity. And obesity can translate into a host of medical problems — everything from joint problems to diabetes to heart disease and stroke to cancers. If you check your BMI, and the number staring you in the face is not good, it’s time to make a plan.
Take That BMI and Shove It? Not the Best Move.
The easy thing after getting a high BMI readout is to ignore it. Yes, you can write it off as a useless number and completely ignore it while chomping down on deep dish pizza. But the easy way and the healthy way are often not the same. The better thing is to write the number down, call your primary care doctor and make an appointment. You don’t have to come up with your plan all by yourself. That’s what your doctor is for – to help you find a way to be healthy. For most of us, if we take too much on ourselves all alone and all at once, it’s hard to make changes. It just is. But if we keep it simple and ask for help, our chances are much better. So, two simple steps. Know your BMI. If needed, call your doctor. A simple start.
Different People. Different Answers.
As we saw earlier in this month’s Spotlight Series on Healthy Weight, some people wind up with guidance for a really good eating and activity plan at their doctor’s office. You saw Robyn
Crawford’s story of success, and that is how she found her way back from a big BMI.
Some people will get a different recommendation from their doctor. Paula Darby did. After years of losing weight and gaining it back, her doctor suggested she consider an option that was more aggressive. And that is what Paula has done. At the top of this post, we shared two pictures with you — one shows Paula on July 25, 2014 — and the other shows Paula on September 24, 2014. Just six weeks between the two pictures, but there is now 44 pounds less of Paula. She’s got a way to go still, but she is on her way. How is she getting there? More about that later.