Not a common whoop of joy heard in this day and age, admittedly, but I am a happy man. In fact, it turns out that I’ve been overweight for a few weeks now, but I hadn’t checked a BMI calculator recently.
BMI is the Body Mass Index and is essentially a ratio measurement between your height and your weight (you can check yours out at http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/interactiveTools/bmi.aspx if you’re curious) and so can be used as a rough guide to how fat you are. It is only an approximation though - if you are an athlete, for example, then you will get a false reading because muscle weighs more than fat.
So, at 5 feet and 7 inches high, and weighing in this morning at 13 stone and 6 pounds (188lbs or 85.275kg), I have a BMI of 29.44466. This means that I am now Overweight and no longer Obese (as I am in no way athletic). The chart looks something like this:
Less than 20 – Underweight - everyone thinks you look like a model, but you’re actually very unhealthy
20 to 25 – Ideal weight - you are at the right weight for your height, will probably live longer, but worry that your bum looks too big because society tells you that you should be underweight (“You can never be too rich or too thin” - Nancy Reagan)
25-30 – Overweight - you eat too many snacks and takeaways and don’t exercise enough
30-35 – Obese (Class I) - now you’re getting into dangerous territory that could be seriously affecting your long term health. You’re probably struggling to find anything that fits you in a high-street shop
35-40 – Obese (Class II) - specialist "outsize" clothes shops are becoming the norm, but you despise the fact that they insist you look like your granny's sofa cover.
Over 40 – Morbidly or Severely Obese (Class III) - also known as “Extremely Obese” or “Pathologically Obese” – chances are you’ve been dieting all your life and/or have problems with food addiction and emotional eating patterns that are now way out of control. Jogging trousers are just so much more comfortable.
15 months ago I was 19st 9lbs (275lbs) and had a BMI of 43, at which point Maggie and I started a new way of life. The idea was that we would eat healthily (plenty fresh fruit & veg), cut out processed foods and certain fats, avoid trigger foods (ones that set off cravings) and stop snacking in the evenings. Since October I’ve been keeping a weekly track of my progress on my other blog, Losing A Hundredweight, if you’re interested.
The main aim has always been to be healthier and the weight loss has been a side effect. THIS IS IMPORTANT. We are not on a “diet”, and when we reach an ideal weight we will continue to eat healthily and will not return to old eating habits. This is a way of life.
It means that we have a bit of cake when there’s a celebration; we sometimes go out for meals; on occasion we get a takeaway; but we are careful not to let these things get out of control. And very importantly, we enjoy good, wholesome, tasty food. Maggie is an excellent cook and very creative. These days instead of using those skills to make cakes and puddings, she’s using them to improve our health. Maggie doesn’t want me discussing her weight with the world, but I will say that she has lost a similar amount over the same time period.
In fact, the other day we were looking back through our early photo albums and came to the conclusion that we now weigh more or less what we did when we first started going out together. 15 ½ years to put the weight on, and 15 ½ months to get back again.
It doesn’t stop here though. We are still overweight, we are not as healthy as we could be, and the next stage will be to start upping our activity levels a bit more.
But I am no longer “Obese”. I am “Overweight” and I think that calls for some kind of celebration. Unfortunately it can’t be with a chocolate cake…