The above numbers are guidelines for the average person. BMI can provide estimates of body fat percentage, but it doesn’t actually measure body fat. Some people may have high BMIs without a high percentage of body fat, so the BMI calculator won’t
tell the whole story. For example, a 6’1” male athlete who weighs 280 pounds but has lots of muscle mass will have a higher BMI than a male of the same height who weighs 250 pounds but has a larger percentage of body fat.
The difference between being overweight and obese
Being overweight and being obese are two different things. Obesity is a point along the continuum of weight. There are many people who are overweight but not obese. If you use the BMI scale, for example, you can see that a BMI of 26 would put you in the
overweight category, but you’d have to have a BMI of 30 or higher to be considered obese.
Let’s look at an example. A woman who’s 5’5” tall and weighs 155 pounds is slightly overweight by BMI standards. Her BMI is 25.79. She can weigh as much as 180 pounds and still be considered overweight yet not obese. But if she
gains weight and weighs 182 pounds, she will have a BMI of 30.28 and will be considered class one obese.
Being overweight puts you at an increased risk for several health conditions, and the more overweight you are, the greater your risks are. But as you can see, losing just a few pounds in some cases can reduce your risk. If you consider a 5’5”
woman who weighs 159 pounds is overweight and at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, just dropping five pounds would put her into a normal weight category and reduce her risk. That’s true for many people – losing even a little weight
can make a difference in your health. When you think weight loss that way, it may feel more manageable.
Take weight loss in increments, setting small goals along the way. So rather than deciding you’re doing to lose 50 pounds, start with a short-term goal of losing 5 pounds in three weeks. Just remember, it’s important to talk to your doctor
before you start any diet or exercise plan to make sure you do it safely. Depending in your weight and overall health, you may benefit from a medical weight loss program or a consultation with a nutritionist.
Treatment for obesity
Losing weight is more difficult for some people than others. Age, medical conditions, lifestyle, and genetics can all affect your ability to lose weight and keep it off.
If you suffer from obesity, the goal of your treatment is to get you to a healthy weight safely. For some people, lifestyle changes are enough to move the scale and improve their health. Lifestyle changes may include:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet with the recommended range of calories and plenty of nutrients
- Limiting sugar, salt, and processed foods
- Quitting smoking and staying away from secondhand smoke
- Making exercise a priority and exercising most days of the week
- Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption
- Focusing on lifestyle and diet changes rather than fad dieting and fasting
- Working with a nutritionist to find manageable, realistic ways to reach goals
- Addressing any underlying psychological or emotional issues that may affect eating habits
Some people benefit from participating in a medical weight loss program like the one offered at Beaumont. A program like this gives you the opportunity to work closely with doctors and other medical professionals to change habits and lose weight safely
in a way that helps you maintain your goal weight in the future.
Weight loss medication may help some people as well. Talk to your doctor about what’ right for you.
Surgical options for weight loss
If your guided weight loss attempts are unsuccessful or there are medical reasons to lose weight rapidly, you may want to consider weight loss surgery. There are several surgical procedures, often called bariatric surgery, that can help you lose weight
faster than just diet and exercise alone will allow. Your doctor may recommend weight loss surgery if some or all the following criteria apply to you:
- You’ve tried medical weight loss options and have been unable to lose sufficient weight
- You have a BMI of 40 or higher
- You have a BMI between 35 and 39.9 and have a health condition, like diabetes, that is related to your weight
- Your doctor believes you will be able to maintain the lifestyle changes required to keep you healthy after surgery
Some of the common weight loss surgeries are:
- Gastric bypass surgery – This surgery, also called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, involves creating a pouch on top of the stomach and connecting this pouch to the small intestine. After this surgery, everything you eat or drink will bypass the majority
of your stomach and will instead move from your mouth through your esophagus to the new pouch and into your small intestine where it will continue the normal route of digestion.
- Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band – This surgery, abbreviated as LAGB, is a procedure in which your surgeon separates your stomach into two sections using an inflatable band, which creates a channel between the two sections of your stomach.
- Gastric sleeve – During this surgery, the doctor removes part of the stomach so your stomach can’t hold as much food.
- Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch – This is a complex procedure that involves removing much of the stomach and part of the intestine and connecting the lower part of the small intestine to the duodenum (at the base of the stomach).
Weight loss surgery can help you lose weight quickly, but it also comes with risks. If you believe you might be a candidate for weight loss surgery, make an appointment with a bariatric surgeon at Beaumont for a consultation. Call 800-633-7377 today to
begin your journey.