How to lower bmi?


BMI Calculator

Choose your measurement preference then enter your height and weight to calculate your BMI

Your BMI is below the healthy range. You should not try to lose any weight, and putting on a few pounds may benefit your health.

Your weight is within the healthy range. Making sure you have a balanced diet and taking regular exercise will help you to stay fit and healthy. If you feel that you want to lose weight in order to feel more comfortable with your body shape, try making small, healthy changes to your eating habits and taking more exercise. You should not aim to weigh less than a BMI of 20.

The Tools in Weight Loss Resources can help you make healthy changes to your eating habits. You can see how many calories you need each day to maintain your weight or lose a few pounds.

Take Our Free Trial “

Your weight is above the healthy range for your height. Losing some weight would be beneficial to your health and make you look and feel better.

You don’t need to do anything drastic – making sure you have a healthy, balanced diet, the right amount of calories and getting more active will help you to shift the excess pounds.

The Tools in Weight Loss Resources can help. You can set a Weight Loss goal and see how many calories you need each day to get there.

Take Our Free Trial “

Your weight is substantially above the healthy range for your height, which means you have a higher than average risk of developing diseases associated with obesity.

Losing enough weight to bring your BMI to below 25 will benefit your health, and the way you look and feel.

You can lose weight by making sure the number of calories you eat each day is less than the number of calories you need to maintain your weight at its current level. This is best achieved by making changes to your eating habits so your diet is healthier, and starting to get some exercise which you can build up and maintain regularly.

The Tools in Weight Loss Resources can help you make the necessary changes to your eating habits. You can set a Weight Loss goal, and see how many calories you need each day to get there.

Take Our Free Trial “

Your weight is substantially above the healthy range for your height, which means you have a higher than average risk of developing diseases associated with obesity.

Losing enough weight to bring your BMI to below 25 will benefit your health, and the way you look and feel.

You can lose weight by making sure the number of calories you eat each day is less than the number of calories you need to maintain your weight at its current level. This is best achieved by making changes to your eating habits so your diet is healthier, and starting to get some exercise which you can build up and maintain regularly.

The Tools in Weight Loss Resources can help you make the necessary changes to your eating habits. You can set a Weight Loss goal, and see how many calories you need each day to get there.

Take Our Free Trial “

What is BMI?

BMI stands for body mass index; a formula which relates body weight to height. It is used by health professionals and scientists to determine the health implications of being a certain weight for your height.

It’s also a handy number for individuals to know, or look up from time to time, to see how healthy their current weight is. Research has shown that people who monitor their weight are less likely to put weight on and more likely to lose it.

What Your BMI Calculation Means

Under 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 25 Healthy Weight
25 – 30 Overweight
30 – 40 Obese
Over 40 Severely obese

The BMI Formula

Body mass index (BMI) = weight(kg) ÷ height(m)2

BMI is a number generated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared. (You can convert from stones and pounds to kilos here.)

The easiest way to work this out is to do the height multiplication first: height in meters x height in metres, then divide your weight in kilograms by the result.

Here’s an example for a person who is 1.7m tall and weighs 64kg

1.7 x 1.7 = 2.89 (height x height)

64 ÷ 2.89 = 22.14 (weight ÷ height2)

So this person has a body mass index of 22.1

You can verify this result in the calculator to help the maths sink in! If you prefer seeing this type of in graphical form you can find a body mass index chart here.

Limitations of BMI as a Measure of Health

BMI is a broad measure and has 3 main limitations when it comes to determining healthy weight for an individual.

  1. People with a high ratio of muscle such as athletes and body builders can have a body mass index of more than 25 but still be a healthy weight. This is because BMI does not take into account the proportion of body fat a person has, and it is excess body fat that poses a risk to health, not excess muscle.
  2. For the same reason as in point 1, people can fall within a healthy weight range according to BMI, but still be carrying too much fat. This is especially true if fat has accumulated around the waist.
  3. The healthy weight range applies to both men and women. Since men generally have a larger build and have more muscle than women, they naturally weigh more. If you are setting a personal weight goal it can be helpful to look at ideal weight ranges tailored for men or women.

Want to monitor your weight?

Get a free professionally designed Weight Graph PDF with our fortnightly newsletter. Simply enter your first name and email (never shared).

Start a Free Trial Today

See the ideal weight range personal to you, set a Weight Loss goal, and see how many calories you need each day to get there – try the Weight Loss Resources Tools for free.

Free Trial “

Gain a Few Pounds? Find the Culprit with our Weight Loss Calculator and Ideal Weight Chart

How to Use the Weight Loss Calculator:

First, check our chart of ideal weight according to height. Because ideal weights are a range rather than a fixed number, round your height down if you are between two heights for the best results.

Next, determine your weight loss time frame. Set realistic goals for weight loss—choose a time frame that does not compromise your health or raise your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Lastly, fill in the information in each field of our weight loss plan calculator.

  • Age – Enter your current age into this field. Age affects your metabolism, so inputting an accurate age will help determine how you need to shape your diet and exercise plan.
  • Height – Larger skeletons need more energy to perform all activities. Input your height to determine calorie counts that will maintain your weight loss without exhausting your body.
  • Weight – Enter your starting weight here. It’s a jumping-off point for your weight loss goals. An accurate starting weight will help calculate the ideal calorie intake for maximum safe weight loss.
  • Weight Loss Time Frame – Input the amount of time within which you would like to meet or exceed your weight loss goals. Give yourself plenty of time to meet them—weight loss that is too rapid can negatively impact your health.
  • Weight Loss Goal – Type in your ideal weight according to the ideal weight chart. If you plan to go below the ideal weight, make sure you also plan to maintain a healthy body fat percentage and encourage the growth of skeletal muscle.

Jenny Craig BMI Calculator

What is a good BMI?

A healthy BMI is considered to be between 18.5 and 24.9. But remember, it is an estimate and individual factors such as gender or age may put you outside of that. Your muscle and bone density are also factors which may affect which range your BMI falls into.

Generally speaking, a BMI of 18.4 or less is considered underweight and a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is within the healthy range. And here’s the good news about having a good BMI – you are less likely to suffer from chronic disease such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The Jenny Craig weight loss program provides education, strategic direction, dedicated support and guidance to successfully lose the weight and keep it off for life.

What BMI is considered overweight?

A BMI of between 25.0 and 29.9 is categorised as overweight and a BMI of 30.0 and above is classified as obese. If this is you, don’t worry – Jenny Craig will work with you to achieve a healthy BMI and a healthy body you can be proud of. You may even feel like treating yourself to a new pair of jeans when you reach your ideal BMI.

What is the best BMI for a male?

Sorry, but if you fall outside a healthy BMI range you can’t claim it’s because you’re a bloke! The same BMI calculator is used to determine both sexes because the weight range for healthy and unhealthy is the same, irrespective of gender. That said, it is acknowledged that men and women have different body compositions. But as we said, BMI is a healthy weight indicator, not a rule.

“I have a better relationship with food. I understand it more. And I know what I can and can’t eat.”

What is the ideal BMI for a female?

The ideal BMI for a female is the same as the ideal BMI for a male. BMI doesn’t differentiate based on gender, age or a number of other factors. Remember, BMI is a range, not an exact figure. It is also important to note that pregnant women are not included in the BMI calculator. Pregnant women should only undertake weight loss programs with the direct supervision of a doctor or a qualified health practitioner.

See our memberships

Does age impact the body mass index?

Age doesn’t actually affect your body mass index directly. Age is only related to an increasing waist circumference because of a decreasing metabolic rate and a more sedentary lifestyle – which in turn negatively impacts on BMI. But with sustained, regular exercise at a suitable level and opting for a nutritionally balanced, portion-controlled diet, getting older doesn’t have to mean gaining weight.

If you are still young and have more growing to do, your BMI will obviously change if you remained the same weight but grew taller. BMI is therefore generally used as a measure for fully grown adults.

Enjoy Mexican-style Slow Cooked Pork for dinner from the Jenny Craig menu, pictured above. See the full menu.

What should you eat to improve your body mass index?

A healthy, nutritionally balanced diet which includes lean meat or protein sources, fish, vegetables, salad, wholegrains, reduced fat dairy products and fresh fruit will improve your BMI. However, it’s not only about what you eat, but how much, so portion control is an important method of improving your BMI too.

You should still eat your snacks between meals, but they should be healthy snacks – and snack sized, not meal sized! Don’t worry, our personalised meals plans will detail all of this for you.

^Individual results may vary. Discover Lara’s Success Story

What foods should you avoid to improve your BMI?

Your body mass index will reduce if you eat less kilojoules than your body needs, preferably by reducing your intake of saturated fats, added sugars and fried foods. At Jenny Craig we focus on teaching you sensible eating habits which means being aware of good nutrition, a balanced approach to eating and portion control.

People are often surprised to find they can still eat some foods they love when on a Jenny Craig weight loss plan. This is because it is recognised that depriving yourself is not sustainable in the long term, and it is important to lose your weight while maintaining an active social life. At the end of the day it’s all about balance, being aware of the importance of good nutrition, controlling your portion sizes, changing your habits and engaging in mindful eating.

Your Jenny Craig weight loss plan can be of a short or long duration – the sooner you start – the better.

What are the benefits of improving your BMI?

Being overweight is a health risk, so your physical and mental wellbeing will benefit from reducing your waist measurement and BMI.

An excessive waist circumference is associated with increased visceral fat, which means fat around the internal organs – a definite health risk.

The risk factors related to being overweight include cardiovascular disease and stroke, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. There is increased strain on the spine, ligaments and joints and the internal organs don’t function optimally, particularly the kidneys and liver.

As your improved eating habits begin to improve your BMI you will feel more energised which in turn makes it easier to enjoy being physically active, which in turn helps you to lose more weight… and so on. It’s a chicken and egg kind of thing – both of which are nutritious foods by the way!

Can you improve your BMI with exercise?

You certainly can. Exercise is a key component to sustained weight loss and improving your BMI. At Jenny Craig we encourage increased physical activity, which may be anything active that you enjoy doing that is effectively burning kilojoules and losing weight.

It’s really important to find exercise you enjoy doing, because it means you are likely to make it a habit. It’s also good to include stretching in your routine. If you are likely to forget to stretch after your gym session, big walk or jog, perhaps try joining a class which has a focus on stretching.

meet our consultants

How long does it take to reduce your BMI?

The time it takes to reduce your body weight is an individual thing. The Jenny Craig weight loss program is designed to achieve a weekly weight loss of ½ to 1 kilogram but this will vary for everyone.

If you are keen to get those weight loss results happening quickly, you will love our Rapid Results program. This program works with your natural body clock, referred to as the circadian rhythm, to provide your body with two distinct periods, one of nourishment and one of rejuvenation.

This means that in one twelve hour cycle you consume and burn your recommended daily kilojoules and in the other twelve hour period your body gets a break from processing food to regenerate, repair and restore itself. Working with your body in this way can help you to lose weight faster.

How can Jenny Craig help improve your BMI?

Jenny Craig will provide you with a personal weight loss Consultant who will guide, educate and support you in losing weight. Your dedicated Consultant will provide you with targeted meal plans designed by Accredited Practising Dietitians which are strictly kilojoule controlled. Your Consultant will also help you to increase your physical activity and find exercise you enjoy doing, while advocating mindful eating along with a balanced, positive mindset.

On your Jenny Craig journey you will learn about making healthy food choices along the way, as well as how to have a positive approach to living an active life and a healthy relationship with food. You won’t just look better, you’ll feel better too.

Jenny Craig also provide maintenance programs. When you have achieved your ideal body mass index you will have all the knowledge and the tools needed to maintain a healthy weight – and look great in your jeans – for life!

What You Should Know Before You Start A Weight-loss Plan


Both adults and children should get regular physical activity. It is important for losing weight and maintaining good health. Below are ways to increase your activity and burn calories.

  • Add 10 minutes a day to your current exercise routine.
  • Challenge yourself. Move from moderate to intense activities. (See chart below.)
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park further away or walk to your destination instead of driving.
  • Do more household chores, such as dusting, vacuuming, or weeding.
  • Go for a walk or run with your dog and/or kids.
  • Exercise at home while watching TV.
  • Be active on your vacations. Try going for a hike or bike ride.
  • Buy a pedometer or activity tracker. This measures how many steps you take each day. Try to increase your daily number of steps over time. (You can buy pedometers at sporting goods stores.) Some experts recommend walking at least 10,000 steps a day.
  • Limit time spent online, watching TV, and playing video games. This should equal less than 2 hours total per day.

Moderate activity Approximate calories per 30 minutes*
Stretching 90
Light weight lifting 110
Walking (3.5 miles per hour, or mph) 140
Bicycling (less than 10 mph) 145
Light yard work or gardening 165
Golf 165
Dancing 165
Hiking 185
Intense activity Approximate calories per 30 minutes*
Heavy weight lifting 220
Heavy yard work 220
Basketball 220
Walking (4.5 mph) 230
Aerobics 240
Swimming (freestyle laps) 255
Running or jogging (5 mph, or 12 minutes/mile) 295
Bicycling (more than 10 mph) 295

Adapted from Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.
*Average calories burned for a person who weighs 154 lbs. If you weigh more, you will burn more calories. If you weigh less, you will burn fewer calories.


You may have to alter your schedule to make changes to your diet and exercise. This could mean waking up early to work out or packing your lunch so you don’t eat fast food. Along with diet and exercise, you should make other lifestyle changes. Getting enough sleep can help you lose weight. Sleep affects your body’s hormones. This includes the hormones that tell your body if it is hungry or full. You also should try to reduce your stress level. A lot of people relate stress to weight gain.

Things to consider

When you start a weight loss plan, there are things to keep in mind. You may have an obstacle that makes it hard to lose weight. Or it could have lead to weight gain in the first place. You also need to be careful of where you get advice. Your weight loss plan should be safe and successful.


Most people who are trying to lose weight have one or more obstacles. You could have bad habits that started at a young age. Habits are hard to break, but they are possible. Your doctor can help you make changes, one step at a time.

For other people, weight gain can be related to genetics. You may have a health condition that makes it hard to lose weight. Examples of this include:

  • Hormonal disorders
    • Cushing’s disease
    • Diabetes
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Cardiovascular diseases
    • Congestive heart disease
    • Heart valve disorder
    • Idiopathic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Sleep disorders
    • Obstructive sleep apnea
    • Upper airway respiratory syndrome
  • Eating disorders
    • Bulimia
    • Carbohydrate craving syndrome.

Certain medicines also can interfere with your weight loss efforts. This includes:

  • antihistamines for allergies
  • alpha or beta blockers for high blood pressure
  • insulin or sulfonylureas for diabetes
  • progestins for birth control
  • tricyclic antidepressants for depression
  • lithium for manic depression
  • valproate for epilepsy
  • neuroleptics for schizophrenia.

Talk to your doctor about how to manage your weight despite these obstacles. Lifestyle changes, treatment, or surgery can help. You also may benefit from a support group or counseling.

Diet pills, supplements, and fad diets

Some companies and people claim diet pills make you lose weight. This may be true at first, but pills don’t help you keep the weight off. They don’t teach you how to make the necessary lifestyle changes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not test most diet pills. Many of them can have harmful side effects. Talk to your doctor if you think you need a supplement. They can recommend one that doesn’t interact with your medicines or conditions.

Fad diets also are not proven to be safe or help you lose weight. They often offer short-term changes, but don’t help you keep the weight off. People who promote fad diets are famous or get paid to make claims. This does not make them correct or trustworthy.

There is no one magic diet that helps every person lose weight. The idea of “going on a diet” implies that you will “go off the diet” one day. Do not rely on a fad diet to do the work for you. Instead, find a healthy, balanced eating plan that can become a practical lifestyle.

Weight-loss management

There are tools you can use throughout your weight loss plan. They help to track your progress and reach your goals. These include:

  • a pedometer to count your steps
  • a food diary, or journal
  • smartphone apps to record diet and exercise
  • a measuring tape or scale
  • a BMI calculator.

Continue to check in with your doctor while on your weight loss plan. Remember to think about the big picture. Setbacks are bound to happen, but you should concentrate on the small goals and changes. These are what will get you to the finish line.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • Are there any risks to a weight loss plan?
  • What weight loss goals should I make?
  • What BMI should I aim for?
  • What happens if I lose more than the recommended 2 lbs. per week?
  • What should I do if I have a food craving?
  • Should I take any supplements as part of my weight loss plan?
  • Can you recommend a dietician?
  • Can you suggest a support group for people who are losing weight?
  • Once I meet my weight loss goals, how do I maintain my weight?


American Academy of Family Physicians, Food Habits Survey

American Academy of Family Physicians, Nutrition for Weight Loss

American Academy of Family Physicians, Nutrition: How to Make Healthier Food Choices

American Academy of Family Physicians, Nutrition: Keeping a Food Diary

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Adult BMI

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Losing Weight

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),

Easy Ways to Lower Your Body Mass Index

Share on:

You know you’ve eaten a few too many burgers and bowls of ice cream this month. But how much damage has that really done to your body? Calculating your body mass index, or BMI, can help you see what kind of shape you’re in.
It’s calculated by taking your weight in kilograms and dividing it by your height in meters. Then divide it by your height in meters again. Make it easy by checking out our BMI calculator. If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, you’re at a normal or healthy weight. If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you’re overweight. If your BMI is 30 or higher, you’re obese.

Note that BMI doesn’t account for body shape, muscle mass or bone density. So, if you’re an athlete or a body builder, you may have a high BMI even though you’re physically fit.

Now that you have your number, you can take steps to lower it. Here are some easy ways to decrease your BMI. Just remember to always consult your health care provider before starting a new food and exercise regimen.

Get more sleep
You’re not just grumpy when you don’t get enough sleep. Research has found that a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, too. Getting enough shut-eye helps prevent weight gain that results from late-night snacking and lets the body actively burn more calories. Aim for eight to nine hours of sleep every night to maintain a healthy weight and improve your well-being. Get tips on how to get a better night’s sleep.

Watch your calories
To lower your BMI, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. Don’t get overwhelmed. Start by lowering your calories by 500 each day, which can result in about a pound of weight loss per week. One way to do that is to not eat in front of the television. Research from the University of Massachusetts found that you’ll eat up to 288 calories more while watching TV. Instead, eat at the table and trade one hour of TV for a casual walk. Combined, you’ll burn 527 calories.

Brush those chompers
Have you ever brushed your teeth and then had a sip of orange juice? The beverage probably tasted sour. That can work to your advantage when you’re trying to avoid post-dinner munching. Try brushing your teeth earlier in the evening instead of right before bedtime. After you brush your teeth, you’re less likely to snack on empty calories later in the evening.

Keep a food diary
Record everything you drink and eat. Many apps and websites can help, or you can use tried-and-true pen and paper. Note trouble spots that you’ll need to address, like that midafternoon snack. This process will make you feel more accountable for what you eat every day. You may think you’re eating healthy. But writing down every bite makes you aware of those extra calories you consume without even realizing it. Just an extra handful of nuts could cost you more than 100 calories.

Dream of candy
Say it ain’t so. Feel free to daydream about the chocolate bar or gummy bears you saw at the supermarket checkout line. Just don’t buy them. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that by fantasizing about your favorite treats, your consumption of that treat may be reduced because your brain has already “experienced” them on some level.

Prep your meals
Meal prep prevents you from grabbing takeout on the way home from work. On Saturday afternoon, scan cookbooks, magazines and websites to figure out what healthy foods and recipes you’ll eat in the coming week. On Sunday, grocery shop armed with a list. Then spend the rest of the weekend doing food prep, like cooking/freezing meals or chopping up vegetables. Read how one woman stopped dieting and started cooking good food.

Watch little bites
Yes, it may just be a taste here and there. But the calories from those bites and licks add up. A free sample of pizza at the grocery store. A nibble of the cookies your colleague brought into work. A lick of your son’s ice cream at the diner. Your best bet is not to eat it if you’re not hungry or the food isn’t on your meal plan.

Make hydration fun
Drinking ice-cold water can help you burn more calories throughout the day, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism—up to 490 calories a week! Other research shows that drinking water before a meal can help you eat less. Just monitor how much you’re guzzling down. Consider buying a reusable water bottle that’s at least 20 fluid ounces. That way you know exactly how much water it holds, and you can refill it as many times as you need to do so. Add fresh lemon, cucumber, mint or any other fruit or veggie. Not only does it make the flavor more interesting, but you’re more likely to drink it when you take the time to do something special.
Become more active
Dieting will only take you so far. Exercise helps you build lean muscle tissue and lose more fat, which helps change your body composition. Get more active. It doesn’t take much. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to work if possible, ride a bike, play outdoors with the kids or walk the dog. Find out How to Start a Walking Plan.

Key Recommendations

  • Weight loss to lower elevated blood pressure in overweight and obese persons with high blood pressure.
  • Weight loss to lower elevated levels of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides, and to raise low levels of HDL-cholesterol, in overweight and obese persons with dyslipidemia.
  • Weight loss to lower elevated blood glucose levels in overweight and obese persons with type 2 diabetes.
  • Use the BMI to assess overweight and obesity. Body weight alone can be used to follow weight loss and to determine the effectiveness of therapy.
  • Use the BMI to classify overweight and obesity and to estimate relative risk of disease compared to normal weight.
  • The waist circumference should be used to assess abdominal fat content.
  • The initial goal of weight-loss therapy should be to reduce body weight by about 10 percent from baseline. With success, and if warranted, further weight loss can be attempted.
  • Weight loss should be about 1 to 2 pounds per week for a period of 6 months, with the subsequent strategy based on the amount of weight lost.
  • Low-calorie diets (LCD) for weight loss in overweight and obese persons. Reducing fat as part of an LCD is a practical way to reduce calories.
  • Reducing dietary fat alone without reducing calories is not sufficient for weight loss. However, reducing dietary fat, along with reducing dietary carbohydrates, can help reduce calories.
  • A diet that is individually planned to help create a deficit of 500 to 1,000 kcal/day should be an intregal part of any program aimed at achieving a weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week.
  • Physical activity should be part of a comprehensive weight loss therapy and weight control program because it (1) modestly contributes to weight loss in overweight and obese adults, (2) may decrease abdominal fat, (3) increases cardiorespiratory fitness, and (4) may help with maintenance of weight loss.
  • Physical activity should be an integral part of weight-loss therapy and weight maintenance. Initially, moderate levels of physical activity for 30 to 45 minutes, 3 to 5 days a week, should be encouraged. All adults should set a long-term goal to accumulate at least 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, and preferably all, days of the week.
  • The combination of a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity is recommended, because it produces weight loss that also may result in decreases in abdominal fat and increases in cardiorespiratory fitness.
  • Behavior therapy is a useful adjunct when incorporated into treatment for weight loss and weight maintenance.
  • Weight-loss and weight-maintenance therapy should employ the combination of LCDs, increased physical activity, and behavior therapy.
  • After successful weight loss, the likelihood of weight-loss maintenance is enhanced by a program consisting of dietary therapy, physical activity, and behavior therapy, which should be continued indefinitely. Drug therapy also can be used. However, drug safety and efficacy beyond 1 year of total treatment have not been established.
  • A weight maintenance program should be a priority after the initial 6 months of weight-loss therapy.

How To Lose BMI Quickly But Safely For Surgery

It’s kinda of a catch 22 when you need to have a knee or hip replacement and you are already overweight. If you were to have the surgery while being overweight, it will make your recovery much more difficult due to the excess of stress on your new joints. It is also hard to lose weight ahead of time to have the surgery you need so badly, because your affected joints are in pain and it makes it hard to lose weight.

The gold standard of weight is your BMI. It is a common measurement to decide if you are at an appropriate weight for your height, or if you are overweight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, while any reading between 25 and 29.9 is overweight and over 30 is considered obese. To reduce your BMI quickly, it takes some determination and the use of a healthy diet and exercise. The best rule of thumb to a healthy weight loss that will not slow your metabolism or compromise your health in any manner is to shoot for a loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week.

BMI Lowering Diet

The first and most obvious step is to reduce the amount of calories you consume on a daily basis. When you eat more food than your body actually needs, you are contributing to weight gain, which results in a higher BMI. Don’t go on a crazy strict diet to lower calories too much or it will slow down your metabolism and actually prevent weight loss. Women should eat 1,200 calories per day and men should consume 1,500 calories per day.

Remove all the processed foods and sugar from your food. These items have no real nutritional value and they can add weight to your waistline even if you stick to the correct amount of calories per day.

Eat whole, fresh foods such as lean proteins, low fat dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

Foods to Avoid

Many foods that are processed may appear that they are a healthy choice, when in fact, they are not.

Bacon is high in saturated fat and salts. These items are linked to a high BMI and obesity as well as heart disease. It is best to avoid bacon altogether.

Granola bars sound healthy with lots of grains in them. They are also loaded with added sugar that digests quickly and doesn’t curb your appetite for very long. They have a high simple carbohydrate count and many items that are nearly unpronounable and should be avoided.

Ramen noodles are a choice of college students because they are inexpensive and quick to prepare. One package of Ramen contains about 2,000 milligrams of salt, which is 500 mg more than your entire daily intake should be of sodium. It is also full of simple carbohydrates and it provides hardly any nutritional support whatsoever. It also contains a lot of fat, which can increase your waistline.

Dried fruits are healthy right? No, not really. Although dried fruits are a better option than candy because they offer you some fiber, vitamins and minerals, they are super high in calories and give you that euphoric sugar high only to make you crash later. Dried fruits definitely can make you gain weight just as trail mix does.

Flavored nuts taste great and it’s no wonder. They are packed with extra sugar and salt in the flavorings such as honey roasted or maple, soy sauce or even toffee flavoring. These options can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Fruit snacks sound healthy enough. However, they are an enemy to your waistline and your teeth as well. They are full of high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar and they actually only contain about one drop of actual fruit in them.

Microwave popcorn is an unhealthy option of a food choice when trying to get in shape. The extra butter adds lots of fat to your diet, which can actually increase your weight, rather than help as a weight loss plan.

Your best choices are fresh foods, rather than packaged foods that can be full of preservatives. Choose brown items over white items. A white item, such as rice is a processed food, whereas brown rice or wild rice is all natural and not processed for much better health. In your bread choices, choose wheat or partial wheat breads that are brown and contain whole grains over white bread. You can even switch out any of your regular pasta for wheat pasta for a much healthier option.

BMI Lowering Exercise Guides

To lower your BMI through exercise, you need to engage in some sort of activity for 60 minutes per day and five days a week with two days of rest. Doing aerobics for 60 minutes will get you to a loss of your BMI quickly, however, if you are new to an exercise program start off slowly and work up to 30 minutes first, and then increase your exercise sessions to 60 minutes.

Do resistance training two times a week. Resistance training with bands helps to build muscle which in turn helps you to burn more fat and it speeds up your metabolism for a win win situation. Do resistance training on the major muscle groups such as your arms, legs, glutes, abs, and back.

Increase you daily activity by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, when possible. Park farther away from work or in a mall parking lot to increase the amount of steps you take each day. This may not seem like much in the way of exercise, but it can greatly help you to lose BMI before surgery.

Other Considerations

Consider adding a protein supplement to your daily intake, such as Whey Optima. It’s a great tasting protein shake that gives you loads of energy to get through your exercise routine. Protein also is needed to build muscle and lose fat and in addition it keeps your food cravings under control. If you add a dietary supplement such as CFI, you may be greatly surprised as how quickly you drop the extra weight that you need. It functions with an all day appetite suppressant and fat burner to really bump up your game.

Too much weight can take a toll on your body, especially your heart. The good news is that there are steps you can take to get healthier — and even losing a little body weight can start you on the right path.

Why lose weight?

If you’re extremely obese, losing weight can mean “less heart disease, less diabetes and less cancer,” said Robert Eckel, M.D., past president of the American Heart Association. “Metabolic improvements start to occur when people with extreme obesity lose about 10 percent of their body weight.”

Losing weight can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke; risk factors like high blood pressure, plasma glucose and sleep apnea. It can also help lower your total cholesterol, triglycerides and raise “good” cholesterol — HDL.

Understanding Extreme Obesity

A healthy BMI ranges from 17.5 – 25 kg/m2. If your body mass index is 40 or higher, you are considered extremely obese (or morbidly obese.) Check out the American Heart Association’s BMI calculator for adults to determine if your weight is in a healthy range. (Note: BMI in children is determined using a different .)

A woman is extremely obese if she’s 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 235 pounds, making her BMI 40.3 kg/m2. To reach a healthy BMI of 24.8, she would have to lose 90 pounds to reach a weight of 145 pounds.

A man is extremely obese if he’s 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 315 pounds, making his BMI 40.4 kg/m2. To reach a healthy BMI of 25.0, he would need to lose 120 pounds to reach a weight of 195 pounds.

Doctors use BMI to define severe obesity rather than a certain number of pounds or a set weight limit, because BMI factors weight in relation to height.

How to Get Healthier

If you’re extremely obese, taking action to lose weight and improve your health may seem overwhelming. You may have had trouble losing weight or maintaining your weight loss, been diagnosed with medical problems and endured the social stigma of obesity.

“The key to getting started is to find a compassionate doctor with expertise in treating extreme obesity,” said Dr. Eckel, who is also professor of medicine and Charles A. Boettcher II Chair in Atherosclerosis at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo. “Bonding with your physician is the best way to get past first base and on the path to better health.”

If you’re extremely obese, Dr. Eckel recommends that you become more active, but not to start a vigorous workout program without getting physician advice and not until you’ve lost about 10 percent of your body weight.

“You can continue the level of physical activity that you’re already doing, but check with your physician before increasing it,” Dr. Eckel said. “Some people with extreme obesity may have health issues like arthritis or heart disease that could limit or even be worsened by exercise.”

Treatment Options

Talk to your doctor about the health benefits and the risks of treatment options for extreme obesity:

  1. Change your diet. You may be referred to a dietician who can help you with a plan to lose one to two pounds per week. To lose weight, you have to reduce the number of calories you consume. Start by tracking everything you eat.

    “You have to become a good record-keeper,” Dr. Eckel said. “Reduce calories by 500 calories per day to lose about a one pound a week, or cut 1,000 calories a day to lose about two pounds a week.”

  2. Consider adding physical activity after reaching a minimum of 10 percent weight-loss goal.

  3. Medication. Some people can benefit from medication to help with weight loss for extreme obesity. Keep in mind that medication can be expensive and have side effects.

  4. Surgery. If changing your diet, getting more physical activity and taking medication haven’t helped you lose enough weight, bariatric or “metabolic” surgery may be an option. The American Heart Association recommends surgery for those who are healthy enough for the procedure and have been unsuccessful with lifestyle changes and medication. Risks can include infections and potentially dangerous blood clots soon after the operation, and concerns about getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals long-term.

Get The Social Or Medical Support You Need

Although some people can modify their lifestyle and lose weight on their own, many need extra help. A social support system can help encourage your progress and keep you on track. Decide what support best fits your needs — either a weight-loss support group or one-on-one therapy.

Some people with extreme obesity suffer from depression. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment, as some anti-depressant medications can cause weight gain.

Susan Dudley, PhD and Sarah Pedersen, Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund

More and more research studies are confirming the importance of keeping body mass index (BMI) and waistline measurements under control in order to reduce the risk of cancer, other serious diseases, and premature death. But sticking to a healthy diet – especially when we’re trying to lose weight – can be hard for lots of reasons. Keeping track of calories and fat percentages can be confusing, and the nutrition labels on the foods we buy aren’t always that helpful. How are consumers supposed to figure out which diet advice is just hype – that ultimately don’t contribute to better health – and which advice offers good, medically sound information?

Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Calories matter
  • Serving size matters
  • Fats and cholesterol matter
  • Fruits, vegetables and whole grains matter
  • Exercise matters
  • Sticking to it matters

The Only Way to Lose Weight is to Eat Fewer Calories Than You Burn in a Day

Simply increasing your activity level might be enough if you only need to lose a few pounds to get your BMI into a healthy range. Most of the time, however, eating fewer calories is also going to be needed. The calories and fat in the foods we eat add up quickly! For example, have you eaten at a fast food chain recently? To work off the calories from a double cheeseburger, extra large fries and a 24 ounce soft drink – about 1500 calories – you would have to run for two and half hours at a ten minute mile pace! (For more information, see Fast Food Facts: Calories and Fats).

Eating Fewer Calories Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Eating Less Food

The trick to dieting without being hungry is to choose foods that contain fewer calories and also fill you up. An example of this would be having a piece of fruit instead of fries with lunch. It helps to remember that not all foods are created equal! Some foods, such as nuts, are high in nutrients and essential vitamins, while others lack nutritional substance, such as products containing added sugars. “Nutrient-dense food” provides substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals and relatively few calories, but leaves you feeling fuller while also supplying valuable fuel for your body. A person is more likely to stick to a diet-while feeling better and healthier-if calories are nutrition-dense. Empty calories from simple carbohydrates found in foods with processed and refined sugars, such as candy, pasta and bread made from white flour, and foods with corn syrup, leave you hungry again soon after, craving more food. This is because simple carbohydrates quickly turn into useless sugar, whereas complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, and low-fat yogurt and milk, provide long-lasting nutrients, improve digestion, help stabilize blood sugar, and keep your energy at an even level. Although foods such as fruit are also considered simple carbohydrates, they contain vitamins and nutrients that occur naturally, unlike those found in processed and refined foods.

A 2011 study in the respected New England Journal of Medicine found that certain foods were linked to weight change more than others. After following participants for an average of 17 years, researchers found that weight increase was most strongly linked to foods such as potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverages, and unprocessed red meats. Foods such as vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fruits, and yogurts were closely linked to preventing weight-gain.

Eating 5 Smaller Meals Might Work Better Than Eating 3 Larger Ones

Most people are surprised to learn that eating 5 or 6 times a day can be a better way to lose weight than eating only 3 times a day! This only works, however, if you take care to control not only the calorie content but also the amount of food you’re eating. The goal is to eat a small amount of food – like a cup of no-fat yoghurt, for example – every 3 hours or so. Eat only enough so that you don’t feel hungry, but never so much that you feel stuffed. Some people recommend eating your meals off of smaller plates, because research has shown that people have a tendency to try to eat all of what is served to them. Unfortunately, portion sizes for restaurant meals and other prepared foods, and even in our homes – everything from breakfast muffins to a plate of spaghetti – have grown to very unhealthy proportions in the last two decades.

Eat Less Cholesterol and Less Fat – Especially Less Saturated Fat, and Almost No Trans-Fat

Most people have heard that cholesterol is bad, and eating less of it is important. But our bodies also make cholesterol from the fats that we eat. Fats are also very high in calories. So cutting down on total fat intake is helpful.

All fats, however, are not alike, and that’s why it’s important to check food labels to be sure that you’re eating the smallest amount of saturated fat and of trans fat possible. These tend to be the kinds of fat that are found in milk and milk products, those that are solid at room temperature – like the fat in meat products, butter, margarine, shortening and lard – and the fats that come from baked goods and fried foods. The fats you do eat should be mostly “unsaturated” or “polyunsaturated” fats. Although there are some exceptions, these tend to be liquid at room temperature, like canola oil, olive oil and some of the other vegetable oils.

Eat More Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains, and Low- or No-Fat Dairy Products Every Day

There are many good resources to help you learn about healthy eating. For example, the US Department of Agriculture website at My Plate helps you tailor the government’s dietary recommendations to your nutritional needs. Nutritionists at the Harvard School of Public Health have similar (but not identical) healthy food guidelines. What these diets have in common includes recommendations to:

  • Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Usually, the more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the more nutritious. For example, dark green spinach has more nutrients than light green iceberg lettuce.
  • Try and choose whole grain cereal, pasta, rice, and bread. Many foods that claim “whole wheat” or “whole grain” on the front of the package are really made with mostly white, processed flour – which isn’t nearly as nutritious. Always check the ingredients to see if “whole wheat” or “whole grain” is thefirstingredient listed. And don’t be fooled by how a food looks. For example, some dark brown breads are colored with coffee or other dyes, not whole grains. And remember, whole grain rice is brown, not white rice.
  • Avoid food that is high in sugar, like pastries, sweetened cereal, and soda or fruit-flavored drinks.
  • Reduced-fat or no-fat (skim) milk, reduced-fat cheese, and low-fat or no-fat yoghurt are good sources of the protein and calcium we need. Try to eat 2-4 servings of low-fat or no-fat dairy products each day.

Exercise Does More Than Burn Calories

Increasing the amount of exercise you do each day means you burn more calories to help you lose weight. And, research has shown very clearly that 30 minutes of moderately strenuous daily exercise is also one of the most important requirements for disease prevention – even for people who are already at an ideal weight. The exercise you choose doesn’t need to be elaborate, or to take place in a gym. Walking, biking, swimming, or gardening can do the trick, and getting a friend or family member to exercise with you can turn this into a valued part of your daily routine. Learn more about the health benefits of physical activity and how to get started from the CDC.

Staying Healthy is a Life-Long Proposition

When we think about dieting, most of us think about setting a weight-loss goal that will determine how long we watch what we’re eating. A better way to think about it might be to ask yourself the question: How long do I want to try to avoid developing chronic disease? Put in those terms, it’s easy to see that getting control of BMI and eating foods that contribute to continuing good health (or that don’t directly contribute to the development of dangerous disease conditions) is not a short-term goal. For many of us, doing what it takes to get our BMI into a healthy range and to keep it there means learning to live our lives in a new way. Scientists have found that one of the keys to success is to think about these goals every day. For example, people who get on a scale and check their weight daily are more successful at keeping their weight under control than people who don’t.

Don’t Waste Your Time, Energy, and Money on “Quick Fix” Solutions

For some people, there may be faster ways to lose weight than following the diet suggestions listed here. But the important thing to remember is that weight loss is not the only goal. The more important goal is to keep your risk of developing chronic disease and dying younger as low as possible. Fad diets, diet pills, protein powders, liposuction, and even intestinal or gastric bypass surgery might provide a leaner profile, but they don’t provide the nutrients needed to keep you as healthy as you could be.

For more information about BMI and how it is calculated, see Obesity in America: Are You Part of the Problem? Mozaffarian D, Hao T, Rimm, EB, et al. Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2001;364:2392-404.

A very useful demonstration of the trend toward larger portion sizes can be found in the two “Portion Distortion” slide sets that you can view at

Some fats that are liquid at room temperature, like coconut oil, are still high in saturated fats. Check the nutrition label before you buy, to be sure that you’re choosing the product with the lowest possible saturated fat content.


4 Ways to Improve Your BMI

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a useful indicator of your health, and could even alert you and your medical practitioner to any serious illnesses or diseases before it’s too late. It’s important to keep track of your BMI on a regular basis.

BMI is used to determine your ideal weight for your height, but fails to take your body’s composition – the amount of fat and muscle you carry – into account. It is therefore only valuable as a guide.

A low BMI suggests you are underweight, while a higher BMI may indicate that you are overweight or obese, depending on the final figure. Both extremes can be equally risky, but require further testing, such as body fat measurements, waist-to-hip ratios, and others to make a conclusive diagnosis.

In this regard, using a fitness device such as the TomTom Touch fitness tracker, makes it easier to monitor your overall health, with its innovative built-in ‘body composition analysis’ feature which measures and tracks your fat percentage and muscle mass at the touch of a button.

When these data are used in conjunction with BMI, where a general guidelines to determine if you are within the ‘healthy’ range is a BMI of 20 to 24.9, then you can start to make informed decisions on how to improve your weight and body composition to benefit your health.

According to TomTom, if you aim to shift your BMI into the ‘healthy’ range, you should follow these 4 steps:

1. Establish an effective workout routine

A great way improve your body composition and possibly lose or gain weight to achieve a healthy BMI is to exercise regularly. This should include a reasonable amount of cardio activity – particularly if you need to lower your BMI – in addition to sufficient resistance exercise. Workouts that combine both, such as CrossFit or any type of high-intensity interval weight training are also ideal.

If your BMI is low, adding muscle is the best way to gain weight. Opt for complex, compound exercises such as bench presses, dumbbell presses, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, chin-ups, and dips. Draw up a weekly roster for a balanced workout routine and try to stick to it, or you can work with a professional trainer to help you keep to a routine and get the results you’re after.

2. Make fitness a conscious effort

You don’t have to become a gym bunny to live a healthy and active lifestyle – there are plenty of ways to drop a few kilos by performing simple, everyday tasks. For example, take the stairs instead of the lift and try to take short breaks at work to walk around instead of just sitting at your desk until it’s time to knock off.

Along with body composition analysis, you can also use your TomTom Touch to set fitness goals and track physical activity for the week, as well as keep an eye on your ticker using the built-in heart-rate monitor.

3. Eat your way to good health

It’s important to be mindful of what and how you eat when it comes to achieving a weight goal – as many health experts will tell you, losing (or gaining) weight is about 20% exercise and 80% diet. If you’re trying to gain weight, you will obviously need to increase your calorie intake, ideally by including more protein, with an optimal balance of natural fats and complex carbohydrates in your diet. Those trying to lose weight should try to cut down on calories and manipulate their carbohydrate intake (read more about carb cycling here).

A helpful way to stay on top of a diet plan is to keep a food diary, documenting each meal of the day along with its nutritional value. It’s also a good idea to visit a dietician, who will be able to provide you with an eating plan that is best suited to your individual needs.

4. Get more shut-eye

Puffy eyes and a grumpy attitude aren’t the only side effects of a poor night’s rest. Research has shown that a lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain. Going to bed on time every night not only helps prevent weight gain that results from late-night snacking, but also allows the body to actively burn more calories.

Adults should aim to get between eight and nine hours of sleep every night to maintain a healthy weight and improve overall wellbeing. If you have trouble getting to bed on time, try switching of all screens and electronic devices at least an hour before bed time and make yourself a warm caffeine-free drink.

A TomTom Touch device will automatically track and analyse your sleep each night, giving you the data you need to understand your sleep patterns, and make any changes that will have you feeling more rested.

Visit for more information on TomTom’s range of fitness products.

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *