The statistics can feel a little overwhelming. Consider:
- Obesity is the second most common cause of preventable death in the United States
- Sixty million Americans over the age of 20 are obese
- 78% of Americans do not meet basic activity level recommendations
- There has been a 76% increase in the incidence of Type II Diabetes in adults between 20-30 years old since 1990
Weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared, then multiplying that number by 703.
For example: if you weigh 150 pounds and are 65 inches tall, you would square the 65 to get 4225. Then you would divide 150 by 4225 (.0355) and then multiply that by 703. Your BMI would then be 24.96.
Or you can simply use a BMI calculator from About.com to find the right BMI.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, if your BMI is under 18.5, you are underweight. If you are between 18.5 and 24.9, you are normal for your height. BMI numbers between 25.0 and 29.9 suggest that you are overweight and if your BMI is 30.0 or over, you are considered obese.
So, if you determine that you need to lose weight (which many of us need to according to these numbers), then it is important to get started. After all, reducing weight to the normal level is one of the best things we can do to reduce our risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other dangerous medical conditions.
Many fitness experts suggest that there are some critical numbers that men can use to begin to make a dent in that weight loss effort.
10,000. Walking 10,000 steps a day is one of the best ways to begin to address weight loss. For the average man, walking 10,000 steps will burn enough calories and increase metabolism enough to begin to lose weight. Many doctors will recommend that a man get a pedometer and make sure that he has enough activity each day to walk that number of steps. One friend I know began his weight loss effort by keeping track and then before bed, he would walk through his neighborhood each evening until he hit the magic 10,000 steps. You might also consider adding a few extra steps during the day by parking a little further away from the door of places you go or taking the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
Four. Many health coaches recommend that men avoid foods with the following four ingredients:
- Simple sugars like corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, sucrose and glucose
- Trans fats (including words like hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated)
- Saturated fats like animal fat, poultry skin or tropical oils
- Wheat unless the food product is 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain
Thirty. Your fitness regimen should include at least 30 minutes each week of muscle building exercises. Taking this much time will help increase your metabolism, which in turn will burn fat in your body much more efficiently.
Seven. Work hard to get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. When you are sleep deprived, your body tends to crave sugary foods, so getting enough sleep can be a really effective weight loss strategy.
Eight. Work to drink 8 glasses of water (8 ounces at a pop) during the day. Many men who have lost weight efficiently have tried to drink a full glass of water before each meal and then a full glass during the meal, and two additional glasses during the day at other times. It seems to help flush out the bad stuff and also make you want smaller portions when you do eat.
Nine. Consider using a nine-inch plate for your meals. Then target 50% of the plate being non-starchy vegetables or fruits (like a salad or veggies), 25% protein (lean healthy cuts or fish) and 25% carbohydrates like rice, pasta or a tortilla. Working to keep a smaller plate in proportion will help you eat more sensibly.
A Few Other Tips. Besides these simple numbers, you might consider the following ideas which have helped lots of dads in their weight loss efforts.
- Keep a food journal. Writing down everything you eat every day will really help you understand your unhealthy eating patterns. And then if you enter all of your food consumed at LiveStrong.com, you can get a good analysis of your patterns and see what nutrients you are missing each day.
- Be cautious of portion sizes. Most of what we eat in restaurants is much larger than we need to eat. Consider eating only half of what you get at a restaurant and taking the other half home for later.
- Have a healthy snack between meals. Try to eat a small snack of less than 100 calories between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner. This will help level your blood sugar during the day and make your fat burning more efficient. Consider a couple of celery sticks, a small apple or a low-fat protein shake.
- Don't eat after dinner. Most of the guys I know have sworn that this was one of the biggest helps. The food we eat right before bedtime seems to make a direct trip to the belly or the hips. So just have a good drink of water if you get hungry after dinner.