Friday, May 18, 2012

When you’re overweight, you usually know it. Your clothes feel tight and your body bulges where it didn’t before. You feel like you’re jiggling when you walk down the street. You look in the mirror and your excess weight is staring right back at you. Ignoring it is difficult because half of your total body fat lies just beneath your skin.

Being overweight means different things to different people. The following definitions clarify it so you clearly understand when health experts use the terms overweight and obese.

  • Overweight means you’re 10 to 20 percent higher than your normal, healthy weight. (You can determine your healthy weight in the next section.) For instance, if a healthy weight for you is 125 pounds, you’re overweight if you weigh 13 to 26 pounds more than that, or between 138 and 151 pounds.
  • Obese means you weigh 20 percent or more than your normal, healthy weight and your excess weight comes from body fat. If your extra weight is from muscle you’ve developed by lifting weights or doing other exercises, you may be several pounds overweight by any of the usual standards. This type of overweight is different from the type of overweight that results from excess fat, and the usual standards don’t apply to you. The standards only apply if you’re “overfat,” which means your excess weight is coming from excess fat and may be a threat to your health.
  • Morbidly obese means you’re 50 to 100 percent above your healthy weight or you’re sufficiently overweight to have serious health problems.

The following sections are devoted to different ways you can measure yourself and compare yourself to standard weight charts to see just how far you are from your healthy weight. This information can help you establish your long-term weight-loss goal in Chapter 4.

Interpreting a healthy weight range chart
Computing your BMI

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