Here are some statistics to get you thinking about whether or not you’re overweight. According to a BBC report more than 60% of all adults and 30% of all children in the United Kingdom are overweight. In fact women in the UK are the fattest in Europe, with the men not lagging far behind in that category either. It’s all too easy to live in denial about your weight but the easiest way to get an accurate reading is to check your body mass index or BMI for short; this is a two digit number based on your height and your weight which tells you whether or not you’re actually overweight.
Now before we look at average BMI numbers it’s important to understand the difference between being overweight because you’ve added extra lean muscle mass to your body and being overweight because you’re carrying a lot of extra fat. The basics of this are that having more muscle mass means you’re burning more calories, whereas carrying more fat just puts your entire body at risk of a wide variety of health problems. Basically if you’re a man or woman and you have a BMI of more than 30 you are overweight – this equals a waistline of 40-inches or more in a man and 35-inches or more for a woman. Carrying this much extra weight around on your body dramatically increases your risk of heart disease.
If you are overweight then it tells us a lot about your diet because, chances are, that you’re eating a diet rich in saturated and trans fats – these are the types of fats you’ll find in fried and takeaway foods and are incredibly bad for you. So bad in fact that the more trans and saturated fats you eat the higher your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels will be and once you reach a BMI of more than 30 your LDL cholesterol will probably be a 6.0 or higher; a 4.0 is about average.
As you’re probably aware having all that extra cholesterol floating around inside your body means that you’re running the risk of developing arteriosclerosis, which is a hardening and narrowing of your arteries, due to the plaque deposits left there by the LDL cholesterol. This means your heart has to work far harder to pump blood around your body. The harder you make your heart work the more strain you’re putting on it and eventually that extra strain can cause the heart muscles to weaken and you’re then facing the dire prospect of congestive heart failure (CHF).
Carrying a lot of extra fat around also means that you’re also limiting your ability to exercise for more than a few minutes so your body has even fewer opportunities to lose weight. What’s even more terrifying is the fact that not only will fat gather around your waistline but given enough time you’ll actually develop fat deposits around your heart – your heart will literally have a coating of fat around it making it almost impossible for it to function properly.
And last but by no means least you also have the additional danger of high blood pressure, which when combined with elevated LDL cholesterol levels, poor diet and a lack of physical activity means you are between 4 and 8 times more likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke as a result of being overweight.
We live in a society where we make excuses for everything from anti-social behaviour to being overweight but the reality is that if you have a BMI of 30 or more you are eating more calories than you’re burning off. It really is that simple.
But it’s not all bad news because you can make changes to your diet right now that could help you lose at least a stone in the next 4 – 6 weeks and if you combine exercise with a healthy diet you could easily lose 1-stone (14 pounds) in just 2 – 3 weeks; and you’d be gaining lots of nice new muscles at the same time!