Here at UHCS we meet with students who have questions about gaining weight, losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. Our staff members can give you advice on diet and nutrition, exercise and other weight management strategies.
From the Experts at UHCS:
Determining what your ‘healthy weight’ is can be really difficult. Unfortunately, we live in a society where we are bombarded by images telling us what is ‘ideal’. Not all of us are built like supermodels! And some of us even have a difficult time gaining weight. It is important for all people to find their healthy weight because being overweight or underweight is associated with a range of negative health outcomes.
Here are some steps you can take to make sure that you find and attain your best weight.
- Determine your current body mass index (BMI). BMI is a tool that takes into account your height and weight to measure your current weight status. There are numerous BMI calculators online. I like to use this one http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm.
- If your BMI is less than 18.5, you are in the underweight category. Talk to your doctor to find out if your weight is a symptom of a medical problem.
- If your BMI is between 19 and 24.9, you are in the recommended weight range for your height. But your health may still be at risk if you are not getting regular physical activity and practicing healthy eating.
- If your BMI is 25 to 29.9, you are in the overweight category. This may or may not be unhealthy, depending on some other things, like your waist size and other health problems you may have.
- If your BMI is 30 or higher, you’re in the obese category. You may need to lose weight and change your eating and activity habits to get healthy and stay healthy.
***Remember that BMI does not take into account muscle mass. If you are incredibly muscular, your BMI may be in a higher category and not accurately depict your weight status.
- Set a goal weight. To do this you can look at the healthy weight range based on your BMI.
***Cool trick: using your middle finger and thumb on one hand, make a circle around the other wrist. If your fingers overlap, you have a small frame. Fingers touching equals a medium frame and if your fingers are not able to touch, you have a larger frame. Based on these small/medium/large categories, you can get an idea of whether or not your weight should be at the lower or higher end of your healthy weight range.
- Regardless of if you are trying to gain weight, lose weight or just stay the same, be sure you eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats/protein and low-fat dairy. Try to avoid fast-food, sweets, processed food and soda. Eat breakfast. Exercise.
If you are trying to lose weight, 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week is great. If you are losing more than that, the change is less likely to stick over the long term.
- Set goals for yourself and track your progress.
- Come talk to us if you need more ideas or tips! Good luck!
- Whitney Henley, MPH
If you would like to speak with a counselor at UHCS, please call 262.472.1305 to schedule an appointment. If you would like to meet with one of our health services staff, you may schedule an appointment online or call 262.472.1300.