High BMI risks and what to do about it – Diet, Exercise, Surgery?
If you have a high BMI, you’re susceptible for a number of serious health risks. So what can you do about it? Well, the most obvious answer is to lose weight, right? In this guide, we’re going to talk about:
- Why it’s so important for you to keep you BMI in a healthy range
- How you can reduce your BMI if you’re in an unhealthy and unsafe range
- The risks associated with having a high BMI and what you can do to fix it
Let’s start the conversation about your BMI and whether you’re at risk for health issues. Then, you can get on track to a healthy and safe body mass index.
High BMI: What are the Risks?
When your BMI is higher than it should be, you could be at risk for developing a number of health concerns. Your extra weight puts strain on your muscles, your joints and your heart. Your liver and kidneys are doing more work than necessary. And it may even be harder for you to breathe if your BMI is too high.
But there are specific health risks you face if your BMI isn’t in a healthy range. A healthy BMI is defined as anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9, but that could vary based on your age and physical condition. If your BMI is higher than this range, you are at risk for:
- Heart and blood circulation disease (cardiovascular)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain types of cancer
- Gallbladder infection and disease
- Depression and suicide
- High blood pressure
Obviously, the extra weight is going to put undue stress on your muscles and joints, too, so it’s likely you’ll just feel lousy when your BMI is too high. In short, a high BMI doesn’t just mean you’re overweight. It means you could suffer some very serious health concerns in the long run.
How Do I Know my BMI is Too High?
As we mentioned, a healthy body mass index is anywhere from 18.5 and 24.9, but how do you find out what your specific BMI is? Well, the easiest way to do this is simply to go online! Use a BMI calculator to input your sex, weight and height as well as your age and your BMI will be calculated for you.
Want to figure out your BMI on the go? It’s a pretty easy formula. It’s your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. In other words, take your height in meters and multiply it by itself. Then divide that number into your weight in kilograms.
If that number is under 18.4, you’re underweight, which presents a whole new set of problems. If it’s over 25, your BMI is too high and you’re at risk for health problems. Talk to a doctor about ways you can bring your BMI down, and in the meantime, here are some ways you can bring down your BMI and get into a more healthy range.
1. Go on a diet
Yes, of course you know that eating better is going to bring down your high BMI. As you lose weight, you’ll also lower your risks for the diseases we have already mentioned. But what are you doing about it? If you don’t take your diet seriously, you’re not going to lose the weight you need to become healthier.
There are some simple things you can do to help improve your diet. Here are a few ways you can lower your high BMI through changes in your nutritional plan.
- Drink a full glass of water about 30 minutes before every meal. You’ll feel fuller at meal time, and water will help aid your digestion as well.
- Consider taking a fiber supplement. This, too, can help you feel full and improve your digestive health.
- Fill half your plate with fresh fruits and veggies and reduce your intake or carbohydrates. This is especially true for the processed carbs like white bread and foods like crackers and white pasta.
- Send someone else to the grocery store so that you’re not tempted by the “junk” foods and sugary stuff. Or, consider a home grocery delivery service. If it’s not in the house, you won’t eat it!
- Get your family in on your plan. They can help choose – and prepare – healthy meals that everyone will love. There’s little more discouraging than eating salad while everyone else is eating steak.
- Plan your meals ahead of time. This will cut down on those instances where you just can’t think of what’s for supper and you resort to eating pizza or fast food.
If you need more ideas to help you trim down and reduce your high BMI through diet, consider talking to a doctor or a nutritionist. They can help you determine a meal plan that will suit your goals and your lifestyle.
Yep. You knew it was coming, didn’t you? You can lower your high BMI and reduce your risks of disease without exercise, but physical activity is actually quite easy to fit in, so why wouldn’t you try it? Doctors recommend that you get 150 minutes or moderate activity each week – that’s just 30 minutes each day. The best part is that you can split it up. Ten minutes here and another ten there will have you losing weight in no time.
If you’re more of a vigorous exerciser, you’ll need around 75 minutes per week. That’s just 15 minutes per day of running or another high impact activity. Talk to your doctor about whether your health is stable enough for you to begin an exercise routine and then get moving!
When you exercise, you’ll be burning more of the calories you consume. So be sure to ask your doctor if you actually need to increase your caloric intake when you begin to work out. It’s possible that your nutritional needs will change with the type of workout you do, so ask a professional for guidance.
3. Weight loss surgery
Have you seen those television shows where obese people sign up for bariatric surgery? If you’re severely overweight and have an extremely high BMI, you can reduce your risk of disease by undergoing surgery. It’s not without its own risks though.
Risks of bariatric surgery can be related to the anesthesia you’ll have to undergo, but there can be other complications as well. These include a wide range of severity. Some risks of bariatric surgery are:
- Stomach ulceration
- Dumping syndrome
- Bowel obstruction
- Blood clots
- Skin separation
- Vitamin deficiency
- Many, many more
As you can see, it may be safer for you to lose weight and reduce your high BMI naturally rather than undergoing surgery. At any rate, surgery is not an option you should take lightly. Be sure you and your surgeon discuss all the pros and cons before you sign anything.
4. Weight loss supplements
Weight loss supplements aren’t a great way to lower your high BMI on your own, but they can certainly help you lose weight when you take them the right way. Talk to your physician about which pills and supplements are right for you before you begin to add any supplements to your plan.
There are a few types of weight loss supplements. Most commonly you’ll see:
- Fat burners
- Fat blockers
- Metabolism boosters
- Carb blockers
- Appetite suppressants
Each of these categories of weight loss supplements has the potential to present risks. For instance, fat blockers may cause diarrhea, while metabolic boosters may increase your heart rate. It’s important that you speak with your doctor before you begin taking any sort of pill that’s not a prescription medicine. Together you and your doc can monitor your progress and any side effects you may experience.
5. Alternative methods
There are quite a few alternative methods you can use to lower your high BMI, and some present very few risks. Meditation, for instance, has been shown to help put dieters in control of their appetites and their health. Hypnosis is another tool used by some that’s pretty low-risk when performed by a licensed professional.
Use your judgment and do your research before you try alternative methods to weight loss. And remember – just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe! Thoroughly research every procedure or medication before you begin using these methods to lose weight and reduce your risks of health conditions caused by obesity.
Losing weight, lowering your high BMI and reducing your risks of health complications is easy in theory. However, we know it’s going to take a lot of effort on your part. Keep your chin up and don’t get discouraged if you don’t lose weight right away. By making lifestyle changes, you’ll already be on your way to better health and a better life.