Monday, October 8, 2012

What’s the difference between being overweight and obese?

A lot of us are closer than we'd like to admit to being medically obese. You might think that you need to be 100 lbs or more overweight to be considered obese but actually someone can be obese and at risk for all the illnesses associated with obesity by just being 40 lbs over eight. Take a look at this BMI Chart:


Health Status

Below 18.5


18.5 - 24.9



Over weight

30.0 and Above


Now let's use an average height woman at 5 foot 5 inches as our guide. According to this chart a 5 foot 5 inch woman who is 140 lbs is within a normal BMI range, with a BMI of 23.3. So, how much weight does she have to gain to be 30.0 or above? Surprisingly, only 40 lbs.! At 180 lbs, the 5 foot 5 inch female, will have a calculated BMI of 30.0. That's quite scary when you think about it.

Note: BMI = ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703 or use the chart at

There are different classes of obesity, with the morbidly obese woman having a BMI of 40 or greater. So, how much weight does our 5 foot 5 inch woman need to gain to become morbidly obese? She'd have to weigh 247 lbs to be classified as morbidly obese. However, even before she gets to that level she's in danger of many illnesses associated with obesity such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Once a woman gets to the level of morbid obesity she likely has one or more conditions present and unfortunately, without drastic intervention most morbidly obese people don't lose weight and keep it off.

This is not to say they cannot, it's just to say that statistically, it's unlikely. But, the fact is if you remain morbidly obese you're not going to live a long and happy life. You will die early from a whole range of painful and deadly diseases. While statistics put the obese person as unlikely to lose weight and keep it off, the truth is, you can stick to a diet that considers your nutritional needs, caloric needs, and mobility so that you can give yourself a chance at a long, healthy, and happy life.

You don't have to resort to surgery, although for some this may be an answer, though a dangerous one. Sticking to a whole food diet, rich in veggies and fruits, and low in processed GMO (genetically modified organisms), low in processed foods, will improve your health and lead to a slow and healthy weight loss. However, it has to be an entire lifestyle change, and not just a diet that has a finish line. There is no weight loss race in spite of the diet industry and reality TV's portrayal of weight loss. The best way to permanent weight loss is through a permanent change in what you eat. Even if you do resort to surgery, the truth is, you'll be also making a huge change in what you eat, if you made those same changes without surgery the result would be the same.

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