BMI and Weight Loss

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is used by some fire and rescue services to tell how healthy a person’s weight is, by comparing that person’s weight with their height. It is generally accepted that a person of a certain height should weigh a certain amount and the BMI is used to give an indication of how under or overweight a person is.

You can use the following simple calculation to calculate your own BMI and see if you are a healthy weight for your own height.

  • Take your weight in kilograms (kg) and divide it by your height in metres (m)
  • Then divide the result by your height in metres (m) again.

For example:

If you weigh 80kg and your height is 1.8m, then 80 ÷ 1.8 ÷ 1.8 = 24.7

In this example, the BMI score is 24.7

Using your own BMI score, you can then compare the result to the table below, which is guidance produced by the World Health Organisation.

A score of:

Less than 18.4 – Underweight for your height
Between 18.5 and 24.9 – Ideal weight for your height
Between 25 and 29.9 – You are over the ideal weight for your height
Between 30 and 39.9 – You are obese
Over 40 – Severely obese

It should be noted that this score does not account for your frame, age or any medical conditions. If you train regularly with weights and have developed muscles then your score may suggest you are overweight when in fact you are not.

BMI does not relate to children or the elderly as a person’s bones in these age groups weigh less than an adult’s average. It is also not applicable to apply the BMI to women who are pregnant or people with medical conditions.

So bearing the above points in mind, if you are of average build and do not fall into any of the above exceptions, your BMI score can give an estimate of how healthy your weight is for your height. If you scored over 25, then you are at risk from related health problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure and should consider shifting a few pounds to bring your weight down to a more healthy level.

A score of over 30 will need immediate attention, as the risks from serious illness will dramatically increase, leading to possible conditions such as diabetes and other serious health problems.

At some point in our lives, we could all do with losing a few pounds but with the amount of advice about on how to lose weight and shed some extra pounds, there is no wonder people are confused about what works and what does not.

It seems to have been forgotten that the theory behind losing weight is very simple and by following this simple theory, you WILL lose weight.


  • If you burn more calories than you put into your body, you will lose weight
  • If you do the opposite and eat more calories than you burn off, you will put weight on.

It’s that simple! So what is the best way to burn off those calories?

It’s commonly believed that to lose weight a person should get their heart rate into the ‘fat burn’ zone while exercising which is typically around 60% of their maximum heart rate.

Although training at this level is better than doing nothing at all, the harder your body and muscles are working during exercise then the more calories your body will burn.

Compare the human body to a car. If you drive your car at 70mph in 3rd gear, it will burn a lot more fuel than if you cruise in top gear. Your body is no different. By exercising at a higher intensity, you will make your body work harder and burn off more calories.

The key to losing weight is consistency and will normally involve a lifestyle change for that individual.

Crash diets in their many forms DO NOT work, any weight loss is nearly always short term and the weight is soon re-gained once the diet has ended.

Consistency in exercising and consistency in eating the right food is what works.

Most people stick to an exercise plan if it involves the ‘little but often’ approach in that they exercise more regularly but for less time. 15 minutes of high intensity exercise everyday will bring much better results than an hour long session of lower intensity exercise just 3 or 4 times a week.

Great fat burning exercises include bodyweight movements such as jump burpees or squat thrusts. Other exercises include skipping, hill sprints and interval training which includes periods of 100% effort spaced with periods of rest. This can be done in the pool, on a bike or out road running but the sprinting element raises the intensity.

You will see greater results from just 15 minutes of hill sprint training training than an hour long ‘easy’ jog or bike ride.

  • Choose an exercise that you enjoy or mix them up to add interest and you will be more likely to stick to it
  • Remember… the harder you work the more calories you will burn off and the more weight you will lose.

Regarding diet, 10 pages could be written on what foods are good for you and those that are bad. On top of that a further 100 pages could list all the current ‘diets’ out there at the moment. You do not need to go on a diet to lose weight but you may need to change YOUR diet to include less fatty foods and include more food that is good for you and carries less fat.

Like exercise, keep it simple.

Everybody knows that chips, take away, cake, chocolate and biscuits will make you put on weight if eaten in excess. By the same token, everybody knows fruit, vegetables and a balanced diet to include protein, carbohydrate and all the vitamins and minerals the body needs will keep you healthy and prevent you putting on weight.

Include more fresh fruit and vegetable in your diet. Eat plenty of chicken, rice and pasta for protein and carbs and drink plenty of water. Avoid fizzy drinks and cut back on alcohol. Following a correct diet is common sense, not rocket science.

A useful tip is to give yourself a day off each week and (within reason!) eat what you like. This rewards your efforts for the past week and restarts your enthusiasm to stick to your new diet for the coming week ahead.

The list of benefits to losing weight is endless but will overall drastically improve your health and overall quality of life.

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