Too much weight can take a toll on your body, especially your heart. The good news is that there are steps you can take to get healthier — and even losing a little body weight can start you on the right path.
Understanding Extreme Obesity
A healthy BMI ranges from 17.5 – 25 kg/m2. If your body mass index is 40 or higher, you are considered extremely obese or morbidly obese. Check out the American Heart Association’s BMI calculator for adults to determine if your weight is in a healthy range.
A woman is extremely obese if she’s 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 235 pounds, making her BMI 40.3 kg/m2. To reach a healthy BMI of 24.8, she would have to lose 90 pounds to reach a weight of 145 pounds.
A man is extremely obese if he’s 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 315 pounds, making his BMI 40.4 kg/m2. To reach a healthy BMI of 25.0, he would need to lose 120 pounds to reach a weight of 195 pounds.
Doctors use BMI to define severe obesity rather than a certain number of pounds or a set weight limit because BMI factors weight in relation to height.
How to Get Healthier
If you’re extremely obese, taking action to lose weight and improve your health may seem overwhelming. You may have had trouble losing weight or maintaining your weight loss, been diagnosed with medical problems and endured the social stigma of obesity.
You can continue the level of physical activity that you’re already doing but check with your physician before increasing it.
Talk to your doctor about the health benefits and the risks of treatment options for extreme obesity:
Change your diet. You may be referred to a dietician who can help you with a plan to lose one to two pounds per week. To lose weight, you have to reduce the number of calories you consume. Start by tracking everything you eat.
Some people with extreme obesity suffer from depression. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment, as some anti-depressant medications can cause weight gain.