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7 Ways to Know if You Are Overweight or Obese

Thinking about starting a diet?

Ready to hit the gym to drop a few unwanted pounds?

Do you truly understand why you’re about to follow that new diet and exercise program?

If you’re only going by the scale, it can cause you a lot of unwanted headaches, and a ton of wasted time. Before you start your fitness journey, or keep your current plan going, it’s important to know if you are simply overweight, or if you are obese. Each will require a different type of diet and exercise program, plus which supplements you should be taking. Use these 7-ways to know if you are obese or simply overweight before you start your diet and workout plan, and you’ll make reaching your goals much easier.

1. Know Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

The Body Mass Index (BMI) has been used for several decades. It can help you assess whether you are within your ideal ‘healthy’ range for weight and body fat. The BMI can also help you determine if you are overweight, very overweight, or clinically obese. Your BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms (or pounds) by your height in meters (or feet) squared.

Work with qualified weight loss specialists when making this assessment because if you are muscular, or your weight is distributed unusually, your BMI score will be inaccurate. Also, the BMI scale completely disregards the distribution of fat in the body, ignoring the risk posed by visceral fat around organs. It doesn’t consider factors like genetics, bone density, and overall body composition. Thus, relying solely on BMI can misclassify your current health status. Working with a weight loss expert can help you determine the accuracy of the test, and if you should use other measurement metrics along with your BMI test.

2. Waist Circumference

Where you store body fat is just as – if not more – important than the amount of fat you carry. If you are carrying excess weight in your belly area, you could be at a much higher risk of health issues. Abdominal fat, known as visceral fat, has been linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

People who carry excess weight around their abdomen, often referred to as visceral fat, are at a higher risk of health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. For men, a waist circumference of over 40 inches (102 cm), or women over 35 inches (88 cm), may indicate an increased risk of obesity-related health problems. This measurement could be combined with your BMI to give you an overall picture of where you are starting, and what your weight-loss goals should be. However, it is recommended that you use your waist measurement along with one of the tests below.

3. Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Another way to assess your fat distribution is to find out your waist-to-hip ratio. This is similar to measuring your waist circumference, but this test can determine if your body is holding an excess of fat in your belly as compared to the rest of your body, especially in your hips and legs.

Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement to determine your ratio. A higher ratio indicates more fat accumulation around the waist, which can be an indicator of obesity-related health risks and an increased likelihood of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and metabolic disorders.

Research shows that a well-balanced waist-to-hip ratio is associated with better overall health, and can reduce your risk of chronic conditions. Monitoring and maintaining this ratio can provide you with valuable insights about your current weight status, and can help you while on your journey to drop that unwanted body fat.

4. Health Risk Assessment

What are all of these measurements used for?

To assess your current health risks.

Obesity increases the likelihood of developing various health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and certain types of cancer. It’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional to assess your weight status and its impact on your overall health when you find yourself experiencing symptoms like:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Joint pain
  • Sleep apnea
  • Fatigue

Your health care professional will assess factors like:

  • Medical history
  • Existing conditions
  • Lifestyle habits

A health risk assessment provides a personalized framework unique to your body and your needs. It will help you select the right diet and exercise plan so that it maximizes your chance of success while minimizing common pitfalls. Plus, a health risk assessment before starting your diet will encourage a more holistic view of your health, steering the focus beyond simple weight loss. This assessment can help uncover the underlying health issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, improving your chances of long-term success.

5. Work With Your Doctor or Other Healthcare Expert

Consulting with your healthcare provider, your doctor, a trainer, or other weight loss pro is one of the most accurate ways to determine whether you are overweight or obese. These professionals will take into account your medical history and family history and can perform thorough assessments to evaluate your weight status accurately. Healthcare professionals may use tools like body fat percentage measurements, blood tests, and other diagnostic methods to provide a comprehensive picture of your health before you start your journey.

Working with a weight loss expert can also help you choose the right supplementation. They can steer you away from the thousands of fad, useless supplements lining the shelves, and instead help you find scientifically sound supplements and medical treatments that can speed up weight loss, keep it going, and oftentimes, make it much easier. These experts can also help you choose, and adapt, the right exercise plan to pair perfectly with your body and your needs.

6. General Self-Assessment

All of these tests can measure the numbers, but only you understand how you feel in your own body. Take an honest assessment of your:

  • Energy levels
  • Joint health (stiffness, pain, etc.)
  • How your clothes fit
  • How you feel when you look in the mirror

Recognizing whether you are overweight or obese isn’t solely about numbers and measurements. It’s also about how you feel about yourself and how your weight affects your mental well-being. If you find that your body weight, or your body fat levels, are causing you distress, affecting your self-esteem, or interfering with your daily life, it’s important to address these feelings.

It’s important to keep in mind that the mental stress you feel if you are unhappy with your weight, your body, or how you feel overall can cause your body to produce too much cortisol. This hormone, when produced in excess, can signal your body to switch to fat storage mode. Worse yet, it seems cortisol tends to cause fat gain in the midsection. Therefore, no matter what your other numbers show, if you are feeling that you need to lose extra weight, then choose a healthy exercise and diet plan; it can help reduce that cortisol-causing stress.

7. Body Composition

Body composition analysis, which can be a combination of multiple tests on this list, goes far just weighing yourself. It considers the proportion of fat and lean mass in your body. Muscle weight is more dense than fat, so if you have a lot of muscle mass, your scale weight might have a higher weight without being overweight or obese. There are multiple tools can provide insights into your body composition, helping you understand if you’re carrying excess fat:

  • Specialized scales
  • Skinfold calipers
  • Bioelectrical impedance devices

Measuring, then monitoring, your body composition prevents muscle loss, a common problem with aggressive, low-calorie diets, ensuring that weight loss primarily stems from body fat reduction. Adjustments in your diet and exercise plan can be made based on real-time data, which can help boost your motivation by showcasing your progress beyond the scale, which doesn’t always move the way you’d expect while you’re dieting.

Determining whether you are a little overweight, very overweight, or obese is a key step in formulating your fitness and weight loss plan. Consult with your physician, trainer, or other weight loss expert, then choose two or more of these tests to get a better idea of your weight issue. Your BMI, waist circumference, health risk assessment, body composition, general self-assessment, and waist-to-hip ratio can all paint a vivid picture of where your body is now, and what steps you need to take to change how you look and feel.

Remember to monitor your results as you travel on your weight loss journey. Repeating these tests along the way can give you a clear picture of your progress, help you make necessary adjustments, and help you see the progress you’re making. If you are starting the process as either very overweight or obese, seeing small changes in the mirror or on the scale can be difficult. However, these more precise tests will let you see just how much you’ve been progressing.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal, tax or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. TurtleVerse does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information and shall not be held responsible for any action taken based on the published information.

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