Weight Loss, Facts and Fiction

Modern society has some very strange notions about what is a healthy look. Along with unhealthy notions about what a person’s weight should be comes many misconstrued facts and fictions that mislead us.

Weight Loss

Modern society has some very strange notions about what is a healthy look. Most of the models used in the media are 20% or more underweight, which often makes people mistakenly think that the healthy weight for height and ethnicity is overweight.

So before we examine how to lose weight, we should first work out if that is needed.

BMI – Body Mass Index, mostly fiction

BMI was developed to give General Practitioner Doctors a quick way to work out if someone was in the healthy weight range, and if not, how urgently they should address that. While a great idea, BMI fails to consider many aspects of the complexity of what “healthy” means, such as ethnic ancestry, sex (male, female, other), specific health condition impacts and the large variability of humans.

Simplistically, the BMI creates a ratio of the mass of the person to their height squared. The definitions of “underweight”, “normal” and “obese” to guide medical interventions vary between differet ethnicities. Just looking at what is considered “normal range” vary from Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, UK and so on. When you next go to see your doctor, check to see how many BMI charts they have to consider what your healthy range should be.

Beyond that, even within the same ethnic group, family genetics plays a strong role too. People can be from a tall and thin family, or short and thick family.

The take home message here is, when applied correctly, BMI is a good guide for further investigation. If the further investigation indicates that you are a healthy weight for you, then those investigations should stop.

Fad Diets


After 2 hours of exercise per week, you won’t gain much additional weight loss per hour. More will be gained by adjusting your diet. That is, shifting from a sugar, fat and carbohydrate heavy diet to leaner (but not absent) and increasing the range of fruits, vegetables and nuts to offset that decrease will have far more dramatic effect on your weight loss than hours of exercise.

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