Healthy Weight & Issues of Calories and BMI

Author: Shannon Miller

When it comes to weight, issues surrounding the topic of calories are bound to come up and some people might get real flashy and start talking about something known as Body Mass Index, or BMI.

So we can impress our friends (and add to our general knowledge base), let’s discuss the basics of each of these issues.

First, what exactly is the deal with all of this calorie business?  Well, it goes something like this…When it comes to food, a calorie refers to a unit of energy that food provides for your body.  When it comes to physical activity, a calorie refers to a measure of energy that the body uses to perform some particular activity.  The key is to keep these calories balanced. Eating more calories than you burn results in gaining weight.  Burning more calories than you eat results in losing weight.

To find out if you are at a healthy weight, you can calculate your BMI (it’s really not as complicated as it sounds!).  BMI is just a measure of body fat as it pertains to adult men and women.  The 2 important variables pertaining to BMI are your height and weight.  You can calculate your BMI easily by visiting the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website

Check out the BMI categories for adults:

  • Underweight: less than 18.5
  • Normal weight: 18.5 – 24.9
  • Overweight: 25 – 29.9
  • Obese: BMI of 30 or greater

If your BMI falls in the overweight or obese category, you may benefit from visiting your doctor or registered dietitian to discuss the best approach to getting to and maintaining a healthy weight.

Here are some general tips:

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Cut back on fatty meats (i.e. burgers and hot dogs), greasy fried foods, and sweets
  • Drink more water
  • Be more physically active

TIP:  If you just learned something new about calories and BMI, how do you think you can apply it this week in order to get to or maintain a healthy weight? 

Sources:  “Food and Fitness for a Healthy Weight.”  Women’s Health.

“Calculate Your Body Mass Index.”  National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.


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