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Medical and fitness professionals check your BMI, or body mass index, to arrive at a rough gauge of whether you are at a healthy weight. The number is calculated based on height-to-weight ratio. A high BMI plays a role in an increased risk of health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases your body mass index, so losing excess weight helps you move your BMI into the healthy range, which is 18.5 to 24.9. Many BMI calculators are available online, or your physician or trainer can help you figure out your number.
Perform at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. This number is the federally recommended minimum for good health; successful weight loss may require more effort -- up to one hour of exercise per day. Aerobic exercise burns calories and helps you lose body fat, lowering your weight and bringing your BMI down.
Reduce your daily calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories, which helps you drop 1 to 2 pounds per week. You can't change your height, so dropping your weight is the only way to get your BMI down. To reduce calorie intake, fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy and whole grains, which are generally low in calories and high in nutrients. Avoid fast food, processed snacks, frozen dinners, candy, soda, cake, cookies and fried foods, which are high in calories and not conducive to weight loss.
Weigh and measure your foods to ensure proper serving size. Even healthy foods can hinder weight loss if you eat too much of them. Use measuring cups and spoons or a kitchen scale until you can eyeball what a serving looks like. In general, fruits, vegetables and dairy portions are 1 cup, and meat and grains are measured in 1-ounce portions.
Factor in your muscle mass if you don't see your weight, and thus BMI, changing. Many people see an increase on the scale as exercise helps them build muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you add strength training to your exercise routine, it may take longer to lower your BMI, even if you are losing weight and getting healthy. This is because BMI simply measures weight-to-height ratio, but doesn't take into account pounds of muscle versus pounds of fat.