Frequently Asked Questions

What is BMI?

BMI (Body Mass Index) is one of the most common calculations used to determine an ideal body weight. The calculation uses both height and weight to give a numerical value that is then interpreted to fit into one of the five categories on a body mass index chart. The five categories are underweight, normal weight, overweight, obesity and severe obesity.

How is BMI measured?

Body mass index (BMI) is a calculation that requires both a person’s weight in kilograms and height in metres. Weight is divided into height squared (kg/m²), and the resulting numerical value then can be interpreted on a BMI chart or by using the recommended ranges for the five categories. Underweight is a BMI less than 18.5, normal weight is a BMI between 18.5-24.9, overweight is a BMI of 25-29.9, obesity is a BMI of 30-39.9, and severe obesity is a BMI equal to or greater than 40. BMI should be viewed as a rough guide rather than a precise way to determine if you have obesity.

How much should I weigh?

“How much should I weigh?” is a very common question that can’t be answered with just a number on a scale. Two measurements that can help to determine what a healthy weight is for a person is their body mass index and waist circumference. Body mass index is a calculation using a person’s height and weight to estimate their amount of body fat. Waist circumference can help to determine whether excessive fat is in the abdominal area, which increases a person’s risk for health problems associated with obesity. This risk increases if an adult male has a waist circumference larger than 40 inches and a female has a waist circumference larger than 35 inches.

How long do I have to stay on my weight management medication?

If your current medication is working for you and allowing you to lose and maintain your weight without side effects, your doctor may wish to keep you on your weight management medication indefinitely. If you don’t lose at least 5% of your original weight in the first 12 weeks of using a medication your physician may advise you to stop taking it.

How can I tailor my eating habits for weight loss?

Developing new eating habits isn’t always easy, but when you are taking care of your body, your mind will feel great too! Three things to focus on are reducing calories from food and beverages, making a healthy eating plan, and portion control. Reaching your goals requires behaviour change. This may include setting specific, attainable and forgiving food goals, eating slowly to allow your brain to communicate to you that you are full, setting an eating schedule, and using smaller plates. Learn what social and environmental cues stimulate your cravings and self-monitor your eating habits such as recording the number of fruits and vegetables you eat in a day or caloric intake. There are also certain weight management medications that can assist with curbing your appetite. It is important to remember that you can do it. Set goals that are realistic for you and take your eating habits into your own hands.

Why am I always hungry?

Have you ever blamed yourself for always being hungry? It will comfort you to know that there are actually scientific reasons behind it. Certain hormones in the body are responsible for making you hungry and for making you feel full. Unfortunately, these hormone levels can get altered leaving you with a stimulated appetite. On top of this, the brain makes food-reward associations with high fat, high calorie foods that induce cravings and tell you to eat when you aren’t physically hungry. In a climate where fast food is so accessible around the clock, this can lead to eating the wrong foods at the wrong time.

Why can’t I stop eating?

There are actually scientific reasons why. In addition to the need for food for survival, the brain is a major controller of your appetite that can encourage you to eat due to food-reward associations, stress or emotions in the absence of actual hunger. Hormonal levels can also play a role by encouraging you to eat or reducing your ability to feel full. The fast food market often offers ultra-processed foods that are typically combined with sophisticated additives, making these foods edible, palatable and habit forming. All of these things can cause you to overeat, but you have the power to change that! By recognising these mechanisms are driving your appetite, you can change the way you look at food and fight back against overeating.

Why have I stopped losing weight?

Many people have the experience of seeing great progress on a weight loss journey only to suddenly see the scale stop moving once it gets to a certain number. This is perfectly normal! The body learns to function at an optimal level within a certain weight range. This is called body weight set point theory. The body interprets weight loss as a threat and uses a compensatory mechanism to force you back to your previous weight range by increasing your appetite and slowing your metabolism. This can cause a halt in weight loss and even weight gain for up to a year after weight loss occurs. The good news is that your weight loss efforts are not in vain. Diet and exercise interventions have been shown to keep people from fully returning to their previous weight.

Why can’t I lose weight?

Working hard only to then step on the scale and see the exact same number can be a frustrating feeling. When you begin to lose weight, your body actually begins working against you to bring the weight back to its previous range. Any attempt to lose weight is counteracted by a compensatory bodily response. This is called body weight set point theory. It causes the lack of change you see on the scale, but don’t give up! Proper exercise and diet have been shown to prevent people with obesity from returning completely to their previous weight and they can help you too. Some weight management medications can also assist in your journey to successful weight loss so be confident in your ability to make lasting change. You can do it!

How can I suppress my appetite?

Identifying your environmental and social cues that cause cravings and overeating can help you to avoid or change those cues. Prescription medicines work in different ways. Some help you to feel less hungry or full sooner. Others may make it harder for your body to absorb fat from the foods you eat. Another way to reduce your appetite is to get proper sleep duration and reduce your levels of stress. Take care of your body and your mind and don’t be afraid to give some of these appetite curbing strategies a try!