Am I Overweight?

If you are overweight, you may or may not be having excess body fat.

This is because weight is mainly composed of three things.

  1. Muscle Mass
  2. Water
  3. Fat

If you have a very good muscle mass, naturally you will weigh more because muscle weighs 3 times more than fat. This is why a healthy athlete can weight more than a non-athlete of the same proportions

Further, the body cells contain water…in fact, 70% of our body is water. This means that if your body is retaining excess water, again you may or may not be having excess fat.

You are obese only if you have an excess fat deposits in your body.

There are mainly three methods to effectively know if you are overweight.

  1. Body Mass Index :

The most common definition of obesity is,

If you have a body mass index greater than 30 you are obese If your BMI is between 25 & 30 you are overweight.

Formula for BMI

Metric Formula

BMI = Weight (in Kg) divided by square of Your height

English formula

BMI = 703 x weight in pounds divided by square of Height in inches

(Note: enter fractions as decimal i.e. ½ = 0.5)

Interpretation of the BMI
  < 20 underweight20 to 25 ideal weight25 to 28 over weight28 to 32 moderate risk32 to 45 risk high45+ very high risk.

The following chart shows the Risk factors for various BMI readings.

BMI   26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34     35
Death/All Causes   60% 110%     120%
Cancer   80%     110%
Heart Disease   210% 360%     480%
Type II Diabetes   1500%  4000%     5000%
High BP   180% 260%     300%
Degenerative Arthritis   400%
Gall Stones   150%     270%
Neural Birth Defects   90%

  1. Hip to Waist Ratio

The reason hip to waist ratio is important is because it has been proven scientifically that the place where you store fat is as equally important as how much fat you carry.

If you carry weight in the middle-you are apple-shaped.

If you carry weight in the hips & thighs – you are pear-shaped.

Apple’s shape has a considerably higher risk rate of heart disease, stroke, high bp, and type II diabetes.

Download this free calculator to calculate your hip to waist ratio.

Good Hip – Waist Ratio
Men < 0.95
Women < 0.80

Keeping the hip waist ratio below this range helps you to keep the host of diseases away and also to avoid lower back pain.


Measuring body fat percentage is the most important thing required to track the progress of your weight loss journey.

There are different methods to accurately measure body fat.

  1. Weighing in water (hydrostatic) is the best method for measuring body fat percentage.
  2. Bio-Electrical impedance analysis (BIA): This is the most accurate method to calculate body fat. Tiny electrical impulses are sent through the body since the conductivity of fat and muscles is different, the machine accurately calculates the percentage fat based on the conductivity of the body. But this equipment is costly and only needed for professional muscle builders.
  3. Skin – Fold calipers: These are the best instruments in terms of accuracy and cost to measure body fat.It is advisable to go for a caliper priced anywhere between $20-$70.

So, it’s better to toss your bathroom scale and stop measuring daily. This is because your body weight may fluctuate daily depending on factors like water content in your body.

Keep a fortnightly or better still, a monthly record of your BMI, HIP-WAIST ratio and Body fat percentage to know the trend.

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