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Understanding your weight

There is no such thing as a perfect weight but you can be a healthy weight.

This will be different for all of us.

How can you check if you’re a healthy weight?

You can put your height and weight into the NHS BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator to see if you are a healthy weight.

Remember, everybody is different! So even if you are eating exactly the same as someone else and doing the same amount of physical activity, it’s very likely that your weights will be different.

This is because your weight depends on so many things; genes, ethnicity, age, gender, eating and physical activity habits, family habits and culture, amount of sleep, stress and the list goes on.

If your weight isn’t in the healthy range, don’t worry! Making healthy eating and physical activity choices is a good idea no matter what your weight is, and is likely to help you to move closer to the healthy weight range.

‘My weight is in the healthy range’

You are likely to be having the correct amount of food/drink for how active you are. This is keeping you in the healthy weight range.

  • Eat well: It’s still good to check you are eating a healthy balanced diet, so have a look at The Eatwell Guide
  • Get your exercise: Try to be active for 60 minutes each day

‘I’m in the underweight range’

Being underweight means that you may not be eating enough for your activity levels. This can leave you feeling low in energy and could lead to health problems.

  • Feeling low? There are lots of reasons why you could be underweight. These may include stress and emotional problems. It’s always best to talk to someone about how you are feeling
  • Out of balance? Being a healthy weight depends on having the right balance between the food/drink you are putting in and what you’re burning off. If you are underweight, it might be because you are not eating enough or because you are exercising too much. There may be other reasons for being underweight too, so talk to your school nurse or GP for more information
  • Re-balancing: The first step in trying to increase your weight is to make sure you are eating regular meals (breakfast, lunch, evening meal) and having 2-3 snacks per day. Use The Eatwell Guide to help you.

For more information on being underweight, have a look at:

‘I’m in the overweight range’

This means that you are having more food/drink than you are burning off, which results in a slow gain of weight. If you are overweight, you can feel low in energy and it could lead to health problems.

  • Start slowly balancing: The best way to try to reduce your weight is to decrease your intake of high fat/sugar foods and drinks and increase your activity; if you eat less than you burn, you will lose weight. The most important thing to remember is to lose weight gradually. There may be other reasons for being overweight, so talk to your school nurse or GP for more information.
  • Don’t panic! For some young people, just keeping your weight the same is enough – as you grow taller, you will naturally become a healthier weight
  • Eat right: To help you manage your weight, think about what you are eating and drinking. Are you eating three meals (breakfast, lunch and evening meal) and having 1-2 planned healthy snacks everyday? Use The Eatwell Guide to help you. Skipping meals doesn’t help you lose weight – your body will slow down (your metabolic rate will decrease) and you will often crave high fat/sugar foods
  • Drink well: Don’t forget about drinks. You need to have 6-8 no added sugar drinks every day. If you don’t drink enough, you will often eat more so that your body can get the fluid from the food you eat to make up for the missing drinks. Try to go for low-fat/no added sugar options whenever possible

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

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