A great benefit from eating more fruits and vegetables is that proper weight is easier to maintain.
So what is one’s proper weight? I always heard of BMI, a.k.a. Body Mass Index, but thought that it was yet another fad number. (It certainly is not a fat number, that is, it is not a measure of body fat.) So what’s proper? Is it how we feel about ourselves, for example, more energy as we get lighter?
Perhaps a good objective way of deciding is to see how our weight effects the longevity of our lives in terms of years. Here’s a relevant study: Fontaine KR, Redden DT, Wang C, Westfall AO, Allison DB; Years of life lost due to obesity; Journal of the American Medical Association; 2003 Jan 8; 289(2):187-93.
That finds that the optimal BMI associated with the greatest longevity is approximately 23-25 for whites and 23-30 for blacks. The research made it strikingly clear that a BMI any greater would significantly shorten lifespan.
Ok, so we have a numerical range as a goal, but we still need to understand what this BMI stuff is all about. Think of peanut butter, lots, enough to weigh exactly as yourself. Now on a square piece of toast, each side equal to your height, imagine spreading the peanut butter evenly over the toast. Now cut out a smaller square piece of toast, 1 meter on each side, and scrap off the peanut butter. Its weight in kilograms is your BMI. Voilà !
In brief, BMI is just simply your mass per unit area. That’s it—no gimmicks. Well, except if you must deal with American weights and measures. . . clunky conversions are necessary. . . unless you have this handy Google hack, the BMI calculator.
Adjust the parameters in the dialog box to fit your body specs. Then adjust the portions of your meals (less processed foods , more fruits and vegetables) to stay fit.
Live long, and prosper well.