Get fit for summer: The abbreviated form
Paul Morris surfs the highest waves of the net to find out how to shed that little bit of extra winter weight and discovers that his fate hangs in the balance.
Spring has sprung, the grass is riz and I know where all the burdies iz: outside my window, every morning, from five o'clock onwards. I am as big a fan as the next man or woman of the trill of early morning birdsong but this particular character sings like a drain, or like a casserole as they are fond of saying in French. The sound is well shy of mellifluous - it's like the creaking of an old bicycle that needs oiled. I keep thinking of the Whomping Willow, the large, magical, and violent tree in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which eats the twittering bluebird that flies towards its branches. I understand the Willow's thinking: if it allows the bird to rest in the sanctuary of its limbs, it's only going to start singing.
This incessant racket led me inevitably to thoughts of shedding the (necessary) additional weight built up over the winter months to help battle the vicious Belgian winter. Time to rethink the diet, exercise more, but where to start? Online, of course, to drink from the Font of All Knowledge. However, it's a bit like listening to your Granny; she changes her mind, well, as often as the seasons, at least the way the seasons used to change. The online experts said that running was 'in', then walking was the thing, then it was swimming that'll do you most good, then yoga, yoghurt and yachting. Or surfing, which landed me in the capable hands of the BBC. On their health pages, you will discover all manner of useful tips and, in particular, how to calculate your BMI.
Our lives are becoming littered with abbreviations. GSM in pocket, you listen to your mp3 as you get into your BMW and use your GPS to guide you to your job in IBM, only to find out that, despite your PhD and your MBE, you don't know what BMI stands for. It's a Body Mass Index. Using two vital pieces of information - your current weight and your height - it will calculate your BMI which will in turn tell you if you are Overweight, Ideal or Underweight. It states:
Divide the weight by the height squared (i.e. the answer to Q1). For example, you might be 1.6m (5ft 3in) tall and weigh 65kg (10st). The calculation would then be:
1.6 x 1.6 = 2.56. BMI would be 65 divided by 2.56 = 25.39
Fortunately, if, like my good self, Maths is not your forte there is an imperial calculator to do it for you. Simply type in your weight and height and await the result. The result comes back and, disbelieving, you type it again just in case there is some kind of glitch in the thing. And try a third time to make sure, again. Having discovered that you are slightly overweight, for instance, the site is jam-packed with useful information on how to lose the offending weight. This includes avoiding quick-fix diets, getting plenty of exercise, nourishing your body and your mind. It also encourages us to think small, try losing a little each week, swap a chocolate bar for a banana, take two brisk 15 minute walks to lose 540 calories. And so much more that I had lost at least that much just reading it all and had built up a powerful hunger.
I came back to the advice "nourish your body and your mind". Clearly, despite the early hour, my mind was still sharp enough. I lost about 5 kilos in three minutes without leaving the house. It's easy. Go back to the BMI calculator and make yourself taller. By adding a few inches, you don't gain much at first but keep adding and you will see your weight fall like a sack of the frites you have been told to eat less of. In jiff time, my weight was ideal. Okay, so I am now - returning for a moment to Harry Potter - the same height as Rubeus Hagrid the giant but I am also in the much sought after Ideal category and that's where I intend to stay, not by losing weight but by simply gaining more height.
Now I am left wondering. Do those noisy birds in the branches regale one another with chants of 'Who Ate All The Flies?'
Paul Morris / Expatica
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