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An estimated 25 percent of Americans are overweight. See more weight loss tips pictures.

Publications International, Ltd.

Diet. Mention that little four-letter word to any woman anywhere in the world and you'll get the same reaction -- disgust. If you really want to know the intensity of feeling behind the word, order a slice of cheesecake, and eat it in front of a woman who has been on a diet for a few weeks. Shouldn't be too hard to find one -- about 40 percent of women are dieting at any given moment. You're likely to end up with heel marks on your forehead and a plate of half-eaten cheesecake in your lap. And you thought women were the weaker sex. Not when it comes to dessert!

Battle of the Bulge

According to recent statistics, more than 97.1 million Americans are overweight. That's an estimated 25 percent of the population. And the numbers are almost equally divided between men and women; 46.9 million of them are women and 50.2 million of them are men.

Because of the alarming number of adults and kids packing on the pounds, Americans are discovering that traditional diets don't work. In fact, the four-letter word that caused so much angst for women over the years is getting the boot. The latest thinking on losing weight is that you don't have to deprive yourself to shed the pounds. It's simply a matter of using your noodle (the one on your shoulders, not on your plate) to learn how to eat healthfully. Making use of readily accessible home remedies is one way to get your diet off to the right start.

Eating smart and exercising are your best bets to paring down to a healthy weight. For most people that means making a complete lifestyle change -- not one that means no more cheesecake, ever, but one that knows how to incorporate that cheesecake into an overall healthy eating style.

Are You or Aren't You?

So how do you know if you're overweight or obese? First you need to calculate your body mass index (BMI). This is the method the government uses to determine who's at a normal weight, who's overweight, and who's obese. To get your BMI, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to convert your weight to kilograms. Then divide your height in inches by 39.37 to convert it to meters. Multiply your height in meters by itself, and then divide your weight in kilograms by that number. Say you weigh 150 pounds and you're 5'7" (67 inches). Your BMI figures would look like this:

150 divided by 2.2 = 68.2

67 inches divided by 39.37 = 1.70

1.70 x 1.70 = 2.89

68.2 divided by 2.89 = 23.59

A normal BMI is between 19 and 25. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight. And a BMI over 30 is considered obese. 

Weighing the Risks

Being overweight or obese zaps your energy level and can make everyday tasks an ordeal. But carrying around excess pounds also is a risk factor for some serious conditions. The National Institutes of Health says being overweight or obese can increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and some forms of cancer.

Your kitchen holds many home remedies that can help you avoid extra calories and lose pounds. Go to the next page to learn how to use common kitchen tools to help your diet.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.