Whether we like it or not, our society tends to judge a person based on their appearance. That is something we teach our kids and advise our friends against. But subconsciously, every little girl and every young man grow up wanting to look their best. So if the “what is my ideal weight?” question crosses your mind often, or if you always happen to hear your school buddies discussing the few pounds they must lose or gain so they can finally look “perfect,” then you probably need to know the following. Join us in this short discussion on your ideal weight and a few things around and beyond that.
|SEE ALSO: Food Addiction and Eating Disorders|
Are You Healthy?
Weight can be the major constituent of two very general concepts: health and beauty. That is why there are two takes on overweight: some would argue that you need to drop the extra pounds so you can look beautiful in a swimming suit, and some would focus on how healthy you are. Mainly, health should be our first concern. The standards of beauty are changeable and are culture-specific, so they don’t really offer you a foundation to stand on. But what does? The first question you should ask yourself before wondering what is your ideal weight is “Am I healthy?”
Think of it like this: your body is your first car, you paid for it with your own money, you’re going to drive it forever; now, won’t you need to fuel it and polish it and take it for a checkup every 6 months? It would be amazing if you have a beautiful shiny car, but if it doesn’t work or run or take you places, then how does the beauty matter? It is quite the same: you want to maintain your looks, but you also want to maintain your health. So if in any way you feel pressured into conforming to the media’s idea of beauty, remember that your health comes first; and as long as you’re healthy, there is no problem.
The amount of weight you gain after you mid-twenties can have a great influence on your health. Most adults start to gain 1-2 pounds each year after their turning 18. It can be unnoticeable, but the weight you gain as you go can accumulate and cause many health problems. Because remaining healthy is a priority, you need to watch out from obesity.
Obesity is a medical condition in which the excess fat accumulates in the body, causing various health issues and shortening the life expectancy significantly. Obesity is usually a result of excessive food intake accompanied with little physical activity. Obesity can sometimes be genetic, or it could be a side effect of certain medications or a symptom of certain illnesses.
Obesity is classified by the American Medical Association as a disease. It is considered a serious threat to health and one of the leading causes of death in the world. Here are a few diseases and conditions that obesity puts you at risk of:
- Cardiovascular diseases: heart attacks, strokes, etc.
- Some types of cancer
Escaping obesity is not an easy task, especially if you are more genetically susceptible to it. But we will get to that later. If you’re concerned whether your weight falls in the range of obesity or not, then recognizing what body mass index is will definitely help you.
Body Mass Index
Calculating your body mass index is your first step to answering your “what is my ideal weight?” question. But what is it and how does it work?
Body mass index (BMI), also known as Quetelet index, is a formula to measure the relative weight based on the body mass and height. The calculation is easy; you divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters: mass/height2. Or you could divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches then multiply it by 703.
So the two used formulas are as follows:
- (mass in kilograms)/(height in meters)2,
- (mass in pounds)/(height in inches)2 * 703.
Try calculating your BMI now!
What Does My BMI Result Mean?
The BMI ranges from underweight, normal weight, overweight, to, finally, obesity. The numbers usually start with 18 to 30. According to the World Health Organization, a BMI of less than 18.5 implies underweight and might be a sign of malnutrition or an eating disorder.
Check the following indications:
- =BMI of less than 15: Very severely underweight
- =BMI of 15 to 16: Severely underweight
- =BMI of 16 to 18.5: Underweight
- =BMI of 18.5 to 25: Normal healthy weight
- =BMI of 25 to 30: Overweight
- =BMI from 30 to 35: Obese class I
- =BMI from 35 to 40: Obese class II
- =BMI of above 40: Obese class III
Notice that children and teens can have different indications. BMI for individuals under 20 years old can be calculated in the same way, but instead of comparing the result to the above thresholds, they are compared to the percentile of other individuals of the same gender and age.
Body mass index can provide you with a broad idea on your body weight but keep in mind that it doesn’t take into consideration the muscle weight, the shape of your body and the fat distribution, or your health condition. It is suggested that the waist to hip ratio is a much better indicator of whether your body fat is too much or within the normal ranges.
- Waist to hip ratio of above 0.9 in men and 0.8 in women might indicate weight-related issues.
Answer more of your BMI questions on Diet and Fitness Today’s FAQ.
There are various other formulas that you can use to calculate your ideal body weight: the results might differ a few pounds up or a few pounds down, but eventually, you can get a range of your ideally healthy weight. And remember that your “healthy” weight doesn’t have to look exactly the same as the women in the magazines or on TV. Your healthy weight will depend on your age, fat distribution, muscles, and health condition.
What Is My Ideal Weight?
Your ideal weight is the weight that you will be most comfortable at, with no health concerns or dissatisfaction while looking at the mirror. The keyword here is healthy; beauty comes next and beauty is relative.
Across the years, the ideal weight, from the attractiveness perspective, has been an altering concept. A century ago, full women were all the rage! It was an indication of health and wealth, and it implied that this woman will be strong enough to bear children and carry the responsibility of the household. Overweight was also a sign of wealth and well-being in men. Now it is different; the past ten years have determined that “skinny” is the new cool. Media has asserted the message that your only chance at beauty is if you don’t have any beneath your skin. Ignore that: your body is your body and how it looks like should be your choice as long as you are healthy. People will always have different preferences; don’t let peer pressure force you into striving to be something that you are not. In some cases, skinny is unachievable. In some other cases, curvy is unachievable either. So study how your body is like, where the fat goes, and what areas you need to work on the most. Once you’ve learnt enough about yourself, it is easy to reach and maintain your own version of an ideal weight.
Your food intake is the major decider of how your body looks like. Now that you know what is your ideal weight, it is the time you take wide studied steps towards achieving it. Here are a few tips that will help you along the way!
- First, the optimal solution with dieting is to see your doctor for it. A lot of factors can affect your diet, and for it to work best, you might want your doctor’s opinion.
- Don’t starve yourself! The hungrier you are the harder it would be to control your urge for the pizza leftovers or the tasty cheesecake in the fridge.
- Learn about calories. We each need an average number of calories per day. Calculate yours. The rule of thumb here is: if you’d like to maintain your weight, consume exactly your daily calories count. If you’re aiming at losing weight, consume your average daily calories minus 500. It’s that simple!
- Drink a lot of water! Water cannot do you harm. A glass of water before your meal will help you feel full faster. It will also refresh your skin and lower the percentage of salts in your blood.
- Less salt and less sugar. If you add two spoonful of sugar to your drink, make it one. Less sodium intake can help you get rid of your belly.
- Avoid diet sodas. Diet sodas can confuse your body into wanting more to eat. Why? The sweeteners trick your body into thinking it is consuming sugar, so it craves more.
- Eat slowly. Taking a longer time chewing your food can trick your mind into a sense of fullness. Also keep your food pots out of your reach to discourage refills.
- Find healthy alternatives! The internet is full of healthy alternatives for your favorite dishes. Experiment in the kitchen and make your own healthy version of rich foods.
- Eat before outings with friends. Our appetite is the most active in the presence of company. Friends will probably encourage you to eat out. Your options might not be many and you’ll end up with your favorite junk food box. Try eating before the outing to limit the temptations.
Finally, keep in mind that it all comes down to a simple equation of energy balance. We consume food to later burn it to generate energy. If you burn as much as you take in, you can easily maintain your weight. If you burn more energy than the food you take in, you lose weight overtime, and vice versa. That brings us to the next important step towards your healthy ideal weight: exercise.
We just learned the different methods with which you find out what is your ideal weight. But when it comes to exercise, you’ll also need to recognize which areas of your body you need to work on and which approach you’ll take to losing weight. Do you intend to burn the fats or would you rather replace them with muscles? Replacing your fats with muscle is a great long-term solution. Learn how each approach affects your body and then discuss with your trainer or gym coach if cardio exercise will do you better or strength training.
You can build your own cardio workout at home. You can also engage in many other activities that burn on your calories while enjoying your time with friends and family. Try running in the early morning or going for a swim whenever possible. Cycling can also do you great. Make a habit of walking to the nearest café or supermarket instead of taking the car. At work, try to take periodical breaks to walk around the office or in the garden downstairs. In the end, the little more activity you’ll add to your daily schedule could have a great effect on your body on the long run.
And don’t forget that it is not a question of an ideal media-approved weight; it is a question of how it would be like for you when you’re 40: how much effort your heart will take and how strongly your legs would support you. Watching what you eat and adding more movement to your day is a long-term investment. Remember it is one car, one shiny amazingly beautiful car, and it is only yours; no one will ever give you theirs, and no one can fix yours if you handle it recklessly. Love your body and invest a little time and effort into it. Years from now, you will realize it was all so worth it!
Curious about Bulimia? Learn here.