This question is asked so frequently that I decided I should republish this blog.
In my line of business, I get this question all the time. Heck, I’ve even asked myself the same thing?
The interesting thing about this question is, “why does it matter?” Who asks themselves, “how tall should I be?” or “how big should my feet be?” or “how long should my fingers be?” We accept those things.
After years of wasting my life obsessing over the perfect number on the scale I finally learned that my body should have more influence on its weight than my mind and certainly more than the charts or magazine articles. Likewise models and actresses whose bodies are photoshopped, and it happens to be their job to look that way, should not influence me or my weight!
One scientific and medical standard for body weight is use of the Body Mass Index or BMI. BMI is simply the relationship between your metric height and your metric weight. It’s measured by levels or “indexes” and as the index number rises so does your apparent obesity.
Scientists and physicians believe that there is a window in the BMI in which there will be the fewest weight-related health risks. That window is 18-25. Weight Watchers uses a realistic weight goal range for its members of 20-25. It’s realistic, but it’s not guaranteed to be realistic for every member!
BMI doesn’t take into account body composition or gender. In other words, men who tend to have more muscle mass (and muscle-women too, for that matter) can have a BMI considered overweight or obese even though they have very little body fat.
This is a big reason why weight/height charts are inaccurate and often not useful for every individual. They are simply a starting point.
BMI can be a factor, as can waist to hip ratio in determining how much you should weigh, but there are other factors to consider.
1. Current body weight. If you are very heavy it might be better to make your goal something attainable and realistic such as 10% less than your current weight. For example if you are a woman who if 5’4″ the BMI goal range (20-25) is 116-145. If you currently weigh 230 pounds, 145 may be achievable, but not maintainable. A goal weight of 10% would be 23 pounds lighter – 207. Get there and work on maintaining that weight for 6 months, then work to lose another 10% to get to 187. 145 or less may be a realistic final weight goal for you, but first get used to the changes in your habits needed just to get each 10% off and to stay there for a while.
2. How hard are you willing to work to maintain a weight goal? People are often astounded at how little changes in the work needed to lose weight, and the work needed to keep it off, happen to be. For a lot of us, the difference isn’t very big at all. The activity levels usually need to increase if you want to start eating enough food to escape the “I’m on a diet” feeling. If you don’t want to continue to closely monitor food and activity it will be considerably harder to maintain your goal if it’s quite a bit lower than your starting weight.
3. How does your face look? If your face looks drawn and bony (even if you think you still have a big butt and tummy) it’s an indicator that your weight is too low. Faces are an important indicator to tell you if you’re at the right weight for you.
4. Consult your physician. Talk with your doctor about a healthy weight for you. Your doctor can help you evaluate your weight goal by looking at other numbers that are important health indicators – e.g. blood pressure, cholesterol levels, heart rate, how you fare on a stress test, blood sugar level to name a few.
5. How do you look and feel? Forget about a number on the scale for a minute. Look in the mirror. Take some selfies, or better yet get a trusted friend to take some pics of you. I say trusted because a frenemy may purposely shoot the photos from angles that make you look unattractive or appear larger than you really are! If you like how you feel and look, go stand on the scale to see how much you weigh because there is your magic number! That’s how much YOU should weigh!
Remember, it all comes down to how you feel and how you feel about how you look! If the number is the only thing you don’t like, it’s okay to lie and pretend it’s ten pounds less!