What’s Your Ideal Body Weight?
Are you one of the 70% of Americans who are overweight or obese? Are you contributing to the $61 billion weight-loss industry in an attempt to achieve your ideal weight? Then again, just what is your ideal weight? Fortunately, there is an answer in the form of an ideal body weight formula.
What Is Ideal Body Weight?
Let’s be honest. For more than two-thirds of the U.S. population seeking a healthy, fit and happy life – indeed, an exceptional life – weight management is a very real, day-to-day struggle. Keep in mind that no more than 5% of people who diet lose weight permanently. You can be armed with the knowledge, skills and confidence you need to succeed on your weight loss journey, but unless you have a specific target, you never can be sure of just where you are headed.
Ideal body weight is far more than an obsession about beauty, though many have come to measure their worth inversely by their shape and body size. The dirty little secret of the weight management industry is that diets don’t work for permanent weight loss.
So what are you aiming for in trying to achieve your ideal body weight? Is it simply that your old jeans fit again? Are you getting more compliments at work and at after-hours social events? Are you better able to bend, twist, turn and reach? Of course these are a part of arriving at a healthy, ideal, body weight, but there’s a simple measure called the “body mass index” (BMI) that specifically targets a general range to be aiming for.
Body Mass Index or BMI
BMI doesn’t mean “body-mind index”, nor does it represent “big muscle index”. Body mass index is a measure that’s calculated mathematically from your weight and height as an overall initial screen to suggest potential health issues. While there are other more-accurate measures of weight that incorporate true-body composition used to determine health and fitness – notably body fat percentage – the BMI is a good starting point to discuss weight-related issues and to place yourself in a general weight range. Understand it is only a first step and you and/or your health provider may want to perform additional assessments to determine specific weight-related health risks.
The difficulty with BMI is that it does not take into account bone density, body fat or muscle in overweight/obese or lean, muscular people. This can lead healthy, muscular individuals to finding themselves in an overweight or obese range. Keeping that in mind however, there are ways to calculate this very widely used measure.
How To Calculate Your Body Mass Index (BMI)
Calculate your BMI by dividing weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiply that by 703.
Didn’t think so.
Instead, use the CDC’s Body Mass Index Calculator. You can also find other sites on the web that offer free, instant and easy-to-use BMI calculators that simply ask you to enter your height and weight.
Good Body Mass Index vs. Bad Body Mass Index
Based on the WHO classification, adults with a BMI between 25 and 30 are defined as overweight, and those with a BMI over 30 as obese. Here is the range from underweight to obese that is currently used – remember your height and weight will determine your range:
BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal
25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
30.0 + Obese
40 + Morbidly Obese
[name chart: bmi chart alt=”body mass index chart”]
Why Your BMI Matters
The American Medical Association recently labeled obesity as a disease. Although some people who are in the range of overweight or obese are free of illness, it is uncommon. BMI ranges of overweight and obesity are in fact generally associated with disease and death and increased risk for:
- Type 2-Diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Sleep apnea
- Gallbladder disease
- Relationship problems
What You Can Do About Your Body Mass Index
Remember that “diet” has the word “die” in it. Diet alone means weight gain. Rather, weight loss and lowering your BMI is all about making healthy lifestyle choices, such as including moderate to vigorous activity to your schedule and practicing healthy nutrition. It’s also based on internal and external motivation, personal commitments, and setting hyper-specific and realistic goals. As you embark on your weight loss journey, keep track of your progress, get objective feedback, and practice rational positive thinking. Stay motivated by surrounding yourself with friendly support and accept your personal accountability. No, weight loss isn’t not easy. If it was, then far more than 5% of weight-loss strugglers would succeed in permanent weight loss.
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