Do you want to lose weight? Or are you are at a point in your life where weight management has become something important to you? It is possible that you are obsessed with the following questions.
– How do I know if I’m at a healthy weight?
– What is my ideal or perfect weight and how do I calculate it?
– Is it the one that will guarantee me a good health in the long term?
First of all, and most importantly, forget the ideal or perfect weight. It does not make sense to work with these concepts. Let them be cut off if you do not want to be wrong! The ideal and perfect weight is a habitual hook of miracle diets and advertising fraudulent products to lose weight.
I advise you not to take it into consideration when evaluating your weight. Although many people think that getting closer to it will provide an eternal happiness, nothing further from reality. There is nothing perfect and weight is no exception. This concept can only lead you to obsess and out of focus of the main objective. This is to be at a weight considered healthy that favors your health avoiding complications. I always prefer to talk about another type of weight: “Healthy Weight”.
What is a healthy weight?
It is considered healthy, a weight that allows us to maintain a good health and quality of life regardless of the aesthetic canons or the opinions of those around us. Obviously, we are not physically equal, nor is our weight exactly the same every day. So the healthy weight is not a concrete figure if not an interval of kilos.
Evaluating your weight
I recommend using, among others, the body mass index or BMI. You have probably heard of it. The professionals use the BMI because it is the one that gives more guarantees to make a basic initial assessment of a patient weight.
How do I calculate my BMI?
The BMI formula is very simple. You only need to know your weight and height (and have a calculator at hand). Nothing else. Divide your weight in kilos by height in meters squared.
BMI= WEIGHT (kilos) / HEIGHT x HEIGHT (meters)
This will give you a number.
– If this is less than 18.5, it is within the values corresponding to “thinness or underweight“, which can also pose a risk to your health.
– If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, it is within “normal” or “healthy weight“.
– If it is between 25.0 and 29.9, it means that you are overweight.
– If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, you are suffering from obesity.
“Underweight”, “normal weight”, “overweight” and “obesity” are terms to refer to the different ranges of body weight. Obesity and overweight characterize weight ranges that exceed what is considered healthy for a given height. Underweight describes a body weight less than what is considered healthy.
We can also use another method: the waist circumference. It is a useful measure to determine the health risks related to weight. Studies showed that the concentration of fat in the waist and abdomen is associated with an increased risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. To take this measurement, you look at the highest point of your hip bones and measure your waist at those points.
How do I know if my waist circumference measurement is healthy?
Considering your gender and your waist circumference you can know if you have a greater risk to your health. Abdominal obesity is considered if:
• You are a woman and have a waist circumference measurement greater than 88 cm.
• You are a man and have a waist circumference measurement greater than 102 cm.
An excess of abdominal fat is serious because it exposes you to an increased risk of conditions related mainly to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
If your BMI is out of the “normal” range and if your waist circumference is in excess of the above, it is recommended to seek advice from your doctor, nutritionist or specialist about how you can achieve a healthier body weight. These people will support you to estimate the risks associated with your health and will help you create a diet plan to lose weight and give you recommendations on the daily practice of physical activity.
A practical example of BMI calculation
We go back to the BMI calculation again. Now let’s give an example. Imagine someone who measures 1.60 meters, weighs 63 kilos and wants to calculate his BMI. We will begin by calculating the height squared -> 1.60 x 1.60 = 2.56 (we will note this number). We will continue to divide the weight by the height squared (number annotated) -> 63 / 2,56 = 24,6. Therefore the BMI will be 24.6.
In this case, the person is within the normal weight range and his actual weight can be considered healthy. Nevertheless, he is approaching overweight (BMI 25) so it may be useful to also examine the fluctuation of weight during the last months to determine if a preventive dietary and nutrition intervention is necessary.
If, on the other hand, what he wants is to calculate what his healthy weight should be, what he will have to do is a simple rule of three where the unknown X would be the weight.
X / squared height = normal BMI (between 18.5 and 24.9)
So X= normal BMI x squared height
– If the BMI is 18.5:
X= 2.56 x 18.5 = 47.3kg
-If the BMI is 24.9
X= 2.56 x 24.9 = 64.7kg
Thus, his healthy weight is between 47.3kg and 64.7kg. To conclude, there is not a single correct weight, but there are many possible healthy weights.
For the previous case, the range would be between 47.3 and 64.7 kg. Viewed in this way it is possible that many people believe that they should lose a lot of weight when they do not really need it so much. It is necessary to emphasize that the risk for your health increases if other factors such as tobacco, alcohol or sedentarism take part besides the weight problem.
The excess of harmful weight has a solution through an intervention of nutritional re-education in eating and lifestyle. To avoid risks, dietitians and nutritionists recommend a loss of 5-15% of initial body weight over an extended period of time.
Remember that professional advice is important to be able to set realistic goals and prevent overweight from becoming a high-risk health disease called obesity (BMI greater than 30).