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How Much Should I Weigh?

How much should I weigh? That’s a great question. It’s one many people ask themselves on a daily basis. Nobody seems quite sure of the correct answer, since there’s no “one size fits all” for weight.

If you ask a registered dietitian nutritionist, you’re not likely to get a simple response. There are a lot of factors to take into a consideration so the answer will not be black and white. Scientifically, your ideal weight depends on several factors such as your height, age, gender, frame size, bone density, muscle-to-fat ratio and body fat distribution. But psychologically, we should consider what weight individuals are happy at and comfortable at too.

The ideal weight is only a best guess, because it does not differentiate between muscle, fat and frame size. If you lose weight and gain muscle, you might end up weighing more than you would have expected. With that being said, there are other health indicators that would tell us more, such as Body Mass Index (BMI) or body fat percentage. Yet, these indicators also have their limitations too.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) which is favored by many health professionals, is a better indicator of health because it takes height into consideration too. It’s a good tool to help measure body fat and to gauge your chances of disease. A BMI number places you in a healthy or unhealthy category. While the BMI is relatively accurate, there are healthy individuals that fall outside of the healthy range, while there are plenty of unhealthy individuals who appear to fall within the healthy or normal range.

Body Fat Percentage

Body composition is an even more accurate assessment of health for a few reasons. We know that muscle mass weighs more than body fat, so two people (one with a high percentage of muscle mass, and another with high percentage of body fat) may weigh the same but their health status is much different. The scales do not distinguish between fat and muscle so it’s worth getting your body fat percentage measured to ensure that you are indeed in good health. It’s not so much about how much should you weigh, as it is about ideal body fat percentage. Ideally anyone tracking their “weight” should do so through regular body fat percentage measurements too, which can be inexpensively done at fitness clubs, gyms or your local college/university. Unfortunately, the inexpensive methods are not as accurate at the more invasive, expensive methods.

Maintain Your Perspective About Body Weight

Focusing on an ideal weight, or ideal body fat percentage can be overwhelming to some. In those cases, it is much more important to talk about realistic weight loss goals than a specific number. Research has shown us time and time again that overweight or obese people who can lose 7 to 10 percent of their body weight can significantly improve their health and lower their risk of chronic disease.

It’s important that you maintain your perspective about body weight. Simply using body weight as a tool to indicate health isn’t accurate. Remember that each of us is built differently but that weight can predict some aspects of health so aim to keep it within a healthy range. And in the end, weight is just a number! Aim for a weight and lifestyle that makes you feel good, healthy and ready to take on the day.

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