Your Ideal Body Weight May be Closer Than You Think

By | May 4, 2012

Discover what’s important and what you can just skip when it comes to weight loss.

Resolution no. 1: Time to lose weight!

Image by kizette via Flickr

It’s been said time and time again — to lose weight, you must exercise and manage your diet. The simple goal being to burn more calories than you consume.

But if you’ve been working out and those extra pounds won’t seem to budge, you may start wondering what the heck is going on.

Well don’t hang up your sneakers and throw in the towel. You may just need a little reality check about what to expect from exercise. Here you will learn several key truths about exercise and your weight.

Are You Within The Ideal Body Weight Range?

We know an ideal body weight is so essential to good health. Packing on the pounds can lead to conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In fact, achieving an ideal body weight is even an often-recommended treatment for arthritis.

But how much is too much? A good first step toward maintaining a healthy weight throughout your life is to learn what your ideal body weight should be. There are a number of ways that you can determine your ideal body weight, from charts and calculators to figuring out your body mass index. The key is to use the information available wisely, so that you can find and maintain the healthiest weight for you.

Once you know what your ideal body weight range is, you can incorporate changes into your life with the goal of achieving that ideal weight. This will include a nutritious menu and plenty of exercise every day. But before you start upping your veggie intake and pumping your iron, you need to understand the many definitions of weight and which ones will apply to you.

Aesthetic, Average or Psychological?

Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines ideal body weight as “A weight that is believed to be maximally healthful for a person, based chiefly on height but modified by factors such as gender, age, build, and degree of muscular development.” In addition to ideal body weight, there are other means of assessing your physical condition based on number of pounds. For example, aesthetic body weight can be referred to as the weight that is considered desirable by the beauty and fashion industry. This type of body weight appears to be coveted by many, but achieved by few.

In fact, aesthetic body weight has become lower over the years as the industry’s idea of the perfect female body constantly undergoes transformation.

The average body weight is thought to be the weight that the majority of individuals at a specific age, height, and gender find themselves. This is the weight range that is used by many body weight charts. Psychological body weight is generally the weight that individuals attain by their mid-twenties. Many people strive to maintain their psychological body weight throughout their adult years despite the difficulty in doing so as the middle-age spread begins to rear its ugly head.

Body Mass Index

Another important tool for calculating ideal body weight is the body mass index or BMI. The BMI is used to measure the amount of body fat that you have. This number is figured by plugging your height and weight into a formula to come up with a value in the form of a double digit number. One of the most common ways to determine body mass index is through a calculator designed for this purpose.

Body weight calculators are designed to do all of the computational work for you, giving you an accurate number as long as you plug in the required information correctly. In order to use one, you need to determine your height and weight. Both of these measurements should be completed without shoes to get a more accurate calculation.

According to the American Heart Association, a person with a BMI lower than 18.5 is considered underweight. Those with BMI’s between 18.5 and 24.9 are within the normal range. People with a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 are overweight, and a BMI over 30 is considered obese.

Do you know your body mass index?  Calculate your BMI here.

The composition of the human body is made up of lean tissue and fat tissue. Fat, or adipose tissue, is not metabolically active, whereas lean tissue is. Lean tissues include muscles, bones and organs and burn calories at a faster rate than fatty tissues. This is why it is important to maintain an ideal BMI in an effort to maintain a healthy body weight.

It is important to note that while a BMI will give you information about where your body fat weight is at, it is not always the most accurate method of determining your ideal body weight. For example, an athlete may possess a high BMI due to the amount of muscle he has built up, since muscle tends to weigh more than fat. This person may tip the BMI scale, but he is actually in extremely healthy physical condition.

Most body weight calculators can perform a variety of functions. Quite often, they compute other important pieces of information such as waist-to-hip ratio and the percentile for average weight or height that you fall into for your age and gender category. Most body weight calculators are not appropriate for pregnant women to use.

If you are using one of these calculators to determine your ideal body weight, it is important to understand that a range of weight is given. As long as you fall in between the lowest and the highest numbers, you are within the parameters of your ideal body weight.

Body Weight Charts

A wide variety of body weight charts are also available to help you calculate your ideal body weight. These charts are similar to the data that a pediatrician might use to chart the growth of your child. Typically, these charts are used to determine if someone falls into their ideal category for height and weight for their age, body frame and gender. Ideal body weight charts typically differentiate among the three main body frames; the small, medium and large frame. If you have weighed yourself with your clothing on, you can generally subtract between one and two pounds from the weight for a more accurate reading, and always measure height and weight without shoes.

To determine your frame size, you can perform a simple test. Take your thumb and index finger of one hand and place it around the wrist of the other hand. If the tips just touch, then you have a medium frame. If the tips do not touch, you have a large frame. Finally, if the tips touch and fit loosely, you have a small frame.

The Difference in Fat between Men and Women

Women tend to have a higher percentage of body fat than men throughout their lives. And while many women don’t pass the test when it comes to the healthy amount of body fat, most men won’t either. In fact, the body-fat weight of a person has increased over the years since people weigh considerably more today than they did years ago.

This makes it even harder for women to achieve their ideal body weight and enjoy the healthiest life possible. To help you on your quest for your ideal body weight, there are some lifestyle choices that you can make that will get you on the road to a healthier weight and a healthier you.

Getting Fit

Achieving and maintaining an ideal body weight begins at home with the choices you make every day. Good health requires a commitment on your part to eating right and exercising daily. Yes, you’ve heard that mantra before, but it bears repeating because it is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle and the best prevention against a variety of diseases and conditions. When you are eating well and staying active, fitness and ideal body weight are natural byproducts of your efforts. But if you have been living in front of the television set and dining on a fast food fare, you may need a little help getting on the road to good health.

The Do’s of Diet

It seems simple, right? Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables and stay away from the evil sugar. While this may be a good first step in healthier eating, there are some additional guidelines you can follow as well. According to the American Heart Association, a nutritious diet is one that gathers from all of the major food groups in the USDA food pyramid.

The AHA specifically mentions fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products as foods to include in your diet every day, due to the high concentration of nutrients and fiber and the low incidence of fat. They also recommend eating fish twice a week, particularly those that contain omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, mackerel and sardines.

The AHA also stresses the importance of burning off as many calories as you take in every day. This is an important key to achieving and maintaining an ideal body weight, since calorie burning will keep the extra pounds at bay. The process of burning calories as you consume them requires an awareness of the number of calories you are taking in every day. You might have to face the fact that your daily latte or that hamburger at the drive-through is not the best choice to help you maintain an ideal body weight. The other side of this process involves fitting daily physical activity into your schedule to keep those calories burning and your body fit and trim.

We Like to Move it, Move it!

You know exercise is a good thing. You want to get into the groove of a fitness program, but who has the time? According to the Mayo Clinic, as little as 30 minutes a day of physical activity is enough to help you live longer and healthier by maintaining an ideal body weight. It doesn’t even matter what type of exercise you do, as long as you just do it.

For the overachievers in the crowd, add a couple of days of strength training to the mix for maximum fat burning potential. Your body will thank you when that ideal body weight is finally achieved and kept over the long haul.

Achieving and maintaining ideal body weight is important for preventing disease and other health issues. The key is to be realistic about your weight and realize that each person is different. Remember that ideal body weight should be calculated according to your height, sex and body frame. Your physician can help you determine a body weight that is healthy for you. Once you have achieved that ideal body weight, you are on the road to a healthier, happier you.

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