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Weight Loss-How Do You Know When You Need To Lose weight .

Updated on November 18, 2014

Weight loss-Different People, Different Needs.

Generally losing weight is considered to be a personal decision.

There are so many opinions out there-- you should be this size if you are a man, you should be this size if you are a woman. There is advice if you're tall, short, big boned, small boned, depending on how old you are or what country you live in, you will get all kinds of different stories.

Well, the truth is, there's no easy, standard answer for whether you need to lose weight or not. Most opinions are just that-- opinions, and they should all be taken with a grain of salt. Each individual has a different body type, shape, size, metabolism, muscle mass, different genes-- and there is much to factor in when it comes to weight loss.

Before jumping to conclusions, take the following into consideration.

What about you? Poll

How do you think your weight and size are?

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Lost Weight

Credit for the photo goes to :
Credit for the photo goes to :

Body Mass Index

The most reliable way to figure out whether or not you fall within a good weight range is to check your body mass index. Body mass index takes your height to weight ratio. Try calculating your BMI here (keep in mind, this is calculator is for adults):

Calculate Your Body Mass Index

For most people, BMI is fairly reliable. If your calculation gives you a BMI of below 18.5 are considered underweight.

Normal weight is when you have a BMI of 18.5 and 24.9.

If you have a BMI of 25 and 29.9 and you would generally be considered overweight. With a BMI of 30 or greater, you would be considered obese.

Keep in mind that BMI calculators are not perfect. For example, if you are very muscular, you may have a much higher BMI than the average person, even though you are not overweight. The muscle mass is heavy, making your BMI deceptive. So even though a BMI calculator is a good tool, it is not fool-proof.

What do you say? Poll

Was your BMI what you expected?

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How do you feel?

Another good indicator of whether you're a healthy weight or not is how you feel. We're always so busy worrying about numbers, like sizes and pounds, or we're so worried about what other people might think of us, sometimes we don't think about the most simple idea: how we feel.

Do you feel comfortable in your own skin? Do your clothes fit you comfortably? Do you feel like you have energy? Do you feel satisfied with your food intake, but not as though you're overindulging?

If you feel good and fit, it's a good indication that you are good and fit. The trick is, you need to be very honest with yourself. You can't be too hard on yourself when you assess how you feel, but you also cannot be too easy on yourself.

What do you say

What do you wish you could do with your weight

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What does your doctor say?

The first thing you should do if you are concerned about your weight is discuss it with your doctor. Your doctor can help you with tests that can tell you if you have any issues with your heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar levels or any other of your 'numbers' that indicate how healthy you may be. Have your doctor draw blood and do the necessary examinations to see if your body is functioning at optimum levels.

Your doctor will be able to tell your if your BMI is accurate. If you're overweight or underweight, your doctor can tell you if it's minor and there is nothing to be concerned about, or if there are potential risks that you need to be worried about.


Look to your family

Are you worried that you're overweight because you have big thighs, or wide hips, or a barrel chest? Do you have skinny legs or wiry arms?

If this is the case you really need to take genetics into consideration. Just because the tape measure doesn't give you the perfect number combo that you like doesn't mean you are outside of normal. If your BMI is good, and your doctor says you're good, chances are that your one outstanding (or diminished) body feature is due to genetics.

Check the family photo album and see if a certain body type seems to run in the family. You may be able to work out at the gym and shape your body more to your liking, but your best bet is to embrace that this is part of who you are. It does not make your weight abnormal nor does it mean you look bad-- most likely, you're experiencing 'fun house mirror vision'. You're exaggerating your features in your mind, and they look worse to you than they really are. Other people probably do not notice as much as you think, especially if you are at a healthy BMI.

Gaining weight doesn't mean you have to lose weight.

You always have to remember that rule, because a lot of times gaining weight is natural and positive process, like during puberty and for few years after. So be smart and check to see if the rest of your body is growing as well. If so and if the proportion of your body remains, then you probably need not worry too much about your weight.

You also have to remember that your weight will fluctuate. Women in particular can fluctuate with their menstrual cycle. You can seemingly gain a little weight just by eating or drinking too much, or by having too much salt which causes water retention. When you start working out, you can gain weight-- you are probably losing weight too, but you are also gaining muscle and muscle is heavier than fat.

What Do You Say?

How often do you weigh yourself?

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Weight loss and your favorite actor

One of the biggest problems these days with people being able to really assess whether they're overweight or underweight or just right is that we have the media giving us very distorted images. Super skinny super models who are photographed and then Photoshopped to be even thinner, actors and actresses who spend hours in the gym or possibly have eating disorders are plastered on TV, magazines and websites. They're all praised for how they look, but it's not real-- it's not normal. Mostly it's an illusion, and something that most people will not be able to maintain without camera tricks or extreme lifestyle choices.

Don't compare yourself to anyone in fashion or on television-- you are not getting an accurate depiction of normal, you are seeing the extreme. Don't judge yourself by unrealistic standards.

Love Yourself!


Last thing about losing weight

If your BMI is within normal range, and you feel fairly healthy, and your friends say you look fine, and your doctor says all your numbers are healthy, you should feel confident that you don't need to lose (or gain) weight.

If despite all that you have a distorted vision of how much you should weigh, or what you should see in the mirror, you might consider that the problem is not that you need to lose weight. Your problem could be that you have an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are not voluntary-- they can cause you to see your body or your weight incorrectly. If you are doing drastic things like extreme dieting, binging, purging, starving yourself, or exercising profusely not because you're having fun being active but because you're determined to lose weight or gain muscle, you might be suffering from an eating disorder. You should see a counselor or psychologist to be evaluated before you do something that causes serious damage to your body-- sometimes irreversible damage.


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    • shai77 profile image

      Chen 5 years ago

      Thanks for your kind words, Jennitasia! I agree that weight is an important subject and knowledge is the first step to living a healthier lifestyle. We are all beautiful just the way we are, but when higher weight becomes a medical concern, it’s best to see a doctor. We all want to be healthy and as long as we lose weight for the right reasons in the right ways, better health is just around the corner. :-)

    • Jennitasia profile image

      Jennitasia 8 years ago from Arkansas

      We all need advice about the rising issue of weight gain in our society! Great information!