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What Is Ideal Body Weight & Should You Achieve It?

Updated on March 16, 2014

Which is the most positive way to think about weight?

A typical insurance chart is all business!
A typical insurance chart is all business!
Those BMI folks are so droll!
Those BMI folks are so droll!
Dieticians online tell it like it is! :D
Dieticians online tell it like it is! :D | Source

Ideal Body Weight vs Healthy Body Weight

Insurance companies use ideal body weight charts to establish some fairly flexible parameters for healthy body weight for men and women in all stages of life. If you've ever looked at an insurance company weight chart, you'll see that targeted ideal weights for each height and body type fall within a fairly narrow range. While this is not an exact number, it does challenge applicants for health insurance to stay within a few pounds of what is considered ideal weight if they want to get good insurance rates!


In recent years the concept of body mass index (BMI) has come into vogue. This is a system that measures height to weight ratio and calculates the amount of your body weight that may be made up of fat versus muscle. While this is a little better than a simple height/weight chart, it's not much better. This system does not take variables such as diet, heredity, level of activity, lifestyle and so on into account. All of these factors must be considered when determining whether or not you are a healthy weight as opposed to an ideal weight. There are far too many variables when it comes to weight to be able to make an exact list of ideal weights matched with heights.


Why is it wrong to turn to charts and BMI methods of determining ideal weight?

It is important to understand that an ideal weight is measured by exterior standards and methods. Healthy weight is determined holistically by taking an inventory of your level of exercise, the amount of energy you generally have, your overall health record and more.

You may be extremely healthy and fit and weigh far more than your supposed ideal weight. This could be because you have a lot of muscle, which is more dense than fat or because you have very strong dense bones or both. In either of these cases, you certainly would not want to lose weight just to attain an arbitrarily assigned ideal number.

Conversely, you might be right on target when it comes to ideal weight by chart or BMI and be undernourished and unhealthy. In this instance, you would have a lot of health goals to attain, and you might need to gain weight to gain health.

It is easy to see in these two examples that setting your health and fitness goals by using an externally determined, fairly arbitrary method of measuring is simply not a good idea.

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How can I determine my own healthy weight?

The best way to approach weight is to stop worrying about it. Don't weigh yourself every day. In fact, you don't actually need to weigh yourself at all, but if you must, make it no more often than once a week. Take the results with a grain of salt as a reference point only.

The best way to attain and maintain a healthy weight is to focus on attaining and maintaining good overall health. A healthy weight will result as a side effect. To be fit and healthy all over, you should follow a moderate course of healthy, whole foods, plenty of pure filtered water, excellent stress management practices, consistent, daily light-to-moderate exercise and ample, high quality sleep.

The key to good health is not dieting or taking extreme measures of any kind. Consistency in your diet, exercise and rest patterns will result in excellent health. That adds up to a healthy weight, and that is your ideal weight. When you feel comfortable with your body, your clothes fit you well and you have plenty of energy to meet the challenges of every day, you are healthy and at your ideal weight.

Why is water important for maintaining ideal weight?

Every part of your body needs water to function properly. From your bones to your eyeballs, water is one of the main ingredients in a human being. It keeps joints moving smoothly, blood circulating efficiently, neurons sparking effectively and all waste disposal systems operating at optimum levels of efficiency. It washes away toxins and fat, regulates your temperature and even helps you think more clearly.

If you can give up processed drinks of all kinds and make water your drink of choice, you will lose excess weight quickly and feel better than ever within a month or so. Herbal teas and other non-caffeinated, non-carbonated natural drinks can provide some of your water requirements. Using an inexpensive filtration pitcher to filter your tap water will enable you to have ample amounts of fresh, pure water affordably without the risks posed by plastic water bottles.

Walk the dog!

Take your cat for a bike ride!

What if I don't like exercise?

Not everyone likes working out with weights and machines or taking exercise classes. Luckily, there are lots of ways to build ample exercise into everyday life. Begin by choosing to walk or bicycle instead of driving every chance you get. Be mindful of the choices you make throughout each day, and always make the most active choice possible. Climb stairs, walk on your breaks at work, go for a walk or bike ride after dinner, choose active games with your children and so on.

The key to staying active is not so much what you do as how often you do it. Remember to get at least fifteen or twenty minutes of light to moderate exercise every day. A combination of a consistently healthy diet, light-to-moderate exercise, good stress management and proper rest will soon improve your energy level. When this happens, you may find yourself looking for things to do. Start thinking about dance classes, yoga, swimming, horseback riding and other enjoyable forms of exercise that will help you attain and maintain a healthy, ideal weight.

Dance! Dance! Dance!

Will my healthy weight always be the same?

As the seasons change and your activity level varies, your healthiest weight will change a bit. We tend to weigh more in the winter when it’s a little harder to exercise and our bodies need a little layer of fat for warmth. We tend to weigh less in the summer when it’s hot and we perspire a lot. There may be times in your life when you are doing quite a bit of physical labor and build up your muscles more. When this happens, you may weigh more, but you won’t need to lose weight.

The most important thing to remember is that weight really is just a number. It is far more important to focus on taking good care of yourself to maintain your ideal health. Your ideal weight, which is individual and specific to you, will naturally follow.


Copyright:SuzanneBennett:March 13, 2014

Comments

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  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    4 years ago from Texas

    Thanks Julie and Doc! :) Yes, for some reason people are resistant to the idea of small, consistent, incremental changes in lifestyle (such as simply adding walking to your daily routine). People seem to want to do something huge and dramatic in hopes of reaping instant change, and it just doesn't work that way. Self-acceptance and the ability to add good habits to your daily routine are far more effective tools in lifelong health and fitness than crash diets and punishing workouts! :D

  • doctorhawkson profile image

    Stanley 

    4 years ago from Beaufort

    I agree with you Suzanne; Just be healthy; insightful article

  • JulieMProvost profile image

    Julie Provost 

    4 years ago from Tennessee

    I was able to get back to a healthy weight after my 2nd baby just by walking. It really is a great way to lose weight. I don't like the charts either. They make me feel a lot bigger than I am.

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    4 years ago from Texas

    LOL! I am so amazed that apparently everyone seems to believe that this article advocates these charts. Almost every day someone pins this article onto some board at Pinterest that's all about punishing yourself into extreme fitness. I am 4-Square against measuring yourself against a chart!

    The core message of this article is:

    "There are far too many variables when it comes to weight to be able to make an exact list of ideal weights matched with heights."

    So don't worry about it. Just be healthy! :)

  • easefeeds profile image

    Ease Feeds 

    4 years ago from Cyperspace

    Voted up. I guess I'm just a little short for my weight. :) I'm working on it though. :)

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    4 years ago from Texas

    Well, that's interesting but actually the point of the article is that these tables and whatnot are misleading and unnecessary! If you are healthy and comfortable with your body, you are just fine! :)

  • Shyron E Shenko profile image

    Shyron E Shenko 

    4 years ago from Texas

    Suzanne, this is very useful and I voted that way. I am over, but I am a little strange and what it says is if I stand on one foot I am okay and if I stand on the other I am over what my BMI should be.

    Blessings †

    Shyron

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    4 years ago from Texas

    Fine with me! Many thanks! :)

  • dis-cover profile image

    Nikolic Predrag 

    4 years ago from Serbia, Belgrade

    Hi justmesuzanne, thoroughly enjoyed this hub, lots of useful and interesting information.

    I've just written a hub about obesity and I would like to link this as perfect addition. I hope that's okay with you.

    Voting up, interesting, useful.

    Thank you.

    Best wishes Predrag.

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    4 years ago from Texas

    Well, good for you; however, you seem to have missed the point of the article1 :D LOL!

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 

    4 years ago from Orlando, FL

    Yay I made the chart by 2 lbs. That's cutting it close :)

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    4 years ago from Texas

    Well, be sure to watch the videos for some great ideas! They all have really fun music! :D

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 

    4 years ago from USA

    Uh-oh. I guess I need to start moving more.

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    4 years ago from Texas

    Yes, it's better to be more aware of your overall body condition than to rely too much on what the scale says. Thanks for commenting! :)

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Helpful tips about body weight I don't weigh myself but notice the change sin winter in summer.

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