Am I The Ideal Weight
For My Height...
...a question we often ask, but do the average "ideal weight for my height" values tell us much anymore?
Here's the best way to decide whether to gain or lose weight. I'm sure you're expecting to see a BMI calculator or height/weight chart.
Well I won't disappoint, but it's important you read all of this page first, to put the chart in perspective.
Note: Unless otherwise specified, "ideal weight for my height" charts and BMI calculators are aimed for adults. Also, information on this page is aimed for adults. If you're still in the growth stage of your life, seek advice specifically for your age group. Or better still, ask your health professional.
What made you search for answers to the question: Am I the ideal weight for my height?
Take a minute, get a pen and paper, write down your answer.
Commonly people answer, "because I feel like I weigh too much" or "I look fat (or skinny)". These answers are all to do with social and cultural aspects of your life. Rarely do people say, "because I'm worried about my health".
Let's look deeper in to these answers..
Ideal Weight For My Height:
The Body Image Part
Is body image important?.. ok, ok, YES it is! Stupid question hey. It's human nature to compare ourselves to others. Any society, no matter where in the World, has their prejudices and tolerances.
Compliments make us feel better and more confident. But essentially, the most important question we can ask ourselves is, "am I happy with my body?". Not, are my friends happy with my body, or is that person on the street happy with my body.
Remember there is no right or wrong answer. I'm happy with my body right now, but I know it's far from perfect, in my view. And if I gain some fat on my stomach, then I won't be happy with it.
But that's not my focus, it's my goal. This is where many people tend to go wrong. Your goal may be to
lose weight (fat),
or even stay a certain weight. But your focus should be on enjoying your exercise.
Find physical activities that you enjoy. Could be swimming, cycling, jogging, weights, gym, pilates, sports.. the list is endless. Focus on enjoying them and improving.
After a month or two, having lost some fat (by also keeping a
healthy balanced diet),
you might feel happy with your body. You'll definitely feel happier with it. The crucial thing is you enjoyed doing it, and so you'll carry on.
So.. "what is the ideal weight for my height?". It's the weight at which you feel happy in your body. Remember muscle weighs more than fat. If you've lost fat and gained muscle tone, you may weigh the same or even be heavier, but you'll look trim and feel happier.
Some people are happy being unhealthily over weight or under weight. This leads me on to the question of health.
Ideal Weight For My Height:
The Health Part
Unhealthily Over Weight
I guess if you're unhealthily over weight (obese), you don't need a chart to confirm it. You may want to know the weight you should be for your height, to be healthy.
But an "ideal weight for my height" chart, won't necessarily give you that specific information. The same goes for BMI calculators. Neither take in to account:
percentage of body fat (compared to muscle mass),
lifestyle habits (e.g. whether you smoke, eat lots of salt, exercise),
body frame (i.e. a larger frame will weigh more due to bone mass),
any high risk factors in your family history.
The best way to get the customised ideal weight for your height, is to see your health professionals. They can record the above information, and give you a target weight to be healthy. Then you can aim for that weight (your goal).
For those of you who are happy being unhealthily over weight, I have bad news. Well it's not news at all, you've heard it all before. All the health problems associated with obesity.
Obesity is a problem in many countries. I know that going on about the problems doesn't change anyone's mind. So instead, I ask you to think about:
the stress on hospitals dealing with obesity related illnesses,
the stress on family and friends having to cope with the very real risk of your early death,
the opportunities (rightly or wrongly) that you have missed, and may miss in the future due to being obese,
the example you are setting your children, leading to an evermore downward spiral of obesity (and childhood obesity - is it fair on them?).
Be honest. Write your thoughts down. Look over them now and again. There are many reasons why anyone can become obese. But not even trying to do anything about it, hurts you and your loved ones.
Unhealthily Under Weight
The same principles for the "ideal weight for my height" charts apply (as above). And there are many health risks related to being extremely under weight.
The difference is, it's not so obvious to know when you're unhealthily under weight. Diagnosing obesity is based on numbers and facts. Diagnosing eating disorders (e.g. anorexia nervosa) is much, much harder.
You could be unhealthily under weight, but not have an eating disorder. There are many other factors that can keep you from putting on weight (e.g. severe depression).
In these cases, you'll realise something isn't right. Best advice, see your health professional immediately, for a customised evaluation. They can figure out the cause and advise on your target healthy weight.
If you do have an eating disorder, chances are you think everything's OK. But it's not. Anorexia nervosa stems from your mind, and the results are seen in your body.
Have you experienced many (not necessarily all) of the following:
A very real fear of gaining weight, or even becoming obese?
Avoiding all food (but especially fatty foods)?
Making yourself vomit?
Feeling the need to exercise all the time?
Buying tablets to suppress your appetite?
Missing 3 menstrual periods in a row? (in women)
Having no interest in sex? (in men)
These lead to a sudden loss of weight, which you may deny. The first step is accepting that you may be ill, and going to see your health professional. Hard to do on your own, so talk to someone you trust. Your support from family and friends is going to be vital.
Feel like you have no-one? Here are the websites for support:
- U.S. - www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
- UK - www.b-eat.co.uk
Ideal Weight For My Height - The Chart
I did promise an "ideal weight for my height" chart. I hope you've realised that charts (and BMI numbers) aren't the basis of deciding to gain or lose weight. That decision should be made on happiness with your body and health.
New research is needed to have a better picture of average healthy weight in the 21st Century. So look at this chart very loosely in terms of the numbers.
for the chart provided by the UK Government (this is an external link and will open a new browser window/tab). Once opened, click on the chart to zoom in and out.
Am I the ideal weight for my height? Well I'm not extremely fat or skinny, I know most my weight comes from the muscle on my body (rather than fat).
There are some areas that have a bit more fat than I'd like on them, namely stomach and love handles. Continuing my exercise and healthy diet will soon see to that though.
I'm healthy and happy in my body. So I'd say yes, I am the ideal weight for my height.
If you're there too, great!
If not, this website is all about being happy with your body and healthy.
So take a look through. Begin your journey to a fitter, healthier and happier place.
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