Is there such a thing as an “ideal” bodyweight? In this appearance-obsessed 21st century, this is indeed a thing, apparently. It is not just women who are paranoid about their weight. Men ruminate on it too, if not more than women, then at least as much as they do.
Both just do it in different ways. If women tend to needlessly worry about being fat, men are more likely to stew over not being “muscled enough.” Some men may even consider themselves far too lean, and brood about this non-issue!
As you can see, we all tend to overthink it. From seemingly healthy people, to obviously obese people, to downright skinny people, we all carry some illusion about our grand idea of the perfect body.
So let us debunk that myth first. Your ideal body weight is not a single number. That is the immediate good news. Now let’s dig into the details.
8. Our Idea of Perfection Is Rarely Our Own
Take a moment to contemplate this. What does your perfect body look like? Fortunately, there are no wrong answers. But you will notice that your ideas are usually inspired by external sources.
Perhaps you are awed by The Rock’s fitness and want to develop his muscled physique. Or perhaps you crave the attention that gorgeous model seems to receive, and hence crave her hourglass figure too. Or you simply wish to emulate your favorite sports star, despite having completely contrasting lifestyles. So this is the first reality check for us. Our default ideas of body perfection are usually a needless exercise in comparison. Dropping this comparison is the first step towards finding your perfect weight.
7. Different Strokes for Different Folks
We will once again use a sports metaphor to illustrate this. Imagine a successful football star. He needs to have a buff body so he can perform adequately on the football field.
Now consider a competitive swimmer. He needs to be ultra-lean so his weight does not pull him down and interfere with his swimming speed. But what if they coveted the other’s body type? They’d suck at their sport for sure! This only reiterates that our perfect weight is one that is best suited for our lifestyle alone. It also needs to be in harmony with our unique body type.
6. Minor Weight Fluctuations Are Totally Okay
Are you the kind of person that religiously stands on a scale every morning and then berates yourself when the number goes up? There’s your first big misstep. This kind of pressure is not only pointless, but it can even sabotage your attempts at achieving peak fitness. Even the most hardened image consultant experts agree that it is perfectly reasonable for our body weight to fluctuate by a couple of pounds or more, even on the same day.
So there! A more reasonable source of measurement is the BMI, or the Body Mass Index. This determines a healthy range of weight based on your height. While this certainly gives you more wiggle room, it isn’t perfect either.
5. Embrace Your Body Shape
What exactly is this “body shape” we keep referring to? This depends on your bone structure, which in turn comes from your genes. For instance, you and a friend may be close in height, but while she looks lanky, you look curvy. More importantly, you both look good. Well, that’s your body shape working for you! This again illustrates why one “perfect” number is never a good thing.
Some of us can be top-heavy, while others are more rounded at the bottom. Some people are symmetrical all over. Again, there is no right or wrong shape. What is more important is for you to mold your body weight in proportion to your natural shape.
4. All Weight Is Not Fat
BMI is a more reasonable measure of body weight than the number of pounds you weigh. But while it claims to help us determine body fat, it does an incomplete job of it, as it does not consider different body shapes. For instance, BMI will obviously consider your curvy self to be “fatter” than your lanky friend. But this can be completely untrue, both metaphorically and scientifically!
A better measure is the newly developed ABSI, which stands for A Body Shape Index. This index also considers your waist measurements and the proportion of your body based on your height, weight, and waist. See, it already sounds more neutral, and is hence universal!Related: 20 Foods That Can Turn Off the Stress Hormone That Causes Weight Gain
3. Trust Your Clothes
Our clothes do a better job of pointing to our goal weight than any other scale or index measure. If your clothes fit well and look proportionate to your height and waist, then you are golden. Also, the way our clothes fit us gives us a more realistic peek into the workings of our body.
For instance, when you initially take up strength training, you are sure to put on muscle. This will automatically show a spike on your scale, as muscle weighs more than ordinary fat. Yet your clothes fit better and you look more toned. This is where you trust your clothes and say a firm no thank you to those outdated scales.
2. Take Stock of Your Activity Levels
This is perhaps the truest reflection of your weight. How physically active can you be during your day? Does a sprint up two flights of stairs leave you breathless? Do you hate walking and prefer to take your car, even to the neighborhood store? Are you a closeted couch potato? Well, it’s time to get real. Even if you are on the skinny side, if your physical activity is lacking, so is your weight.
You may look superficially good for now, but be warned that your body will reflect otherwise real soon. On the other hand, if you have the stamina to stay physically active for a good 3-4 hours every day, don’t let those harmless love handles bother you. Your weight is just where it needs to be!
1. Age Is Not a Criterion
People often attribute their weight issues to their age. And yet we see people of all shapes and sizes of exactly the same ages! Today, it is preteens and not older folks who are more susceptible to obesity. Again, this is more a result of a sedentary lifestyle. This dispels the myth that age affects our weight. In fact, you have a better chance of achieving your perfect goal weight as you age, because you learn to work with your metabolism and your body type and tailor your lifestyle to align with it.
To summarize, our idea of perfection is a myth-based on others, not on our own selves. To believe that a particular number on a scale is ideal for us is the weightiest delusion of all! Instead, use the following criteria to determine a range that works perfectly for you.
- Not all weight is fat. Convention says that most healthy women can consider a weight of 110 pounds at 5 feet and add 11 pounds for every inch after that. For men, it is about 11-18 pounds more than women, due to more muscle mass. But of course, you can always be an unconventional but perfectly balanced person.
- The BMI system of measuring ideal weight suggests a range between 18.5 and 25 for healthy adults. While this is a reasonable indicator, it is not perfect. The ABCI is more complete, as it also factors in the proportion of our height, weight, and waist. This can be measured here.
- The medical world is increasingly spreading the word on fat, that not all of it is bad. In fact, they share that essential percentage of fat required for our survival can be as high as 13% in women. There is also storage fat that is vital to protecting our internal organs. It is only the saturated fat that is an absolute no-no.
Working to achieve your goal weight is indeed an admirable endeavor, especially when it is driven by your intention to enhance your health and fitness. But don’t allow a misguided idea of perfection or outdated conventions to define what is good for you.
The better option is to have a friendly chat with your doctor. They will have complete details on your height, waist, and body shape, and suggest the ideal weight range that supports your health goals and lifestyle in the best possible way.Related: 8 Unusually Effective Science-Backed Weight Loss Tips