Your Ideal Weight Isn’t What You May Think


Okay, here’s the rub: one of the keys to successful keys to weight-loss is goal setting… and to set goals, you must have some sort of measurement… but our most common measurement – weight – is a flawed method of gauging your ideal weight. It’s not your fault that you’re obsessed with that three-digit number. We’ve been raised to believe the scale is a truth-meter to let us know if we’re on the right track or not.


Where Did The Weight Table Come From?

Originally, the weight table standards were developed for insurance companies to determine risk factor. They made no distinction between body fat and lean muscle mass. However, it’s important to realize that most champion bodybuilders would be characterized as “obese” based on the weight table. For example, both Fat Albert and professional bodybuilder Jay Cutler are 5’9” and 265 pounds. The old weight chart would say that both these men are obese, even though one is among the healthiest people on the planet.

Body Mass Index: A Better Way To Understand Weight

Body Mass Index is more commonly used to calculate ideal weight by estimating one’s body fat content. A healthy BMI ranges from 20 – 25. BMI of less than 20 indicates someone who is underweight and 25-29 indicates someone who is overweight. BMIs of 30+ indicate someone who is obese. BMI still doesn’t distinguish between lean mass and fat mass, but knowing your fat mass is still more helpful than knowing just your weight. Jay Cutler’s BMI is 39.1 because he is so muscular, which would be obese, but researchers say that this measurement is accurate for most people who do not have so much solid muscle mass. BMI can be calculated by health club staff and many digital scales have these calculators built into them now.

Body Fat Percentage Analysis

The best way to measure your body fat to lean muscle ratio is to see your physician or fitness club staff for a body fat analysis. Jay Cutler’s body fat measured well below 10 percent, whereas Fat Albert would have a body fat percentage greater than 50 percent.

So instead of deciding you will lose X amount of pounds, perhaps you should instead consider what body fat percentage you’d like to reach. The World Health Organization and National Institutes of Health recommend the following body fat percentages:

Women 20-40: The healthy range is 21-33%.

Women 41-60: The healthy range is 23-35%.

Women 61-79: The healthy range is 24-36%.

Men 20-40: The healthy range is 8-19%.

Men 41-60: The healthy range is 11-22%.

Men 61-79: The healthy range is 13-25%.

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