Historically, medical professionals have used a Body Mass Index (BMI) scale to determine healthy weights for individuals in relation to their heights. The BMI scale uses a sliding scale to relate height and weight to determine a healthy factor of 18.5-24.9. While BMI scales, which can be found through basic Internet search engines, are still the gold standard, recent studies have shown that they should be taken in consideration with more descriptive indicators of healthy weight such as body fat percentage and recent blood work.Go Beyond the Scale
Once you have an idea of what a healthy weight would be for your height, consider that a rough approximate goal. Take body fat percentage and waist circumference measurements. Waist circumference is a far more accurate indicator of weight-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), men with a waist circumference of 40 inches (102cm) or greater and women with a waist circumference of 35 inches (88cm) or greater are at high risk for obesity related disease, regardless of BMI. For example, some people may weigh more than their BMI deems appropriate for their height, but because they distribute their weight among muscle mass around the limbs, they are not at an increased risk for disease.Similarly, body fat percentage can help determine the severity of a high BMI. According the American College of Sports Medicine, a healthy body fat percentage for an adult male of at least twenty years old is 10-24%. A healthy body fat percentage for an adult woman is a little higher at around 15-30%. Regardless of weight, ensuring these numbers will keep you healthier for longer.
Celebrate All the Tiny Victories
Embarking on a fitness journey can be stressful. There are ups and downs and moments that feel more challenging than others. Understand that your body is very complex and a lot of factors impact how it performs day by day. Instead of stressing over the number on the scale, celebrate going down a pant or dress size. Instead of worrying about not having enough muscle definition, take pride in being able to walk up another flight of stairs with more ease. Surround yourself with people who build your self-esteem and encourage your success. Maintaining a positive attitude will ensure greater success and a happier journey.
For more information on weight management or help getting started on your fitness journey, consult with an exercise physiologist on a fitness program to best fit your needs. Stay happy and healthy!