Determining your ideal weight is an easy tool that you can use for various reasons, but there are some challenges in the standard method. For starters, the body mass index is commonly used by healthcare teams to determine if you need to gain, lose, or maintain your body weight. With that said, the body mass index was not always the premier body chart analyzer, but today it is the driving force in many aspects of your life. The content ahead takes a look at your ideal weight and how this metric has evolved over the years.
What is the Ideal Weight? Is there an Ideal Body Weigh?
Decades ago, insurance companies largely ran the wellness industry and it directed what kind of weight loss goals you should have. These companies used charts, known as ideal weight charts, as a way to determine your premiums based off your height and weight. This information was used for quite some time until a faster, easier method for determining your height and weight came about. Let’s take a look at this method ahead.
The Body Mass Index
The body mass index, or just BMI, is a standard tool used in virtually all medical practices that gives a comparison of your height versus your weight. It is a fast way for clinicians to make a judgement on whether or not you need to lose, gain, or maintain your weight for optimal health. With that said, anytime you go to a doctor’s appointment, you should have a height and weight measurement as a way to give your most accurate body size estimate. More on this will be ahead.
How Much Should I Weigh Based off the BMI?
The body mass index is a one-size-fits-all method for determining how much you ought to weigh. For starters, it does not factor in gender, where men tend to have more muscle and bone mass than women as a whole. In addition, the body mass index does not consider your lifestyle activities and your body’s needs. With that said, your body weight is simply determined based off how tall you are.
The calculation for the body mass index, which can give you an ideal weight, is simple. It is your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in meters squared). Calculating it by hand is interesting, but a chart can help to see what your ideal weight should be based off this calculation. Consider the chart online as a way to visualize your body weight range so that you can better make a decision on what you should weigh. The chart listed is great because it gives you various ranges where you ought to be based off your height. Consider using a chart such as this (or do the calculation) as a way to determine how much weight you need to lose or to decide if you need to maintain your weight for your health.
What can Using an Ideal Weight Chart do for your Health?
There are a few benefits to using an ideal weight chart that is derived by the BMI. Consider the benefits ahead to guide you in your wellness program.
The first benefit that comes to mind is that the ideal weight chart based off the BMI can help you set goals. If you feel that you need to lose weight (and typically adults know when it is time), the ideal weight chart can help you to define specific goals. These goals can help you start off your weight loss program and it ideally gives you something to work towards.
Certainly not everyone who is overweight or obese is stricken with some illness, but it is a risk factor. The ideal weight chart helps you to see how far off the lower risk category you are. This information can be used as a way to motivate you to go on a weight loss program or to come to the realization that you do need a lifestyle change.
Lower your Risk
Perhaps the most important health benefit of an ideal weight chart, aside from weight loss, is that it can help you to lower your health risk. Especially if your body weight falls in the overweight or obese categories, the ideal weight can help you to achieve better health with a reduction in weight.
What the BMI Does Not Tell you
Now that you have information on how you can determine your ideal weight, consider what the BMI information does not give about you. The body mass index calculation that determines your ideal weight range does not factor in your level of fitness, muscle mass, bone density, or any additional factors that could affect your body size. For this reason, the body mass index may not be the best descriptor of your overall body composition and it could skew your thinking. Considering the BMI does not give any direct measurements of your body fat, consider more detailed measurements to give you a better reading of your overall body size and composition.
Ways to Measure your Body Composition
There are a few ways to get detailed measurements of your overall body composition. Generally, these methods are not found anywhere and some can be harder to find, but they are great ways to get better outlooks on your overall body composition.
The DEXA is the gold standard when it comes to looking at your entire body composition. It is designed to assess the bone density among adults, but it gives an overall measurement of fat, muscle, bone, mineral, and additional elements in your body. The DEXA is not something everyone can get and usually it needs to be prescribed by a physician. If you have the opportunity to get a DEXA scan, make sure to get your overall body composition results as well.
Skin Caliper Body Fat Assessment
Let’s say that your ideal weight chart states that you are obese and that you should lose about 30 pounds. This information would assume that you are obese because you have too much fat on your body, but what if you are a competitive weight lifter? Your results would be largely inaccurate based off muscle mass, but more importantly you are viewed as being overweight or obese when you truly are not. Consider a direct estimate measurement of your body fat if your ideal weight chart states that you need to lose some weight to reach your goals. Skin caliper measurements are fairly easy for health professionals and many gyms still perform this measurement.
Perhaps one of the most common household methods for determining your body composition (mainly body fat) is with bioelectric impedance. Generally, this method involves you holding a handheld device or stepping on a scale that has metal footprints. The device sends a small current through your body and it measures the impedance throughout your body. This current is able to then calculate your body fat, lean mass, and your body weight.
The final method for measuring your body composition is with the BOD POD. This technique, which is not commonly found in the general public, is a way to measure your body’s air displacement while you sit in a small chamber for about one minute. The information the BOD POD gives is detailed for body fat, air in your body, and lean mass. Your lean mass is generally a combination of water and muscle and it is considered in this analysis. It is very accurate in measuring your body fat and using this technique can give you better information regarding your ideal weight chart results.
Wrapping it Up
The ideal weight chart is a method of determining how much you should weigh given your particular height. What was mostly considered to be a driving force among insurance companies to determine premiums, the ideal weight has evolved to the BMI and is now used in virtually all healthcare settings.
While insurance companies and healthcare teams use your BMI as a way to assign health risk to you, the BMI can be useful in your everyday life. Assessing your ideal weight with the use of the body mass index can help you to establish realistic and detailed goals, while also giving you motivation throughout your weight loss process. While the BMI can give you a quick assessment on what you ought to weigh, it does not give a detailed description of your body composition. Consider a complete body composition analysis with any of the listed methods above as a way to get a complete breakdown of your health risk.