While you’re actively working on losing weight, you likely have a goal in mind – an ideal weight. But how accurate IS your ideal weight?
I reached what I thought was MY ideal weight once (or got pretty darn close), only to find I was around 10 pounds off, give or take. No big deal – just keep working at it, right? Right.
Except now (in hindsight, and armed with even more information) I realize even that number is wrong…
I had based what I thought was my ideal weight on a time in my life when I looked and felt my best. Not the best I COULD look and feel, just a “version of me” I looked back on as a place I’d like to get back to again. That “me” was somewhere between 28 and 30 years old. I’ll turn 42 in a few weeks (early June).
My body is totally changing. What looked decent on a 30’ish female body with a semi-active lifestyle… well, it’s just not the same for a woman in her 40’s.
A woman in her 40’s still has a lot of youth left in her, mind you. 🙂 But our bodies definitely change over time. Specifically, your body shape.
It’s not just the amount of body fat you lose or gain over time, but the actual location of your body fat changes naturally with age. As just one example, a drop in estrogen levels in women will shift lower body fat to the midsection.
Shapely hips & butts turn into… pudgy guts. 😛
Muscle mass also plays a part in your body shape. From birth to 30 years old, your muscles grow larger and stronger. After 30, you begin to lose muscle mass as a natural part of aging – yes, even if you have an active lifestyle. Some reports say you can lose around 3-5% of your muscle mass per decade, others say you can lose as much as 1% per year.
Either way, after the age of 30 you have to work harder to gain muscle – or even to maintain your muscle mass. I’ve definitely seem this firsthand. What seemed easy and almost natural pre-30 now takes intentional WORK.
You may be wondering what prompted this whole topic…
Yesterday I had to go back to the doctor. I’ve been sick lately with a lovely respiratory virus that totally kicked my a##. I immediately started taking antibiotics, prednisode, and over the counter meds for the symptoms – aiming to knock it out FAST. The day I took the last prednisone, I started breaking out in a slight rash.
The next day it started taking over like something from an X-Files episode. 😯 My ears started swelling, the rash spread to my face, and I was itching like a mad woman. I had extreme sweats and chills that were almost as unbearable as the itch.
Obviously I was having an allergic reaction. It turns out it was the sulfa antibiotic (noted!) and the prednisone was my save the first 5-6 days. So I went in yesterday for a steroid shot in the hip, and another round of prednisone. Bingo! 🙂 I feel a million times better already! What a relief… lol.
Anyway, this morning I was looking over the paper the doc sent home with me as well as my meds – mainly to see if I should stay out of the sun or if there were any other precautions I might need to take while finishing this prescription. Especially with a warm weekend coming up, me finally feeling better, and thoughts of beers on the boat swimming through my mind. 🙂
All that went out the window when I saw this on the paper: BMI.
How Do You Figure Out Your Ideal Weight?
BMI is a standard form of measurement to determine if you are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.
BMI is short for Body Mass Index. It’s basically a bullshit calculation of your body fat based on your height and weight.
You can calculate your BMI here.
Why do I call it BS?
Because it’s not accurate. A 6 foot 200 pound man that trains can have the same BMI as a 6 foot male couch potato. They’ll both calculate overweight.
Your ideal weight is NOT a basic black and white fill-in-the-blanks formula that can be calculated by a simple form.
It would be nice if it were that easy, right?
I’m sure we all have SOME idea of what we would LIKE to weigh (or weigh again), but as I mentioned earlier… I’m discovering my own goals have been way off mark.
My BMI was 27.06 according to my doctor, but 26.03 according to my true weight (vs a mid-day weight). Either way it puts me in the “overweight” category on the chart.
There are lots of “ideals” out there…
One proposal is that you should keep your waist measurement to less than half your height for optimal health. (I had to go measure my waist again after I read that, lol). Yup, still registering “overweight” by that standard too. 😛
At 5’5″ tall, my waist should ideally be less than 32.5″. I don’t disagree with that. My waist is currently 34 inches. I weigh 158 pounds today, by the way – in case you were wondering. 🙂 Anyway, that’s not just about weight alone, but a “measure” for a variety of health risks we take by carrying mid-section weight.
What Is A Healthy Weight For YOU?
Here’s what I learned today:
My ideal weight is NOT a mathematical formula. And neither is yours! While tools and standards are good to at least be aware of, your ideal healthy weight depends on SO much more. You could rank great on charts but still be “skinny fat”, or ridiculously unhealthy. Numbers simply don’t tell the whole story. They don’t tell YOUR story.
Your own “healthy weight” depends on a number of factors, such as: age, sex, height, bone density, muscle/fat ratio, body type, etc. And let’s throw in: preference. Let’s face it, not everyone wants to be a stick skinny person with no figure. Not everyone wants to be a bulked up muscle flexing type either. We all have our preference on what we find “attractive”, or an idea of how we most want to look in our own skin.
It’s not all about pounds and ounces on the scale.
It’s about fat loss, not weight loss…
Your ideal weight, or a healthy weight for YOU, should depend on SO much more than just weight loss goals. It should really depend on fat loss goals, muscle weight goals, and your personal body shape preferences.
I want strong bone density and more muscle mass. I want to be STRONG. I want to be the healthiest 40-something woman I can possibly be. Those things actually ADD pounds. They weigh more. I don’t care, because…
My ideal weight won’t be defined by the number on my scale, but by the person staring back at me in the mirror.
I’ll know her when I see her. 🙂
So for now, any numerical goals are out the window. I’m busting my ass for the day the lady in my mirror smiles back at me and says…
“DAMN, Woman! Nice work!!” 🙂
Until then, I’ll continue to eat clean and hit my Focus 25 Workout HARD…
p.s. It’s important to track your progress, and also to weigh yourself properly. You should only weigh first thing in the morning, right after you pee. Your weight can fluctuate as much as 5 pounds +/- throughout a single day.
Your body shape can change dramatically too, without showing on the scales. This is why you should also take accurate body measurements as you go.
I use the EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale w/ Extra Large Lighted Display, 400 lb. Capacity and “Step-On” Technology [2014 VERSION] – 10,000+ Reviews EatSmart Guaranteed Accurate. It’s rated #1 on Amazon, and they now include a FREE EatSmart Body Tape Measure with every scale.
If you already have a great scale, make sure you also have a way to measure. I already had the Eatsmart scale before they started including a free body tape measure so I ordered the Fit & Fresh Body Tape Measure, Locking Pin and Push-Button Retraction from Amazon.
It’s inexpensive, and an easy way to take your own body measurements (without needing an extra hand to hold the tape or look at the numbers!).
>Note: There is a place in MyFitnessPal to log your measurements as well as your weight loss.
It’s the “Check In” link in your MFP account.
If you want to get SERIOUS – and YES! this baby just went on MY wishlist 🙂 – check out this bluetooth “Body Composition Analyzer” scale…
Easy@Home Bluetooth Body Fat Digital Scale (Smart Scale) with FREE App for iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android smart phones and tablets. Measures 8 Parameters: Body Weight, Body Fat, Body Water, Muscle Mass, BMI, BMR(KCAL), Bone Mass and Visceral Fat. 4.3″ backlit LCD display – High Sensitivity ITO Top, CF351BT
(Bluetooth Scale, Body Composition Analyzer, Smart Body Analyzer)
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