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What is My Best Weight?

Diet programs will tell you one thing. Your doctor will tell you another. Your life insurance company will tell you something entirely different. Finding your best weight can be a search similar to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. Diet centers, doctors, and insurance companies use different charts based on different motivations, so determining what is healthy for you might be more of a challenge than you bargained for.

The original chart offering suggestions for your ideal height and weight came about in the 1940s. A chart was developed by a life insurance company based on deceased policyholders. Seriously. A mortality study was done, and it was determined that people over a certain height and weight died younger than those within a specific height and weight range. Not wanting to pay out death benefits because people over a certain weight were sure to die prematurely, insurance companies developed the chart so they had something they could distribute to their agents to indicate who was eligible to be insured based on height and weight.

When figuring your best weight, consider your bone structure. No, big boned is not a myth! The ideal weight for someone who is big boned will be higher than for someone petite. There are several ways to determine your bone size. One way is to measure around your wrist with your thumb and forefinger. It’s not exact and not scientific, but it will give you an idea of your bone size. It is true that if you are big boned, you can carry a little more weight on your frame. Being overweight does not mean you are big boned! If you are going to get to your ideal weight, make an effort to honestly determine your bone size.

Other factors that influence your best weight are age and level of activity. Fat and muscle weigh the same amount – five pounds of fat weighs the same as five pounds of muscle. Muscle, however, takes up less room. A 175-pound couch potato will probably wear larger clothing and appear heavier than a 175-pound athlete. There is also a little leeway given as you age in terms of your ideal weight. While you may find in your 20s that your ideal weight is 135, you will see in your 60s that you are still at your ideal weight weighing in at 145. Keep in mind, however, that while becoming more physically active might allow you to eat more calories and remain at your best weight, as we age, it is a little harder to maintain the ideal weight if you over eat. Metabolism naturally slows down as most people age, so a little more effort has to be put into staying at your ideal weight.

Consider various sources when trying to determine what your ideal weight is, but do not discount what your body tells you. If you have dieted away some extra pounds, but find that you just cannot lose the last five, it may be your body’s way to tell you that you are already at your ideal weight, regardless of what the charts might tell you. That’s not a license to over indulge and put pounds on, but there may come a point at which your body reaches the ideal weight for you. This is where genetics may come into play. It is harder for some people to stay at their ideal weight due to their genetic make-up. Your body may just be genetically programmed to hold on to a few more pounds than you would like. That is not to say that you cannot reach your ideal weight if you come from a family filled with overweight people, but recognizing that it may be more of a struggle for you may help prepare you if the road to your ideal weight is a little longer than you anticipated.

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