Finding Your Ideal Weight
Guess What? They Were Wrong!
If you were to believe the charts provided by insurance companies, you would think that every woman who is 5'3" should weigh 110 pounds. The charts provide height and weight numbers that have been used over the years to determine healthy weight for individuals. Of course, in recent years there have been significant changes to this method, however, similar charts are still in use worldwide.
Obviously, putting everyone of a certain height into a specific weight category is not realistic. We're all built differently and have different metabolisms and genetics. All of these factors affect the amount of weight we can carry in a healthy fashion. Fit women look slimmer and often weigh more than the charts suggest because they have more muscle mass. Muscle is heavier than fat, causing the number on the scale to be higher. Conversely, a woman may have a so-called normal weight for her height, but have high levels of body fat.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
In order to bring this information into a more realistic perspective, a different method of assessing weight was needed. The method of choice today is the Body Mass Index (BMI). This method gives a relatively accurate indication of what your ideal body weight should be by identifying the percentage of body tissue that is actually fat. The downside is that this method of determining body mass does not take into consideration the variations for bone, fat, organs and muscle - but it does provide a broader range for what could be considered normal weight.
Your BMI is the ratio of your height to your weight and is calculated as follows:
BMI = your weight in kilograms (or pounds) divided by the square of your height in meters (or inches). There are a variety of places on the internet that provide a BMI calculator that will do the conversion for you.
The interpretation of the BMI shows you whether your weight is in the healthy range for your height. If your BMI is under 20, you are considered underweight. 20 to 25 means your weight is considered normal while 25 to 30 is overweight. When the numbers range from 30 to 40 you are obese and anything over 40 is dangerously obese.
Bioelectrical Impedance - Fast and Easy
Perhaps one of the best ways to determine body fat is by using a bioelectrical impedance machine. This machine releases an electrical current that passes through the body and the machine measures how long it takes for the current to exit the body, providing a measurement of total body fat. Lean tissue conducts electricity better than fatty tissue does, allowing the machine to measure the percentage of fat in the body. They look just like ordinary weigh scales and have the capability of a weight scale as well.