Weight is a touchy topic for a lot of people. Society pressures us to be thin while advertisements for fast food and highly processed junk food tempt us at every corner. This sends mixed messages that warp people’s relationship with food and can lead to dangerous activities like binging (overeating), restricting (eating much less), and even purging (throwing up).
Instead of focusing on being “thin” or “buff” or feeling bad about what we look like, we should be focusing on how we feel. Being healthy is a crucial part of that! And the best part? Being healthy will look different from person to person: No need to fit into the latest “trending body,” fad diet, or intense workout regimen.
Why It Matters
According to heart.org (see: “Keeping a Healthy Body Weight,”), healthy weight allows for better blood circulation, helps the body manage fluid levels, and can improve mood and energy levels. It also helps prevent high blood pressure, heart problems, uncontrolled blood sugar, gallstones, osteoarthritis, cancer, and breathing problems.
Finding Your Healthy Body Weight
People shouldn’t base their healthy weight goals solely on their BMI. It’s a great place to start, but there are many other elements to factor in. You need to use a combination of all the measurements! “Health Matters: Is your weight really that important2?” by Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., recommends that you take the following into account.
- Muscle and Fat Percentage: The most straightforward approach to finding your muscle to fat percentage is by purchasing a body fat scale, which uses electrical currents to make its measurements. Don’t worry, though! It does not hurt.
- Waist Circumference: Finding your waist circumference is more straightforward. Wrap a flexible tape measure starting and ending at the belly button.
- Waist to Hip Ratio: Take your waist circumference and divide it by your hip measurement. Your hip measurement is the fullest part of your hips. According to the Very Well Fit’s “Calculating Your Waist to Hip Ratio” by Jennifer R. Scott, a man’s ratio should be .90 or less and a woman’s ratio be .85 or less3.
- Fitness Level: Everyone needs to be active in some way, shape, or form. NHS recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week4.
- Blood Work: Everybody is different, and you may be perfectly healthy even if some of the tests say otherwise. A blood test will give you the most accurate, in-depth look at what’s happening inside your body. Your healthcare provider will also be able to make the best possible suggestions for you based on the results.
- Your Family History: If your family has a history of conditions like high blood pressure or uncontrolled blood sugar, you may be at higher risk yourself.
Reaching A Healthy Weight
Diet: Diet does not equal dieting. Dieting is usually a short-term solution, where a proper diet should be forever. Health.org recommends you eat four servings of vegetables, three servings of fruit, nine servings of grain, 6 ounces of lean meat, and 2-3 servings of dairy daily5.
Exercise: No matter what you look like or how old you are, you need to exercise. You don’t need to be a bodybuilder or spend hours at the gym, though. You would see benefits from just 30 minutes of vigorous walking a day.
You Can Do It!
If this feels overwhelming or confusing, try talking with a certified healthcare practitioner. They’ll help you find your ideal weight and best practices for your size, age, and gender.
You can also try this fun quiz to see if you are making healthy choices.
1Keeping a Healthy Body Weight. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/losing-weight/keeping-a-healthy-body-weight.
2Fernstrom, M. (2019, January 10). Health Matters: Is your weight really that important? Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/know-your-value/feature/health-matters-your-weight-really-important-ncna956726.
3Scott, J. R. (2019, October 16). How to Calculate and Understand Your Waist to Hip Ratio. Retrieved from https://www.verywellfit.com/waist-to-hip-ratio-and-examples-3496140.
4Exercise. NHS. (2019, October 8). Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/
5“ Let the Pyramid Guide Your Food Choices.” Dietary Guidelines: Build a Healthy Base, Health.org, https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2000/document/build.htm.
By Marlena Chesner
Marlena Chesner is a Marketing Associate and Content Writer for Kibow®Biotech Inc., the makers of Renadyl™. She is an author for several blogs, including The Hope and the official Renadyl™ Blog. She is an experienced outbound marketer and a passionate science communicator with love of cats and documentaries. Marlena has a bachelor’s degree in English Writing with a minor in Conflict Resolution from West Chester University, and she can be contacted at email@example.com.