A healthy weight, what is it, and how do you achieve it? You may have heard this term many times because individuals need to be at their healthy weight to live a long prosperous life. And as most of us know, additional weight is not beneficial for us as it is the leading cause for many major elements such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic disease, and the list goes on and on. The question comes down: Do we know what a healthy weight is, and are they driven enough to get there? So it all comes down to knowing and doing.
What Is a Healthy Weight?
Unfortunately, most do not know the answer to this question. The general answers will be something along the lines of “I think it is this” or “it could be that.” So why don’t we know what a healthy weight is? There’s the ever-present BMI (body mass index) chart at the doctor’s office that you see every time you go. There is stuff posted all over the Internet with BMI calculator and mathematical equations and research giving more details about this topic than one could imagine. Yet, the average person doesn’t even know what a healthy weight is. If you don’t know, then you can’t achieve.
One of the major driving forces of ideal weight is the perception of a healthy weight. Since the shift in obesity over the past three decades, an increase of approximately 8% each decade to the level of 42.4% today, most overweight people today think they are a normal healthy weight. This is a shift in perception of overweight. As things change over time, we become accustomed to this change, which dampers our perception of this change. A simple way of saying this is that once something changes, give it enough time, it becomes the norm. Knowing this, a recalibration of weight has been set to a new level. Unfortunately, this new level is not a healthy weight but an unhealthy weight; however, it is seen as a normal healthy weight due to the amount of exposure over the decades.
The other main reason people do not understand a healthy weight is that they were not educated on this topic. Like almost everyone, we learn from our parents, and if our parents didn’t know, then how can we? A classic example of this would be asking my parents or my in-laws how to lose weight or maintain weight. I would get a simple answer to cut carbs, eat smaller portions, and exercise. If this were the case, everyone would be healthy, yet this can be the farthest from the truth. Losing weight is not as simple as just cutting carbs or cutting your portion sizes or simple physical activity. There’s a lot more involved that can be explained through education, which will allow individuals to lose weight. For more information on this, please read the following article.
And last, of all, the effort that it takes to lose weight. There is a considerable amount of time and effort to lose weight, which requires individuals to alter their current state of affairs, IE change, which most individuals have trouble with. This change facet is the primary reason why most people don’t do anything! You can have all the information in the world at your fingertips or and your mind but not take advantage of it due to change. As I like to say, most people are allergic to change. This is because change invokes the subconscious, which is programmed to protect you. Change is perceived by the subconscious as something new, and something new is unknown and unknown could lead to danger. It is this simple fact that freezes most people in their tracks.
There has to be a clear path on what the change will be, and the amount of change needs to be broken up into smaller pieces so that the subconscious can wrap itself around little bits of incremental change and not completely shut down. A clear example of this is if you want to run a marathon, you don’t go out the first day and run the full 26.2 miles. The first thing you would do is lace up your shoes and run a block or two or as many as you possibly can the first day. You would then build upon this for the second day and continuously add more and more. This is a clear and distinct way of adjusting change in small increments, not to overwhelm the subconscious. This type of methodology has a much higher percentage chance of succeeding than a full complete change, running a marathon day one, which has little chance of succeeding in the short term and definitely in the long term.
Healthy Weight Defined
Using the BMI chart, a healthy weight is defined as 18.5 to 24.9. Below 18.5 is listed as underweight, and 25.0 to 29.9 is overweight. Anything over 30 is considered obese. So what does this mean?
Body fat percentage is another way to determine a healthy weight. This process is a little more precise and is broken out by males and females. The chart below lists both men and women what the average is and what is obese. Again what does this mean?
|Obese||25% and higher||32% and higher|
There is an excellent little calculator that will convert one of the above into the other. So if you want to know what your body fat percentage is based on your BMI, it is possible using this simple conversion. The formula goes as follows:
Women: (1.20 x BMI) + (0.23 x Age) – 5.4 = Body Fat Percentage
Men: (1.20 x BMI) + (0.23 x Age) – 16.2 = Body Fat Percentage
But again, what does all this mean?
Waist circumference is another tool used to ascertain a healthy weight. The quick and easy way of doing this is to take your waist circumference and multiply it by two. If this number is greater, then you’re high, both in inches, then this individual is considered overweight. But again, what does all this mean?
Essentially, all of the above are just tools. And there are many more tools that can be used to capture an accurate reading of body fat and health. But what it comes down to is that the tools are used to indicate your current healthy weight. There is the simple look in the mirror trick in which most individuals are the best judges of themselves and know if something looks a little out of whack like excess body fat, then there’s an issue.
A healthy weight or ideal body weight is one that meets some or most of the medically defined measurements but is also something that you can maintain without having to alter your lifestyle or schedule completely. There has to be a good balance between a healthy weight and maintaining a normal lifestyle. Yes, you can measure your body fat percentage and say that you are X percent and that you are healthy because of it. But to get to level X, did it require you to change your lifestyle and schedule to meet that goal? If the answer is yes to the second half of this question, then this may not be the best weight for you to maintain as you have completely changed your life to achieve this.
As you can see, there are two parts two to weight loss, with the first being knowledge and the second being drive. Unfortunately, most people do not have the knowledge needed to lose or maintain weight. This is fairly obvious as the obesity rate continues to climb each decade and, as mentioned is currently 42.4%, with the 2030 estimate being 51%.
The other half of the equation is the drive, which is sometimes related to motivation. This is the tricky part of the equation as the subconscious has developed over millions of years to protect us, and one of the protecting factors is change. Change can bring people to their knees and paralyze them with fear preventing them from moving forward or making any movement. The easiest way around this is to break things up into small pieces, so the change is not overwhelming.
Some tools can be used to determine if you are in a healthy range of weight. Again, these are tools that need to be used to see if you are in a medical range of good health and consideration needs to be taken for your current lifestyle.
The end goal for everyone should be to have good health. Without good health, not much matters on this planet. The best way to achieve good health is to achieve a healthy body weight, which is a normal weight that can be maintained, which will allow the body to function as it has for millions of years.