Different people have different Ideal Body weights. One cannot compare their ideal body weight with someone else’s as several factors are taken into consideration when calculating that number. Since, no two persons can have the exact same age, muscle-fat ratio, height, sex, and bone density at any given time, it is impossible to have one measure of what ideal body weight at a certain age should be.
So, in simple words “Ideal Body Weight” is a range of weights that tells you whether YOUR weight is in proportion with YOUR height and gender. But what takes precedence over achieving an Ideal Body Weight is if the range you are targeting is the best for you. That means are you targeting a healthy goal?
When we emphasize on the health aspect we mean to draw your attention towards the fact that your weight is only one measure of your health. A person who is not at a “normal” weight according to BMI charts may be healthy if he or she has healthy eating habits and exercises regularly. Whereas, people who are skinny but don’t exercise or eat nutritious foods aren’t necessarily healthy, just because they are thin. Losing fat and Losing weight don't mean the same thing.
You see the BMI is a very basic calculation which just takes the person’s weight and height into consideration whereas important aspects like the person’s waist, chest or hip measurements are completely ignored. A professional sprinter may have a higher BMI than a generally lazy and inactive person if they have the same height. The major difference will be in the accumulated fat percentage in each of these individuals. While the athlete will have a thinner waist, a low body- fat percentage, a high muscle mass and a healthy body, the inactive person will have a higher body-fat percentage, bigger waist, low muscle mass and an unhealthy body. The BMI calculator will show the inactive person to have a healthier BMI than the athlete. Hence, relying solely on BMI is not going to be a comprehensive approach.
Maintaining a healthy ideal weight not only adds to your overall fitness but it also keeps your susceptibility to various diseases low. An overweight person is at a higher risk of developing serious health issues which range from diabetes to heart ailments. Also, it’s never too late to aim to be at your ideal body weight even if you have been ignoring it till now. If you already have certain problems like a High blood pressure, breathing problems, etc. maintaining a healthy body weight will help you control these diseases and in most cases the symptoms are considerably reduced.
The diseases which especially attack you when you are above or below your Ideal Body Weight are:
- Diabetes (Type 2): The more fat content in your cells and tissues, the more resistant your cells become to insulin. Having Diabetes can also increase your risk of stroke.
- High blood pressure: Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time due to accumulated fat in your arteries, it can damage the body in many ways. Control your high blood pressure through natural means.
- Coronary heart disease: CHD is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart. Plaque can narrow or block the coronary arteries and reduce blood flow to the heart muscle.
- Stroke: Being overweight or obese can lead to a build-up of plaque in your arteries. Eventually, an area of plaque can rupture, causing a blood clot to form. If the clot is close to your brain, it can block the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain and cause a stroke.
- Certain cancers: Being overweight or obese raises your risk for colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder cancers.
- Gall bladder disease: Gallstones are hard pieces of stone-like material that form in the gallbladder. They're mostly made of cholesterol. Gallstones can cause stomach or back pain. People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of having gallstones. Also, being overweight may result in an enlarged gallbladder that doesn't work well.
- Reproductive problems: Obesity can cause menstrual issues and infertility in women.
- Musculoskeletal problems such as osteoarthritis and back pain: Osteoarthritis is a common joint problem of the knees, hips, and lower back. The condition occurs if the tissue that protects the joints wears away. Extra weight can put more pressure and wear on joints, causing pain.
- Gout: If you are overweight, you are putting extra pressure on your joints. This causes chemical changes in your body. Thus, it is believed that an obese person is four times more likely to get gout than a non-obese person.
What You Can Do?
Maintaining a healthy weight is not always easy. The key to success is making changes in daily eating and physical activity habits that can be maintained over one’s lifetime.
Our weight is a result of the combination of the energy one takes in (through foods and beverages) and the energy their body uses (through engaging in physical activity). To lose weight, an individual needs to use more calories than they consume. To maintain a healthy weight, one needs to balance the calories they use with those they take in. Some ways to create a caloric deficit are:
- Spend less time in sedentary activities (e.g., watching television, internet surfing)
- Engage in daily physical activities (e.g., walking, bicycling, gardening, housework)
- Eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce food portion sizes.
An interesting study has highlighted gender difference amongst people trying to reach their ideal body weight. According to a study, women tend to consider ideal weight for their height and age lesser than what is medically recommended. This forces them to resort to yo-yo diets to achieve their target. On the other hand, men tend to lean towards the higher range, and to achieve that they work on building more muscle through supplements or a high protein diet.
You can get your ideal body weight that is specific to your age, body type and lifestyle without having to starve yourself by following the balanced healthy diet and regular workout.