Monday, January 11, 2010

How Much Weight Should I Lose?

As I mentioned before, I need to lose 72lbs. However, it just came to my attention that I never told everyone out there how I came to that conclusion. Well, there are many ways to calculate your ideal weight. I personally like the BMI method as it is the most widely used method. Here’s how it works:

You calculate your BMI by plugging your weight a height into a simple equation:

BMI = weight in kg/ (height in metres)(height in metres)

Remember that there are 2.2 lbs in one kg, 0.025m in one inch and 0.305m in one foot. Once you calculate your BMI, you categorize yourself as follows:

A BMI less than 18.5 means you're underweight
A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 means you're normal
A BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 means you're overweight
A BMI between 30.0 and 34.9 means you're obese
A BMI between 35.0 and 39.9 means you're morbidly obese
A BMI of over 40 means you're extremely obese

Knowing what category you fall into is usually a good wake up call. But what we really want to know is what our ideal weight should be. A BMI of 21 is usually considered ideal because it is the midpoint of the normal BMI range. Now we can use this ideal BMI to calculate our ideal weight:

Ideal Weight = 21(height in metres)(height in metres)

Even though the BMI method is simple and practical, it does have some limitations. One big limitation is that it does not take into account your body composition. For example, athletes will often be categorized as obese, even though they are in top shape, because most of their body consists of muscle mass which weights considerably more than fat. So, if you have a very muscular and lean body, this might not be the best tool to use.

There are other tools to determine your ideal weight. Weight-height charts, frame size-height charts and age charts are just some examples. They all have their pros and cons. None of them are perfect. Nonetheless, your ideal weight should be around the same regardless of the method or tool used to calculate it but be ready to adjust. For example, if your ideal weight turned out to be 120lbs according to a weight-height chart but you feel and look great at 130 lbs, it’s ok to stop your weight loss at 130 lbs. We are all different and none these methods cannot possibly take into account so many differences. They are great as starting points but don’t forget to listen to your body as you go along.

Now that you know what your ideal weight should be, it's time to set some weight loss goals.

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