Ruly Tip: Calculate Your Optimum Health Weight Range

Ruly Tip: Calculate Your Optimum Health Weight Range
Vice Pres. Coolidge and House Speaker Gillett exercising in House gym. Jan. 31, 1923.  From the National Photo Company Collection at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Vice Pres. Coolidge and House Speaker Gillett exercising in House gym. Jan. 31, 1923. From the National Photo Company Collection at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

When it comes to what weight we “should” be, most of the advice we seem to get from the general media tells us that we need to pick our own weight goals, a weight that feels comfortable for us. A recent article I read in The Washington Post indicates that medically this advice is too squishy and inaccurate. Science has calculated exactly where our weight should be for optimum health.

“Being as lean as possible and maintaining a healthy weight are key components of cancer prevention. People should aim for body mass index (BMI) score of 18.5 to 24.9 according to the American Cancer Society.”

–Suzanne Allard Levingston, “New evidence on how weight, diet and exercise can help reduce cancer risk,” The Washington Post, February 18, 2014

For your own health benefit, you should at least know what this healthy weight range is for you. You can use this BMI calculator at WebMD to learn what your 18.5 – 24.9 BMI weight range is, as well as your target heart rate for exercise and calorie counts for your weight goals.

I ran the calculator for myself and my husband. It is interesting to me to note that these weight ranges, which allow about a 40 pound range for women and 50 pounds for men, seem to be the most accurate at the lower end for people with slender bone frames and at the higher end for people with denser bone frames.

My weight ranges look accurate to me, although the heavier end of my range would be quite heavy on me and the lower end very slender but not anorexic. For my husband who has a denser bone structure, the low end of his weight range seems completely unrealistic and way too skinny. He would literally be a walking skeleton at the low end of his weight range, weighing 25 pounds less than he did in high school. The realistic portion for his weight range is more like a 25 pound range from the high end. If you are confused by your recommended weight range, definitely consult your doctor for guidance.

Once you know your healthy weight range, find some way to write it down to remind you, such as:

  1. Program it into any electronic method of weight record keeping you are using.
  2. Write it down in a weight journal or notebook.
  3. Mark the numbers on your bathroom scale.

If you are way above your desired weight range, don’t let this knowledge depress you. I have found that when I am facing a goal I find challenging but want to accomplish I tell myself that I will get there someday, somehow, even if I have no idea how I will do that today. Then I try to make very small changes that get me at least one step closer toward where I want to be. With my own weight loss, these changes have included exercising almost every day, fasting two days per week, trying to drink water or hot herbal tea when I feel hungry and trying to eat less sugar (although that last one is one I am still not very successful at).

If it is too overwhelming to think of losing weight, recent research suggests that if you make a goal to just maintain your current weight and not gain any more, you are more likely to be successful and keep your weight stable.

Did you check your desired weight range? Does it look realistic to you? Please share in the comments.