Do you know your ideal weight? I’ll challenge that you don’t. What you may have is a number in your head based on a body composition you didn’t know when you were at that weight.
What we have is an ideal body comp0sition. We have an ideal waist-to-hip ratio. We have a waist circumference that is healthy or on the side that lends itself to greater health issues.
Ideal weight, however? That’s not an easy or desirable goal.
For most women the number on the scale won’t give you the toned energetic body you want to do the things you love to do.
It will leave you a slave to the scale and rob you of energy and make you ignorant of the things that really matter.
Just as my friend JJ Virgin will say, it’s not the calories you eat, it’s what those calories do to your hormones, I say, it’s not the calories you burn it’s what those calories do to your hormones.
You are much better off tracking your body composition.
To get a better idea of what you’re made of, lean muscle, fat or adipose tissue, and bone, you want to track your body composition. Simply, that is your percent body fat. But more sophisticated measures allow you to understand even more about left and right limbs and trunk and visceral fat numbers.
For the basics, never buy a scale for your home again that doesn’t measure body fat as well as weight. I have two I recommend and will link to where to find them.
Many women get concerned about whether it’s right or not. There are a lot of reasons it can be off. If a scale is off dramatically it’s a problem. But a scale that is not calibrated perfectly is not the problem as long as you weigh pre and post on that scale. You want to measure change. Is it going in the right direction?
Is that right?
Knowing with absolute certainty is not the issue, especially if you didn’t know yesterday or last week what it was. You have a benchmark to track – two of them. You watch weight and the body fat. If weight goes down and body fat stays the same or increases, you are losing muscle and girlfriend, we have a problem.
If you lose muscle now long term you set yourself up for weight regain, due to a slowed metabolism. The “skinny fat” situation now leads to frailty later. Don’t choose your skinny jeans over your next 40 years. Can you have both? I don’t know that. Shoot for health. You can find the flattering fashion trend that suits you along the way.
Body Fat Numbers to Know
Instead of ideal weight, focus on these numbers and understand what they represent.
Your waist circumference becomes a health risk if it’s 35 or greater for women. (for men it’s 40 inches). The risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease increases significantly. If you’re a midlife woman who is gaining weight in the belly, it’s not just not desirable and irritating to lose that hourglass shape, you’ve got a serious health motivator.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI by the way is often used by doctors but does not tell the whole story. The simple weight to height ratio goes wrong for athletic bodies with more muscle mass especially for those who are vertically challenged. And it will underestimate fat for those who have lost muscle.
A BMI calculation gives you a rating of underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.
Waist to Hip ratio (WTH ratio)
A healthy WTH ratio (according to World Health Organization – WHO) is .85 or less for women. I prefer to see women at .80 or less which is low risk.
Waist-to-Hip ratio leaves much room for error due to the fact you’re measuring two times with room to not be at the exact right spot, not be parallel to the floor all around, or to be holding the tension exactly similar. A simple waist circumference is preferred to a WTH measure.
But all the way around, know your numbers.
How to Measure & Determine WTH
Waist-to-Hip ratio is taken by measuring the smallest area around your waist and the largest area around your hips. Divide waist by your hip circumference to find the ratio.
Chasing Your Ideal Weight?
No woman I’ve ever worked with in 36 years who has chased a weight, or reached an ideal weight, has been happy doing it, or happy once she reached it. Once she reaches it she’s constantly in fear of losing it. She’s a slave to a scale, to points, to calories, to counting, and can and can’t haves. In my opinion it’s no way to live.
The problem isn’t the weight or reaching your ideal weight. It’s why you want and need to and what you think is going to happen when you do.