What is my healthy body weight?
Weight loss is something on the minds of many these days. We are, in fact, in the midst of a major national health problem with 35.1% of adults who are obese, and 69% who are overweight, including obesity. Those are alarming statistics. Being overweight or obese increases the prevalence of many chronic diseases. The more you weigh, the more likely you are to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, breast cancer, colon cancer, and other certain cancers. On the other hand, maintaining a healthy weight has many benefits. In addition to lowering your risk of disease, a healthy weight brings vitality, energy, and self-confidence that make you feel good about yourself. With a healthy body weight and renewed energy, you may find yourself experiencing new things and living a full life.
Sometimes, a healthy body weight can get distorted by idolizing others with very low, unhealthy body weights. So, what is your healthy body weight?
We can determine this with two simple methods.
Body Fat and BMI.
• Body fat can be measured by several methods. It is a measure of what % of your body weight is composed of Fat Mass compared to your Fat Free Mass.
• BMI is a measure of your body’s surface area. It is your Weight/Height2. Fat takes up a larger volume so it is assumed that if your surface area is larger, you are overweight or obese.
• Body Fat
o A healthy body fat range for women is 20-32%
o A healthy body fat range for men is 10-22%
o Once you know your body fat %, we can calculate a healthy target body weight for you. Contact Heather Flebbe.
• BMI – Calculate your BMI using this link: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm
o Underweight: BMI < 18.5. Being underweight can lead to heart and reproductive problems. Gain weight to achieve at least a BMI of 18.5.
o Normal weight: BMI = 18.5–24.9. You are in the HEALTHY weight range. Great! Try to maintain your body weight by continuing healthy eating and exercising.
o Overweight: BMI = 25–29.9. Do not gain any weight. Have your risk factors for disease assessed and modify your behaviors to reduce your risk.
o Obese: BMI = 30 or greater. You need to lose weight. Lose weight slowly—about ½ to 2 pounds a week. See your doctor or a nutritionist if you need help. Or, add more Cycleup days to your routine.
o Follow this link to find the body weight that will move you into the Normal Weight Range. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmi_tbl.pdf
BMI will overestimate in individuals with higher muscle mass and underestimate in the elderly.
If weight loss is necessary to achieve your healthy body weight range, the best method to lose weight and body fat is to combine exercise and healthy eating.
HEALTHY EATING does not consist of starvation methods. Healthy eating includes behavior changes that can be maintained for life.
• Every meal should emphasize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
• Add lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts to your plant products above
• A healthy plate is low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars
• Portion sizes should be controlled
Increased portion sizes are a significant contributor to our weight gain. Portion sizes have increased throughout the years and our perception of what is filling has become distorted. Transition to smaller portion sizes by using smaller dinner plates and ordering only half the portions when eating out. Share meals with friends or pack up half the plate before consuming the other half and make 2 meals out of 1! And TRACK YOUR CALORIES! My favorite app is My Fitness Pal. It is important to achieve a balance between calorie intake and calorie output.
MOVE YOUR BODY! The more you move your body, the more energy we expend. At the end of the day, that higher energy expenditure aids weight loss by increasing our metabolism, increasing lean body mass, and utilizing our stored fat reserves.
Set goals for your daily physical activity.
• 30 min a day, every day, is recommended to improve health and quality of life
• Get out and walk the dog with your family
• Meet a friend for a Hike rather than coffee
• Ride your bike to dinner or the movies
• Take stairs rather than elevators
• Get up out of your chair every hour at work and walk a lap around the building
• Book your bike at Cycleup! 3-4 days a week.
Set goals for nutritional behavior changes.
• Eat out less during the week
• Plan meals and lunches that are prepared ahead of time
• Track your calories on My Fitness Pal
• Drink more water and replace your sodas, juices, starbucks, etc. • Add more fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks
• Try new recipes and cook at home more often.
These are my favorite recipe sites:
Most importantly, live life and live it to the fullest! A healthy body weight should bring joy and adventure to your life. When an unrealistic body weight becomes an obsession, we start to lose the joy of health. Make sure your body weight goals are realistic, achievable, and maintainable.
Let CYCLEUP help you achieve your healthy body weight goals! Get in and RIDE BABY RIDE and you will LOSE BABY LOSE! Look forward to joining our next Cycleup and Weigh Down in the Fall.
Heather Flebbe, M.S., ACSM holds her Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology and is a lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles. Heather also presents for the American College of Sports Medicine certification workshops. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.