How Do You Define it?
Many may define their personal “healthy weight” strictly by the scale, others by the mirror, and some by how they feel. Which is correct? Maybe all of the above! How do you feel about your weight? Are you comfortable with how you look and feel? Do you have the energy to pursue your daily activities and hobbies? Do you miss out on events with family and friends because your weight hinders your participation? Do you like the way your clothes fit and/or the style of clothing you have as choices? Your feelings and emotions regarding your body size may be accurate or they may be skewed by perceptions from Hollywood about what “normal” size looks like.
According to My Calculations…
If your body weight is preventing you from participating in the activities of daily life, it is time to look at more objective data. One of the easiest ways to look at a healthy weight is to calculate body mass index. It is measured by your weight divided by height squared. A quick Google search for a BMI calculator will enable you to input your height and weight. The normal range for most people is 18.5-24.9. Anything less than 18.5 is considered underweight. The BMI range for overweight is 25-29.9 and for obesity is a BMI over 30. For the majority of people, this is a good estimate of how their body weight may affect their health. For athletes, this calculation may be skewed due to their high muscle mass. For this population, a calculation of body fat percentage may be more accurate. The problem with excess body weight, in addition to the way you look and feel about yourself, is that it puts you at risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, joint problems and cancer (WebMD). Unfortunately, years of carrying excess weight usually takes its toll later in life.
Healthy Lifestyle. Finally, it is essential to look at your habits. Are your habits conducive to a healthy lifestyle? Will they promote weight loss and weight maintenance or will they eventually lead to weight gain? How much processed food is part of your daily intake? How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you regularly consume? How many sodas do you drink per day? Water? Dairy servings? How often do you cook versus eat out in restaurants? Do you participate in regular exercise or physical activity? Regardless of your weight now, poor dietary and activity habits will usually lead to weight gain which may lead to chronic disease. It has been shown that diets do not work. People can lose weight through a temporary change of dietary intake and exercise but unless those changes become a permanent part of a healthy lifestyle, they will not benefit long term. Actually, gaining the weight back may lead to feelings of failure, poor self-image, and apathy toward adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Tips and Tricks for a Healthy Weight
So what essential habits help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight?
- Eat real food. Try to eat as many foods that have a short ingredient list—Lean meat, fruits and vegetables, and dairy.
- Cook your own food. It is difficult to regularly consume restaurant foods and not over-consume calories.
- Avoid junk food. Processed foods usually have long ingredient lists with additives that you cannot pronounce.
- Drink water as your beverage of choice.
- Control portion sizes. Large portions of healthy foods may still exceed caloric requirements.
- Get enough sleep.
- Manage your stress and avoid stress eating.
- Know yourself. What are the triggers that drive you to overeat or make poor food choices?
- Find the balance. Life is tough and full of situations that make healthy eating difficult. Do the best that you can in those situations then resume your healthy habits.So whether you judge your healthy weight by the scale, the mirror or how you feel, it is important to make sure you maintain healthy habits. With healthy habits comes a healthy lifestyle!