One of our main concerns when starting a weight-loss program is how much weight should we lose to achieve our “ideal weight”. Though there are several indexes and formulas to calculate everyone’s ideal weight, they might not be as reliable as we think. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

The most famous of all indexes, the BMI is a measure of body fat based on height, weight, and age that applies to adult men and women. Though there’s a specific formula to calculate your BMI number, you can try in many calculator websites to find it out. Following is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended body weight based on BMI values for adults.

However this index is not truly reliable, since it doesn’t consider the wide variety of body types, nor the distribution of muscle and bone mass. Besides, it may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build, and underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle.

Waist Circumference

The measure of your waist size is considered a clear signal of the risks that come with overweight and obesity. If your waist size is greater than 35 inches (80 cm) for women (not pregnant) or greater than 40 inches (94 cm) for men, you’re at higher risk to develop heart conditions and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, abdominal fat is directly linked with high bad cholesterol that can clog arteries and lead to heart attack.

Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHtR)

This ratio has become very popular lately since it’s easier to calculate than BMI, it works for any race, age, or gender; and you don’t even need a measuring tape or scale to use it. Its motto reads: “Keep your waist to less than half your height”. That means that if you are 5’5” (1.65 m) your waistline should be smaller than 33 in (84 cm).

One of the advantages of this method over the BMI is that the WHtR may give a more accurate assessment of health for serious athletes, especially body builders, who have a higher percentage of muscle and a lower percentage of body fat, or for women who have a “pear” rather than an “apple” shape.

Body Fat Percentage

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (September 2000) published a study showing that body-fat percentage may be a better measure of your risk of weight-related diseases than BMI. There are several methods to measure your body fat; here at Forma Vital we use the bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), which is a rather simple method which differentiates between fat mass and fat-free mass.

According to Health Check Systems, The American Council on Exercise has categorized the range of body fat percentages as follows:

As you have seen, there are meaningful limitations to all the formulas and indexes to calculate the ideal weight, mostly due to the simplicity of calculations: they only factor in weight, height, and gender. None of them consider physical disabilities, extreme ends of the spectrum, activity levels, or muscle mass to body fat ratio, which is the real, visible body composition.

Therefore, if you’ve made your mind on achieving a healthy weight, we strongly recommend to contact a professional who can help you reach your goal in the healthiest possible way. #DecideItNow