It seems like almost every day we’re bombarded with messages and advertisements encouraging us to lose weight. And with nearly three-quarters of Americans overweight or obese, it can be difficult to know who really needs to lose weight.
The many charts and graphs and calculators available online can be useful, but with so much information knowing what’s healthy and what’s not isn’t always easy. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we can help.
At Wrinkle Fairy with offices in Chicago, Oakbrook, Arlington Heights, and Naperville, Illinois, Leslie Forrester, APRN, and our care team understand how confusing it can be to know what constitutes a healthy weight. We’ve put together this informative guide to help you get the information you need.
What is a healthy body weight?
A healthy body weight is a weight at which your body functions at its best. At a healthy body weight, your body can effectively and efficiently protect itself against disease and illness, and it can carry out your daily activities without trouble.
While cultural and social beauty standards may differ around the world, healthy body weight stays the same. You can consider three factors together to determine what weight is healthiest for your body: body mass index (BMI), body shape, and percent body fat.
Body mass index
Body mass index, or BMI, determines healthy body weight using your height and weight. According to the BMI chart, a healthy body weight falls in the BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9. If you have a BMI of 25-29.9, you’re considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese.
While knowing your BMI is useful, it alone can’t tell you if you’re at a healthy weight. This is because BMI doesn’t take into account your muscle mass, age, and whether or not you’re pregnant. It’s best to use BMI as one useful piece of the healthy weight puzzle.
Knowing your body shape is key to understanding healthy body weight because the location where you carry excess fat directly impacts your health.
People with an “apple” shape tend to carry extra fat around the middle, putting them at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and certain types of cancer compared to people who are “pear” shaped.
The best way to know your shape is by calculating your waist to hip ratio. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement to get this number. The pear shape is a ratio of 0.80 for women and 0.90 for men.
You can also use your waist measurement alone to determine your risk. More than 31.5 inches for women and more than 37 inches for men is considered higher risk and unhealthy.
Percent body fat
Finally, a healthy weight also includes your percent body fat. You need fat to help your body function. When it’s too low, you lose the ability to fight off diseases and your energy levels drop. When it’s too high, your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other health problems increases.
While it’s difficult to get an exact measurement of your percent body fat, an estimate using a scale or calipers can be useful. Ranges of normal body fat percentages differ based on age and gender. Generally speaking, a healthy range for women is between 21-36%, and a healthy range for men is between seven-25%.
By taking these three factors into account, you can better determine what healthy body weight is for you.
What about stubborn pockets of fat?
Contrary to what you may think, when you’re at a healthy body weight it can be more difficult than ever to get rid of stubborn pockets of fat. Since you don’t need to lose weight, your body doesn’t burn the excess fat, making it stick no matter how much you diet or exercise.
Body contouring with CoolSculpting® helps your treatment specialist at Wrinkle Fairy sculpt your figure by freezing targeted cells in deposits of stubborn fat. The FDA-cleared treatment is noninvasive and only requires a gel pad and applicator to get the result you desire.
CoolSculpting’s cold temperatures break down fat cells quickly and safely, and your body removes the destroyed fat cells with other cellular waste. Studies show an average 20-25% reduction in fat after treatment.
As long as you stay at a healthy body weight, you get long-lasting results since your body can’t grow new fat cells. If you do gain weight, the remaining fat cells in other areas of your body will expand.
Ready to look and feel your best? Contact the aesthetic expertise at the Wrinkle Fairy office nearest you and schedule a consultation now.