August 2014

By Jane Sylvestre, RD - 8/10/2014

What Should I Weigh?

When first meeting with a patient, I always ask if they have a weight in mind that they would like to achieve.  This can be a very scary question.  Many don’t know how to answer this.  I am sure they are thinking, “What is she looking for?”  “What should I weigh? what weight do I feel good at?” What weight makes me healthy? 

 Patients often bring up the term “Ideal Body Weight.”  Most patients feel that “Ideal Weights” are ridiculously low and unachievable. I have heard such statements as “I haven’t been that weight since I was playing football in high school or since I was ten!   I have to say that I totally agree.  These weights are based on life insurance recommended values from years ago.  For women, an ideal weight is 100# for the first 5 feet, then 5# for each inch over 5 feet.  For men, the ideal weight is 106# for the first 5 feet, then 6 pounds for each inch over 5 feet.  This means that a woman who is 5’3” should only weight 115 pounds.  How crazy is that? 

We tend to go by Body Mass Index (BMI) in our office because it is the most easily calculated and accepted value without having to do underwater weighing or other inaccessible methods.  The BMI is a calculation using one’s height and weight.  Your can figure out your BMI on our website at www.massweightloss.com .   This is not a perfect value either.  This number does not take into consideration bone mass.   It doesn’t decipher between fat mass and muscle mass.  Someone who is very muscular and fit may present themselves with a high BMI.   BMI does not look at the location of fat distribution either.  Fat distribution around the stomach is much less desirable because it is closer to the vital organs.  That’s the apple shape.  The pear shape would put a person at a lower health risk.   Needless to say we also use some professional judgment when evaluating one’s BMI.

Here is how you can interpret your BMI.

BMI

Weight Status

Below 18.5

Underweight

18.5-24.9

Normal

25.0-29.9

Overweight

30.0-39.9

Obese

40.0 and above

Morbidly obese

 

Don’t be alarmed if you fall into the obese or morbidly obese category.  In order to qualify for weight loss surgery you must be assessed as “morbidly obese” or obese and have a BMI of 35 with a comorbidity.  These terms sound terrible, but look around you.  One in three Americans are at least obese;   actually, 34.9% bases on the Center for Disease Control.   Our goal is to get everyone to a healthier weight weather that means getting you into the obese category overweight or normal weight.  Once we hit that first goal, we can set some additional goals until you are healthy and fit. 

Consider using a measuring tape and keep track of your bust, waist, chest and hips.  Check out:  www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1281 for a more detailed description on how to take such measurements.  Sometimes when you start exercising and improving your diet, you don’t always see the numbers change on the scale right away, but you may find your measurements changing.  This can help increase your motivation! 

Once patients start to lose weight, they often could care less what the scale says.  Patients are often happy to have improved health, no longer suffer with diabetes, get off their medications, fit in their clothes better or even just be able to tie their shoes.  Sometimes, some simple pleasures mean so much more than what the scale says.  Celebrate these successes too!

SO, forget about the Ideal Weight, use BMI as a general guide, but focus mostly on how you feel and how healthy you are! 

My next class is on the “Vegetarian Diet on August 14th at 6:30 pm. Call the office or e-mail me at janesylvestre@massweightloss.com to register.  

Get in touch!

(508) 668-4400
info@massweightloss.com

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