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Healthy weight: What it is and what it isn’t

by Dr Prem Community Writer
Healthy weight

You weigh more than what you did a couple of decades ago. Everybody does. Adding pounds with aging is a common observance. But does that always mean that you are not maintaining a healthy weight?  Again, if you are happy with your weight does that imply you are healthy?

How much is the difference between the two? It is of no use pursuing an unrealistic body image through a rigorous weight loss regime unless you are aware of the meaning of healthy weight. Indeed obesity today is a prime health concern across the globe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declares about 40% of American adults are obese. But with too much emphasis on weight loss nowadays, people are often getting into the conception that thinner the better. This is not acceptable always and it creates unnecessary stress on individuals whose weight may be well within the healthy benchmark.

Healthy weight as portrayed by the fashion industry:

 body image pressurizing the models

Today’s fashion industry is standardizing body image pressurizing the models assume a nearly unfeasible zero size. In a study conducted showed that 62% of selected models were told to reduce weight. They belonged to a study sample which the WHO (World Health Organization) has already declared underweight.

As people are more exposed to modern fashion, media and entertainment industry, they are developing a wrong perception of healthy weight. The National Eating Disorders website says that more than 80% of Americans regularly watch TV that has a serious impact on their psyche driving them to achieve unrealistic body image which at no point can be considered healthy.

One should note that healthy body weight is not:

  • Just a number on the weighing machine
  • A  BMI listed category
  • About specific shape and size
  • Being able to fit into specific sizes of clothes

But it is the natural weight largely determined by genetics and obviously your lifestyle. If you belong to a family of larger or smaller size, it is likely you would be genetically predisposed to these conditions.

Should we ignore BMI?

BMI

It serves as a benchmark of healthy weight giving you a clear definition of obesity. It is good to strive to achieve the best possible mark without fretting and getting frustrated. For this, you need to understand few things:

  • BMI is the overall weight.
  • It does not give a separate measurement of your muscle mass and fat.
  • There is no one-size-fits-for-all weight to keep you healthy. Even if your weight follows the healthy BMI mark, you need to maintain your diet and lifestyle.

7 Telltale signs your body is healthy and happy:

Your BMI reading may not be satisfactory. Social cues are confusing. Dieting is depressive at times. How to assess that you are healthy and hearty? Check out the following signs:

1.     You are maintaining a healthy lifestyle:

eating couple

Despite making your health a priority, the reading on the scale is always on the upper side. Check whether you are following a right diet. Bad and imbalanced diet won’t help in your weight loss.

Maybe your body has reached a stasis implying that you are already in a healthy state. If you are consistent in your eating habits, workouts and stress reduction, chances are high that your body has reached a comfortable weight. People who are active and feel great may have a higher BMI because of their muscle mass.

2.     You are kicking with energy:

Caffeine OverdoseIf you can spend an active day without drowning yourself into too much of caffeine and other stimulating drinks, you are most possibly maintaining a healthy weight. If you have reached your ideal weight, you will feel healthy and energetic.

Whereas being obese will make you sluggish and drained out. A study conducted by the Penn State College of Medicine states that people with healthy weight are less likely to feel daytime sleepiness than obese people.

3.     Your body weight is stable almost near to your target:

body weightYou should be relaxed in this case. Ideal body weight should be a number that can be easily achievable and maintained without too many restrictions. If it is stable for years, your body must be happy in that state. A stable body weight without too many fluctuations is likely to be healthy.

4.     Check your resting heart rate:

heart rateYour resting heart rate can be a determiner of your healthy state. The number of times your heart beats per minute in your resting condition should be your normal heart rate. A low heart rate indicates efficient functioning of the heart while a higher than the normal heart rate may be a warning sign of future heart problem.

The healthy range of heartbeat should be within 60-100; the lower the better which indicates better physical fitness irrespective of your weight.

5.     Your waist measurement is healthy:

diabetesIncrease in abdominal fat means you are at a higher risk of developing heart disease or Type 2 diabetes. For men, the healthy waist circumference should not be more than 40 inches and women should keep it below 35 inches. How to get that exact measure?

Measure your waist just below the belly button with a tape. If the number falls much below the upper limit, you need not worry about your weight loss. If it is at the borderline or crosses the upper limit, you need to take some extra efforts to cut down your weight.

6.     What is your body fat percentage?

fat percentage Most of you will falter in answering this. Even people with normal weight can have more than required body fat percentage which ups their risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases. And the reverse scenario is also true – people seem to look heavier even with a normal body fat constitution.

Therefore, instead of relying on the scale for BMI, it is better to get an analysis of your body fat percentage. American Council for Exercise states, the healthy body fat range for women is 14-31% and for that of men is 6-24%.

7.     You are happy with your looks:

Few experts are of the opinion that what you feel about your appearance indicates your health. If you are happy with your size, then possibly you are maintaining a healthy weight. If not, you may need to work harder. But the feeling should be your own and not influenced by any external social factor.

This is because maintaining a healthy lifestyle makes us happy from within. It gives positive vibes making you feel better. Obviously, this goes a long way in keeping you focused on your lifestyle and weight maintenance.

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