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How to Choose Your Ideal Weight

If you are trying to find your ideal weight, you should know that there is no one number that fits everyone for their ideal body weight. Losing weight and choosing your ideal weight is a sort of balancing act between what you think you want, what is a realistic weight for you individually, and what is considered a healthy weight by health care professionals and the American Medical Association.

Realistic Expectations

Just because you were a size 2 and 110 pounds in high school, it doesn’t mean that your ideal weight is or should be 110 pounds. If you are trying to achieve what you think is your ideal weight without much success, you are probably setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Sometimes your ideal weight might seem bigger than what you want to look like, but you might feel healthier, not to mention happier by not constantly fighting with your body.

Your Set Point

Everyone has what health care professionals call a “set point.” This set point is the weight range that your body falls into naturally with a range of 10 pounds in either direction. Your set point is partially determined by genetics and partially by your lifestyle. For example, an elite male runner might have a set point of 130 pounds, which would be ideal for him to perform at the level required for him. However, if you are an average athletic male, your set point would probably be 30 to 40 pounds heavier, and it would be almost impossible for you to get down to 130 without extreme measures.

Healthy Weight Range

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most widely used tool to find an individual’s healthy weight range. Again, it should be noted that there is a range for a reason. Even if you are in the “healthy range” according to BMI standards, you might feel and look better if you weighed less or more. While a BMI of 18 to 25 is considered healthy, studies show that the “healthiest” individuals have a BMI of 20 to 22, demonstrated by the increase in mortality in individuals with BMI lower than 20 and higher than 22. If you don’t know your BMI, you can find a BMI calculator on the American Medical Association Website or you can discuss your BMI with your doctor.

Ultimately choosing your "ideal weight" comes down to what feels healthiest for you. Sometimes finding your ideal weight can take some trial and error to find the best range for you. Achieving your ideal weight can also take a long time depending on how much weight your need to gain or lose. When you find your ideal weight, you should be able to maintain it with relative ease and not gain or lose more than five pound in either direction.

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