Weight is a funny thing. It’s just a number on a scale. But it is often how we judge ourselves. For so many that number is what determines if they feel good or bad about themselves.
I had one woman tell me she doesn’t weigh herself because if the number is “good” she uses it as an excuse to reward herself with unhealthy food and if it is “bad” it is a reason to give up, and binge eat.
Weight is one point of data; useful certainly but not the be-all-and-end-all. I think most of us know if we are within a healthy weight or not. I have also discovered that most people have no clue what a healthy weight human looks like.
It is shocking to me how many of our clients (and me included) have been skinny-shamed. Told by friends, loved ones, acquaintances and even perfect strangers that we are “too thin,” “look gaunt,” “shouldn’t lose anymore weight,” or asked in a hushed tone, “are you sick?”
When a client comes to me with this concern, there are a few resources I always share to ease their mind that they are, indeed, on the right track and that “concerned” individuals are used to seeing people carrying more than a few extra pounds and they don’t know what they are talking about.
There are 100s of BMI (body mass index) calculators out there so you can just google it if you don’t know yours. It will tell you if you fall in-line with what “they” (whoever they are in this case) deem healthy.
It is a SUPER rough data point.
Drawbacks of BMI – no variation for men/women, large/medium/small frames, athletes/couch potatoes. So, take what it says with a grain of salt.
Because I am tall and have a small frame, I barely make the cutoff for being healthy on the low end. Because Russ isn’t as tall and carries a lot of muscle mass, he barely makes the cutoff for being healthy on the top end.
Met Life Weight Formula
This is the formula I have “always” (well as long as I can remember) used for figuring out ideal weight. I don’t know where I first learned about it and didn’t know it was the “Met Life Formula” until I started researching for this article.
Most people calculate their “ideal weight” and freak out that they would look like a skeleton at the weight it spits out for them. But, Met Life is a life insurance company. It is in their best interest (for profit margin) to have really good data for the weight at which people are most likely to live the longest.
I’m not saying this number has to be your weight goal. As always, I’m just putting the data out there for your consideration. Here’s how it works:
Women with a medium frame (how to determine your frame is below):
Start with 100 pounds. Add five pounds for every inch above 5 feet in height.
Example: a medium framed woman who is 5’5” would have an ideal weight of 125 pounds.
Men with a medium frame:
Start with 106 pounds. Add six pounds for every inch above 5 feet in height.
Example: a medium framed man who is 5’11 would have an ideal weight of 172 pounds.
Variation +/- up to 10% for large or small frames.
Frame size is determined by encircling your wrist with your thumb and first finger.
If they touch: medium frame.
If there is a gap: large frame.
If they overlap: small frame.
This isn’t exact science but it will give you a general idea.
Fuhrman Longevity Formula
Dr Joel Fuhrman, author of the book Eat to Live and the creator of the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index has a slightly different calculation:
Women: Start with 95 pounds and add four pounds for every inch over 5 feet in height.
Example: A woman who is 5’5” would have an ideal weight of 115 pounds
Men: Start with 100 pounds and add five pounds for every inch over 5 feet in height.
Example: A man who is 5’11” would have an ideal weight of 155 pounds.
Interestingly, in searching Dr Fuhrman’s website today I could not find any mention of his formula or information about if he allows for variation for different size frames. His calculation is about 10% less than the Met Life formula, meaning it lines up with the bottom of their small frame allowance.
Waist to height ratio
A 2012 study found that keeping your waist circumference at less than half of your height can help increase life expectancy. So our 5’5” woman would ideally have a waist measurement less than 32.5” and our 5’11” man would have a waist measurement less than 35.5”
They don’t provide a bottom number so it doesn’t help much with the “you’re too thin” issue.
As I mentioned above, I am NOT sharing this with you so you can start judging yourself by an ideal number calculated by any of these methods.
I am sharing them because as you start providing your body with the nutrients it needs and reducing the processed and not-so-good-for-you food-stuffs we’ve been programed to eat, your body will start heading for its ideal weight.
And as you approach it the people in your life might start “worrying” about you. Having the data points to share so they can stop the worrying (nagging, judging, annoying) might prove to be helpful for you as they have for me and several of our clients.
To have a conversation about the where you are in your health journey and how to move forward, book a Jump Start Consultation with me (Dr Robyn) by clicking here today.
Dr Robyn is a former competitive volleyball player turned psychologist with continuing education in nutrition. Russ is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour. They are the co-founders of Whole Food Muscle and the authors of How to Feed a Human The Whole Food Muscle Way. To work with them one on one to improve your health and fitness or to have them speak at your event or organization email them at Health@RnRJourney.com.