The third week in January is National Healthy Weight Awareness Week. I haven’t been able to discover who originally designated it as such. But I did come across a source that said the week has been observed yearly since 1994.
YOUR Healthy Weight
According to Consumer Health Digest, one of the drivers of Healthy Weight Awareness Week is the understanding that diets don’t work. You achieve a healthy weight, not by punishing yourself through deprivation, but by changing your lifelong relationship with food and exercise: “The main goal of Healthy Weight Week is to create a new meaning to the term ‘healthy weight.’ We should all understand that a healthy weight differs from one person to another depending on several factors like height, bone density, body type, and body composition. We have different body types and compositions which requires a different approach for healthy weight loss.”
If you want to honor Healthy Weight Awareness Week in your own life, you should probably devote at least some part of the week to figuring out what might be the (unique) healthy weight for you. The CDC offers four categories of body mass index (BMI): underweight (BMI below 18.5), normal (18.5-24.9), overweight (25.0-29.9), or obese (30 or more). There’s an online BMI calculator here.
But even BMI is a rather gross measurement for something that should be much more individualized. So you may want to consider ideal bodyweight (IBW). IBW was a concept developed by pharmaceutical companies for calculating medication dosage. It has been refined several times, and there are at least four versions. This page provides a calculator that will render all four at once. The IBW calculator goes beyond height and weight to add age.
The Many Factors of Ideal Weight
But even IBW is only the beginning. In addition to height, weight, and age, you should find a way to factor in body type. There’s a pretty good rundown of the three basic body types (ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph) at bodybuilding.com. Once you know your body type, you need to understand your body frame. Body frame refers to whether you are large- or small-boned, and you determine it by measuring your wrists and the breadth of your elbows. There is a guide on the Livestrong site.
Now that you have examined your height, weight, age, body type, and frame size, you are in a much better position to know your ideal weight. You’re still in for some research, since nobody has ever created a formula or even a rule of thumb that combines all those factors. But the research will be time well spent, because it will be time in which you get better acquainted with your body, which should influence your expectations of it. And that’s what Healthy Weight Week is all about.
Getting to the Ideal
Once you have determined your ideal weight, you need to figure out how to achieve it over the long term. That means understanding your metabolic rate and how it relates to your activity level and nutrition plan. Peak may be able to help with that. Our nutrition planning service can measure your metabolic rate, scan your body to determine its composition, and plan your nutrition based on dietary restrictions, food preferences, and even travel schedule. It may well be the most scientific method you can use to achieve your ideal weight.
Photo: “Body Image. The subjective concept of one’s physical appearance based on self-observation and the reactions of others.” by Charlotte Astrid is licensed under CC BY 2.0