The Whole Weight Thing

I feel like when people hear the word health, they immediately either think of some extreme diseases or losing weight.  This blog is all about the full circle of exploring being more healthy and includes so many things other than weight.

But weight is still a part of it.

Being a healthy weight is so important for so many reasons.  I’ve already talked about body image and how weight plays a role and of course, being physically fit is so important.  For me, being at a healthy weight will also play a role in the coming years as we would like to start a family.  The dangers of being overweight and pregnant are just scary and I want to do everything possible to ensure if and when we have a baby it will be as healthy as possible.  Plus, I already have issues with my joints and extra weight puts wear and tear on them that I really don’t need.

But the whole perception of what a healthy weight is has just gotten out of hand.  Sure, there are indexes that seem scientific, like Body Mass Index, or imaging that actually measures how much % of fat you have around your body.  I really don’t like those and here’s why.

People are always shocked when I tell them how much I weigh.  I guess with my height, I wear it wellish? Regardless, I currently weight 188 lbs.

According to the BMI (I used this one at the National Heart and Lung Association Website), my percentage of fat is: 24.1.

24 is right on the edge between normal and obese for women and frankly is probably about right.  That’s about where I feel.

Similar machine to the one that scanned me

However, about a year back I participated in a study at my school where they included a free analysis of our body fat, including one of those fancy images of my legs that they use to calculate body fat percentage (DEXA scan).  The results shocked me.  According to that image, my body was made up of 40% fat.   I was shocked, because I knew I had let myself go a little bit and gained some weight after a pretty depressing period in my life, but 40%?  Well into the obese range, coming up on the morbidly obese range according to their analysis.  And I didn’t look bad or weigh what I do now.  I actually only weighed 175 at the time.

However, none of these reflect or guided me to a healthy body weight.  According to the BMI charts, I am in a normal healthy weight range.  But according to that same index, I would also be a healthy weight if I weighed 145, which is laughable.  I would be a skeleton.  Yes, I know, BMI is a general index with lots of limitations, but it is remarkable how many people and doctors rely on that number to determine their healthy weight.   For me, a healthy weight is not being able to see my hip bones or rib cage on one end and then not having my thighs rub together on the other, and then also about a general feeling.  It is about finding a healthy balance between the amount of fat, muscle, and other things in your body as well.  When you are at a weight where you feel your healthiest, you just know.

The imaging chart was a little more discouraging.  I don’t think it really had anything to do with weight, but rather pointed out that my physical well being outside of weight really needs to be a factor.  I can’t focus on just losing weight or cardio health.  It is critical to lose fat AND build muscle.  Duh, right?  But sometimes it takes being shown an image of your fat that is crushing your internal organs to wake up.

For me a healthy weight falls about at 165-170 while being “toned” all over and that is where I am trying to get to slowly, while improving all other aspects of my health as well.  How about you?  No need for numbers, if you aren’t comfortable, but can you tell what your healthy body weight is?

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