How Much Should I Weigh: The Standards for Men and Women

by Josh | Last Updated:  August 28, 2020
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Did you know that you unquestionably need body fat to stay alive? In fact, the fat cells are so essential for your body that even an average-sized female must have at least 1000,000 calories of fat to survive.

You all must have dreamt about having the ideal weight. But what is your perfect weight? You’ll be shocked to know that a generalized chart can’t exactly show you your healthy weight.

The ideal of any individual depends on several factors. These factors include:

How to Calculate Your Ideal Weight?

Calculating your Body Mass Index is the most common method to ascertain your ideal weight range. But who loves calculations, right? Don’t worry!

Many online Body Mass Index calculators make it effortless to calculate BMI. These calculators work on a specific formula that takes your height and weight into consideration, before generating your ideal weight range.

What is BMI?

Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a rough calculation of body fat based on your height and weight. Body Mass Index isn’t the direct representation of the body fat present in your body.

It just uses a formula to give you an approximate value. BMI is used to determine if an individual is healthy, overweight, underweight, or obese.

A high BMI is an indication of more body fat that can lead to various diseases caused by obesity such as high blood pressure, coronary diseases, and diabetes. A low BMI is also not a good sign as it can lead to malnutrition, bone loss, anemia, and decreased immunity.

Despite Its advantages in screening the body weight problems in adults as well as in children, it still has its limitations.

The Body Mass Index can overestimate the quantity of body fat present in athletes and other individuals with muscular frame size.

It is also known to underestimate the number of fat cells in the elderly or in the individuals that are rapidly losing their muscle mass.

Therefore, it does provide you with a range that is the closest to your ideal weight, however,your age also plays a crucial role in deciding whether it is suitable for you or not.

Blue weigh scales with measuring tape on orange background - How Much Should I Weigh

How to Calculate Your Body Mass Index?

As mentioned before, BMI is calculated by a simple formula using an individual’s height and weight. The formula suggests dividing a person’s weight by the square of his stature.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided two different online BMI calculators. One is for children and teens, and the other calculates only for adults.

To calculate BMI, all you have to do is enter your height and weight. After your BMI gets generated, you can interpret your results with the help of the calculator’s status charts.

The formula and process of calculating the Body Mass Index are the same for everyone. However, the interpretation of results can vary according to your sex and age. Generally, your Body Mass Index gets interpreted on the following scale:

The Drawbacks of Body Mass Index

The calculation of your ideal weight depends on several factors. However, the calculation process of the Body Mass Index usually disregards them. It is so simple that it can often produce inaccurate results.

Whether you are healthy or overweight does not only depend on your weight and height. This is why using BMI to check your ideal weight can have its own drawbacks.

Here are some things that can go wrong with this BMI formula:

The Amount of Muscle in Your Body

Your BMI is inaccurate if you have more or higher amounts of muscle in your body. It can show a very high BMI value even though you are healthy.

Moreover, individuals with low muscular content can have low Body Mass Index, even when the number of fat cells is more than necessary.

Your Frame Size

A larger framed person may always get an incorrect BMI. Completely disregarding the person’s body shape and frame, the result will always be high.

You may be completely healthy, and still, the number of BMI will show that you are overweight.

Sex

The ideal weight range cannot be the same for both sexes. The body shape and structure of males and females are different, causing females always to have more fat cells than men. Therefore the ideal weight range has to be different for them.

In addition, it is completely disregarded while calculating BMI. Some of the interpretation charts may have different interpretation columns for males and females, but the method to calculate their BMI is still the same.

Age

BMI completely disregards the fact that your weight is not the direct indication of the fat cells you have. At an older age, the number of fat cells can increase, and the muscles can decrease.

Still, BMI will not change since it only considers weight and not age. It does not focus on your body’s fat content, muscle content, and your body’s ability to store fats.

Athletes

If you’re an athlete, you will probably have more muscle content than fat. However, the person with the same height and weight will have the same BMI as you, even if the amount of fat content is more.

Athletes usually weigh more because of their muscles, not because of fat. This is not taken into consideration by the formula of BMI.

Distribution of Fat

The distribution of fat in your body is also an important factor in deciding whether you are prone to get diseases related to obesity or not.

The distribution of lipids in a male body is different from a female body, which is why both the sexes need other ways to calculate their ideal weight range. 

Some Other Ways to Determine Your Ideal Weight

Apart from calculating your Body Mass Index, there are several other ways to determine your healthy weight range. These methods also consider your sex, giving you a more accurate result.

Waist-to-Hip Ratio

Waist-to-hip ratio, or WHR, is a ratio calculated with the help of your waist circumference and hip circumference. This is a beneficial method to analyze the amount of fat present in your lower body, including your hips, waist, and buttocks.

If your body stores more fat around your midsection, you are more susceptible to diseases like type 2 diabetes, various heart diseases, and even premature death.

However, if the fat distribution is more towards your hips and thighs, the chances of these diseases are lower than the other body shapes. For instance, an apple-shaped body can have a healthy BMI, but they have more chances of experiencing these diseases than a pear-shaped body.

Your doctor will provide you with the most accurate analysis of the WHR ratio. Still, if you want to calculate this ratio by yourself, all you have to do is follow the given instructions:

How Much Should I Weigh – Female

How Much Should I Weigh – Male

Drawbacks of WHR

Although the result is quite valuable, it’s often inaccurate if you calculate it yourself. It’s challenging to record the correct measurements, and usually, you get the wrong measurements while measuring yourself.

This method is also more beneficial to adults than teens. Professionals do not recommend this process for children. In addition this calculation can also be off (or flat out wrong) for people with muscular hips.

Moreover, individuals who are shorter than 5 feet can often get a misleading WHR ratio. People who have a Body Mass Index of 35 or higher can also get incorrect WHR ratio.

Therefore, it’s better to visit your doctor before deciding which method of ideal weight calculation is the best for you. 

Waist-to-Height Ratio

As mentioned before, the presence of fat around your midsection is one of the most imperative indications of your health. The Waist-to-height ratio, or WHtR, is most commonly used by professionals to analyze the risk of heart diseases and mortality.

In order to calculate your Waist-to-height ratio, measure the circumference of your waist and  divide it by your height. If the measurement of your waist circumference is half of your height, you are more likely to have a healthy weight.  

How Much Should I Weigh – Female

How Much Should I Weigh – Male

Drawbacks of WHtR

If you measure your height and waist circumference by yourself, you are more likely to get the wrong measurement. This can give your inaccurate results. It also does not consider your age.

The interpretation is different for both sexes, and is no consideration for muscle and fat content. This is also not recommended for children. If you want the most accurate results, the best option is to visit your doctor.

Body Fat Percentage

Did you know that fat storage does not only depend on your gender but also your genes? Your parents might be responsible for that extra storage of fat around your waist. This is why a general chart based on your height and weight will not provide you the complete information.

Your weight is not the most reliable indicator of the fat you have stored in your body. The composition of your body differs widely, depending on your lifestyle, activities, and daily diet. Like an athlete, a muscular person may get inaccurate information because fat vs. muscle content is not taken into consideration.

In order to avoid this misinformation, you can visit your doctor for a complete body fat measurement. Body fat percentage is calculated using your weight, height, waist circumference, hip, wrist, and forearm.

Some tools, like calipers, are also used to determine an accurate body fat percentage. The most accurate measure of body fat percentage is water displacement. In this process, you submerge your body in a tank of water.

Water displacement can give you the most accurate results, but it is costly and requires a particular lab. Even if you have tools like calipers, it is best to visit a professional to get the most accurate results. You may not know the correct way to use the equipment, which will lead to incorrect information.

Final Thoughts on How Much Should I Weigh

I am not a proponent of everyone needs to be 10% body fat or any of these pre-supposed “perfection” numbers, but the history of studies shows the more you weigh the more health issues you will tend to have.

Given we have fought tooth and nail through a pandemic that has had serious repercussions on those who have above normal BMI this is cause for concern and a chance to refocus your efforts.

Every day count, you need to eat, you need activity, and you need to give yourself real and proper rest. Not video game rest, not TV rest but serious downtime where you aren’t staring at a electronic tube.

I grew up in a home where most our days were spent inside, and sports were not a family priority. I did play soccer and baseball as a kid, but the older I got, the more I lost interest. To regain my health, I decided to adhere to the three tenets of health and longevity. I hope you will join me, by making it your purpose to live as long and well as possible.