Your ideal weight

I have a confession to make. I’m nowhere near my ideal weight. Or at least what I’ve considered to be my ideal weight for the most part of my life.
In fact, as I reflect about my ideal weight, four completely different numbers come to mind! Let me show you…

1. The doctor’s number

As a teenager, I used to think that the typical weight charts you see at the doctor’s office are for “heavy” people.

Back then, I didn’t know that they don’t take into account your age, gender, bone structure (small, medium or large frame), body fat percentage, and most importantly, what “ideal weight” means in a woman’s head!

Today, I think the doc’s number would make sense if I was a track and field Olympic athlete with 8% body fat. (Did you know? Muscle weighs 3 times more than fat!)

2. The longevity formula

This formula is not known by many. Lucky you for being in my circle, you’ll find out now.

It’s based on the principle of prolonging your lifespan: The longer your waistline, the shorter your lifeline.

But there’s a caveat: This ideal weight calculation is significantly less generous than your doctor’s. Here’s how to calculate it, step by step:

1. Firstly, determine your height in feet and inches (use Google for conversions).
2. For the first 5 feet, your ideal weight is 95 pounds.
3. Then, add 4 pounds for each inch over 5 feet.

The total is your optimal weight for health and longevity provided that you follow an ultra-nutritious but calorically restricted diet (for life!).

So for a 5 feet 4 inches lady, this would be: 95 + (4 x 4) = 95 +16 = 111 lbs (or 50 kilograms). In other words, around 25 pounds thinner than the doc’s number!

3. Optimal maintainable

your ideal weight Health Divas

Now we’re entering psychological waters. This is a sort-of-ideal weight you know you can easily maintain with no effort (other than at the beginning).

This number is usually linked to a period in your life where you actually managed to do that. Not your most ambitious number, but a comfortable place where you know you look quite good (in the right clothes).

You’re happy and can live with that but you secretly believe it’s not really, really your ideal (like really ideal) weight.

4. Ultra skinny

Aaah, tell me, what’s your magic number? It gives you butterflies in your belly, right? On the other hand, the sacrifice is so consuming (mostly psychologically) that entering your ultra-skinny zone isn’t sustainable. If you’ve even been there, you’ll know that it lasts only for a short while. Like Cinderella’s 12 o’clock. Or its current version, a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

It’s like a touch-and-go kind of weight. This is where important life events may come to mind:

– A reunion with people who’ve last seen you 30 pounds ago.
– An event with way too many camera flashes – and who knows who’ll circulate your unedited photos!
– An interview for the top job or promotion (thin women are perceived to be smarter).
– Fitting into the tiniest Vera Wang for a day so that your (future) descendants can better appreciate their genetics.

This is the weight number that takes into account how you think others will perceive you to be, and you secretly wish to look perfect in their eyes.

“What gets measured, gets done”

The reason why I bring up the numbers question is that you need something tangible to go by.

I cringe when I read from some self-acclaimed body image “experts” that you shouldn’t have a goal weight. Try driving from London to Glasgow without a sat-nav. You’ll get lost a few times, blow up a tire, run out of gas, and probably take twice as long!

If you don’t know where you are and have no clue where you’re going to, there’s nothing measurable to keep your brain reward systems activated (i.e. motivation!). As I always say: What gets measured, gets done.

This is why I want you to come up with a couple of numbers in your head, because next week I’ll tell you why losing all that extra weight FAST (rather than slowly) works better in the long run. It’s science.

So let me ask you:
1. What’s your optimal weight based on the longevity formula? (use a calculator)
2. What’s been your lowest weight for your current height? How long did you manage to stay there?
3. And finally, what’s really, really your ideal (like really ideal) weight???!
I’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment!





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NicoleFebruary 14, 2014 at 6:36 amReply

Hello :) me again.

According to your formula, 55.8 kg is my ideal weight. I am 5,72 feet tall. The lowest I got to after my divorce 5 years ago was 52 kg. I loved being that weight because I always wanted to be a model and I looked gorgeous. My friends were horrified though.

Then later on, I was 55 kg – I hadn’t been that thin since 1995, my last year of high school. I loved that weight, but to be honest, it caused me lots of criticism from friends, even though I was euphorically happy. They were disgusted.

I now weigh more than I ever have in my life. I weigh 68 kg. I guess that given I was bulimic, and given that realistically 60 kg is easier to maintain, how do I say goodbye to 55 kg and embrace 60/62 kg? I think because I did modeling when I was in my teens, perhaps I have an unrealistic ideal?

I felt high when I was 55. Felt a bit dangerous to be 52 kgs. I love you, 55 kgs! How do I say goodbye and love myself at 60 kg?

Thank you for this :)

Alejandra RuaniFebruary 15, 2014 at 6:47 pmReply

Nicole! I think 60kg is a lovely number for your height, and making peace with ONE number (one target) is key, since weight loss is linear. Weekly weigh ins, never daily, help too. The other thing I wanted to say, for most of us, when we hit our number and get “ambitious” (wanting to lose more) disaster happens. Weight maintainers stop trying to lose more weight.

So many studies confirm that the NUMBER ONE weight regain reason is wanting to lose MORE!!

So make the most of this knowledge. Once you’re in your beautiful 60kg, focus on maintaining, habit forming, loving all the little daily rituals that keep you happy and healthy – repeat x 1,000,000,000,000 until it becomes so natural, you will never ever have to think about all of this ever again.

You’re amazing, stick around, more to come!

LexDecember 9, 2013 at 3:26 amReply

My optimal weight based on the longevity formula is 115. I was able to stay between 113 and 116 for over 3 years but i’ve dropped down to 92 in the past 6 months due to different factors and cannot seem to get back up. My ideal would be 100. Sometimes gaining healthily is as hard as losing weight heathily.

Alejandra RuaniDecember 9, 2013 at 2:00 pmReply

Thanks so much for sharing, Lex!!

Melissa BurkheimerDecember 5, 2013 at 8:31 pmReply

My ideal weight according to the longevity formula is 103 lbs, which to me is crazy. I don’t think I’ve weighed that since I was 12! The lowest I was was 130 and that was after my second son was born. I stayed there for 4 years. Now my ideal weight is 140. Now the trick is just getting there. xo

Alejandra RuaniDecember 7, 2013 at 3:48 pmReply

Thanks for sharing your weight history Melissa!

If you stayed at 130 for 4 years, your body def has a memory of that… Sometimes all we need is to “un-memorise” or “un-learn” new eating behaviours

Desiree EastDecember 5, 2013 at 8:03 pmReply

I’m a petite little island girl at 4′ 11′, and at one point in my life, I weighed anywhere from 100-110 pounds…for me that was healthy – I think 95 pounds would not be healthy for me. FAST FORWARD a few decades, as my metabolism slowed down, I’ve gained a good 15-20 pounds, but I’d like to go back at a healthy 110-115. I try not to stress to much about it, otherwise, the guilt comes in – no bueno – in fact, we don’t even have a scale in our house…!! I try my best to just be conscious of what I eat. :)

Alejandra RuaniDecember 7, 2013 at 3:49 pmReply

indeed, Desiree, as I always say, guilt makes us fat, not food, guilt!

KimberleyDecember 5, 2013 at 1:56 pmReply

My ideal weight is just under 50kg, according to the longevity formula. I can, however, say that that defintiely wouldn’t work for me. I once got down to 51kg, which resulted in hair falling out and bones protruding quite signficantly – and this was in the days that I didn’t exercise and weight train. 62kg puts me at a small size 8, so would be my ideal!

Alejandra RuaniDecember 5, 2013 at 2:15 pmReply

Kimberley, how nice to read you!

Oh, 62kg is so your number! Size 8 is nice and tiny, plus we don’t want hair falling out!

The most important thing is that you’ve made (mental) peace with that number, well done!!

In a future post I’ll explain how NOT making peace with your number can actually make you regain all the weight (the horror!)

Have a great day, and do keep me posted!!


CarlieDecember 5, 2013 at 12:10 amReply


I’ve been fixated with the same number for way too long, what a relief having more options to go by.

I like the longevity formula, I didn’t even know something like that existed! Mine is 115 pounds, I think I can manage that :-)

But my ultra skinny would be 99 , i’d love love love to be below the one hundred number for my wedding next year

thanks for the intelligent stuff you share and can’t wait to reading next week’s post



Alejandra RuaniDecember 5, 2013 at 1:59 pmReply

Congrats on your engagement, Carlie!

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