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…
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!)
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!
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.
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.
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!