How to determine your ideal weight.

This was supposed to be called “know your goal”, but I figured I should go with something people were more likely to type into a search engine, right?

As usual let’s clear up some misconceptions before we get stuck into it.

There is no such thing as an “ideal weight” for human beings. People come in different sizes.

Actually… this is entirely correct and it is SO important to not get hung up on hitting a precise and specific number on the scale, and refusing to be happy until you see that magic number. The goal here is to be (a) healthy, (b) happy and (c) proud of yourself. That  doesn’t come from a number on the scale.

So, there’s no ideal pinpoint-specific weight that you should aim for, but there IS an ideal weight range that a human being should probably fit into under normal circumstances. You may have heard of it, it’s called The Body Mass Index aka BMI.

Now the BMI does get disputed a lot but usually for ridiculous reasons and most often by people who are in denial about their weight problem. I’ve published an article or two about why denying the validity of the BMI is pointless and trivial, but it should be sufficient to say that if you’re here because you want a weight loss plan… please, spare me from yet another “I want to lose weight, but don’t tell me I am overweight” argument. Anyway you should go and read that article linked above, and rate it as “awesome”, please.

Determining your primary goal using the Body Mass Index.

Since this is a weight loss program I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re actually overweight or obese to start with. If you’re not… well, we’ll get to that later but for the overweight people let’s set a goal of getting down closer to BMI 25.

This is important because I notice a lot that when obese people set a goal weight, the goal weight is often still significantly overweight. This is probably down to belief issues as we talked about in the previous entry… but, we cleared that up already, right? I get it that people want to set what they think is a “reasonable” goal, and perhaps one that ties in with some limiting beliefs they have, that they’re not meant to be slim or whatever else. Again though, we already cleared all that up. Besides, screw reasonable goals. Lets’s bet big, and win big. Uh… and get small.

So, primary goal is BMI 25. Of course, you may very well decide “that’s small enough for me, if I can just maintain this from here on I’ll be quite satisfied” at some point while still at a higher BMI score. Fine, good. We’re choosing 25 because it is a reasonable, achievable goal. It doesn’t mean that’s where you HAVE to end up. On the other hand though, if we do get to BMI 25 and then decide to get more ambitious we can set a secondary goal somewhere in the middle of the normal healthy range. And, we’ll hit that goal too – believe it!

How are we going do it?

Well it’s not terribly complicated. Just like we talked about in the previous entry, we simply determine the appropriate amount of calories required to maintain our goal weight, and then regularly consume that amount. Too simple, right? Well… you still have to work hard in the gym for about an hour a day, and we’ll talk about other some concerns that we may have to address in the next few entries… but in short, we’re talking about the body weight nature intended for you to be. We dial in the appropriate nutrition and exercise plan, and we end up at that weight. Simple!

You can find nutrition calculators online that will tell you your BMI, and how many calories you’d expect to maintain a particular weight. If you want to see the formulas and do the maths for yourself, you can read this article I published recently about how to lose weight. In fact, go read that article next, there’s a lot of good information in there and it will also give you a pretty good idea of what’s to come in the next few entries here.

Again,. everyone’s a little different and precise amounts will vary from one individual to another. We’re using formulas that are generally pretty accurate in most cases though, and they’re definitely the best place to start. If I’m doing a plan for a Personal Training or Online Personal Training client I’ll usually come up with a range of maybe 100 – 200 calories and tell them “anywhere in between is close enough”.

Now, just in case you’re starting to talk yourself out of this… I’ll go ahead and address the most common concerns that I hear at this point.

Oh, but I can’t do all that.

Really? You can’t practice eating the correct amounts of food required for a human being of your age & height, and put in your best effort for about an hour a day in the gym? Why the hell not? It’s not really very much to expect. Of course you can do it!

Oh, but I don’t want to count calories.

Too bad. You’re going to count calories (actually I should say, your computer or smart phone is going to count calories for you) until you get a feel for about how much of different types of foods you can eat while making progress towards your goal weight.

Oh, but I’ve counted calories before and it didn’t work for me.

Here’s the thing people need to understand about counting calories. You do not lose weight by counting calories; you lose weight by getting into the habit of consuming the appropriate amount of calories. Counting is just a vehicle that we use towards that end. The point isn’t to spend the rest of your life obsessively doing maths before every meal – the point is to get a feel for how much is too much, how much is not enough, and how much is about right.

Remember too, eating too little is just as bad as eating too much. I’m going to drum this into you in the coming entries. We absolutely must have a healthy attitude towards food.

The question we want to answer is “what is the largest amount of delicious food I can enjoy, while still maintaining my goal weight”.

Oh I almost forgot, for the people who aren’t actually significantly overweight or obese to start off with, here’s an entry just for you, about training and nutrition for a healthy BMI.

6 thoughts on “How to determine your ideal weight.”

    1. yep that’s the way to do them. If your gym has a smith machine you can set the bar on that to a suitable height, and lower it every other week to progress the exercise.

  1. What about people like me who can’t count calories because it brings out my obsessive nature? I’ve tried it a couple of times. Once I essentially stopped eating and another I was overexercising.

    My brain doesn’t let me do in between… I also have a massive issue with forcing myself to eat as well so I end up in a vicious cycle.

    1. This is a question I’ve had a couple of times before, and it’s a bit tough to answer without appearing a little insensitive. But I’ll try.

      The thing to understand is that the reason we count calories is to make sure we are getting ENOUGH. We establish a MINIMUM requirement, and then we try to go a little over that amount. Knowing “this is the minimum; I must get at least this amount to be happy, healthy and build the body that I want”… what reason is there to then say “but I’m going to only eat half that amount”?

      That’s a deliberate choice to do something difficult and destructive, rather than something that’s easy and actually conducive to your goal.

      1. So for someone who has had eating disorders and pushes the limit of healthy intake, how do you suggest coming to terms with the feeling of a full stomach?

      2. That’s a tough question and one I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer. But I think, you know… you have to think in terms of knowing that as an active person with appropriate targets, everything you put in IS going to be put to use. So a full stomach is no way a bad thing. Of course you could always opt for smaller but more frequent meals still meeting your requirements but perhaps without quite so much of that “full” feeling?

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