We all tend to have a goal weight in mind based on what a doctor or even family or friends tell us we should weigh, but is that number what we should be aiming for? The third week of January is National Healthy Weight Week and when it comes to weight loss, we tend to aim for either an overall weight number, or a body mass index number, rather than a healthy body composition. But why should you care about a healthy body composition more than your weight on the scale? Let’s talk about it!
If you are looking to lose weight, you most likely have a goal weight you’re thinking of achieving. While you may inherently know your natural healthy weight and that becomes your overall goal, what your overall weight does not show is the amount of muscle mass, body fat mass, and water weight that contributes to that number (all of these factors are components of body composition, which we will go over later). Let’s use as an example a 5’5” female who weighs 160 lbs, which may be considered overweight for her height. If she were to go off of weight alone, she would aim to lose about 15-20 lbs to reach a healthy weight. Now if she were to have a body composition reading that shows she weighs 160 lbs, but she has above average muscle mass and her body fat is close to the healthy range, she may only need to lose 10 lbs of body fat, not muscle!
Another factor that contributes to overall weight and causes big fluctuations on a daily basis is water weight. Your body is constantly using, moving, and storing water as it needs water for countless amounts of cellular and chemical reactions to keep the body functioning. The amount of water our body consumes and uses on a daily basis can cause up to a 6 lb fluctuation in your weight. So if one day you are down 2 lbs and the next day you are up 4 lbs, just remember it is most likely a change in water in your body and not a change in body fat.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI is the most common metric our health care industry uses to determine what a person’s healthy weight should be. It measures someone’s weight versus their height, but does not take into account their body fat mass or muscle mass. The reason that BMI is not a reliable way to gauge one’s health is because in this scenario, a 5’5” female can weigh 155 lbs with an above average muscle mass. Her BMI is 25.8, and a BMI over 25 is considered overweight, even though her body fat percentage is within the healthy range and she visibly has minimal body fat and a high amount of muscle mass. Athletes often have a high BMI due to their high amounts of muscle that cause them to weigh more than the average person.
Something else to note with BMI in doctors’ offices is that the BMI scale was based off of caucasian height and weight ratios and has not been adjusted for non-caucasian individuals. This makes it even more important to base your health off of body fat percentage rather than BMI if you are not caucasian.
Body composition includes measurements of body fat mass, muscle mass, water weight, body fat percentage, visceral fat level, and lean body mass. With all of these factors combined and within the healthy ranges (listed below), no matter what the overall weight reads on the scale, the individual is considered healthy! Achieving a healthy body composition can decrease the risk of chronic diseases, allows for better calorie-burn from a person’s metabolism due to higher muscle mass, and makes it easier to keep the weight off and maintain a healthy body composition!
Healthy Body Fat Percentage:
*depending on age
Healthy Visceral Fat: < Level 10
So to answer the question of “how much should I weigh?”, your weight should not be all that you take into consideration. Focusing on having a healthy body composition is more important than a certain number on the scale, and that is why 30/10 Weight Loss for Life strives to help you achieve a healthy body composition and a healthy natural overall weight that is specific to you. We focus on targeting body fat and preserving lean muscle mass in order to help you obtain a healthy body composition which is more important to your health than just your overall weight!
As part of your 30/10 Weight Loss for Life Program, you receive a weekly full-body composition analysis on our medical grade scale to make sure you are seeing progress each week and to make sure that we are targeting your body fat while preserving muscle mass! Read more about our scale that we use here, and schedule your initial consultation for just $20 to receive your first body composition reading and all the information you need about your program. Call 855-YES-3010 or click the top right hand corner to get scheduled today!