We all dream of reaching that famous number that would make us the perfect, healthy woman. But after having endured a diet, we no longer know very well where we stand in relation to this El Dorado. But is there really a healthy weight? How to calculate it? How to reach it and keep it? We take stock.
What is a healthy weight?
The healthy weight, also called ideal weight, ideal weight or balance weight, is a weight supposed to bring the best health to a person by minimizing the risks related to his weight such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases as well as hypertension. This figure, reached in adulthood, differs according to individuals depending on history (growth, weight change, state of health) and heredity, and can change during life depending on certain parameters. Many doctors have developed mathematical formulas to determine healthy weight.
To calculate it, many characteristics must be taken into consideration, such as height, age, weight, diet, muscle mass and bone structure. According to scientists, our body would always tend to return to this healthy weight, programmed into our body in advance, but unfortunately it is not always in line with our desires and varies enormously. This healthy weight is therefore theoretical and in no way has the right to claim to be the ideal weight, since it is based on so much variable data from one individual to another…
Only two of the formulas developed by many scientists have been taken into account, of which only one, the BMI, is recognized and used by world health authorities.
- The Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a quantity which makes it possible to estimate the corpulence of a person. This index is calculated according to the size and mass of an individual. To obtain your BMI, simply divide your weight by your height squared, according to this formula: BMI = weight / height². The figure obtained is then used to position oneself according to the predefined standard intervals of thinness, normality, overweight or obesity. To obtain your ideal weight, reverse the formula and calculate it by multiplying the normal BMI (between 18.5 and 25) by your height squared. For example, the healthy weight of an individual measuring 1m60 would be between 47.5 and 64 kg.
- The other formula, much less used nowadays, but still recognized, is the Lorentz formula. This also allows you to calculate your ideal weight according to your height but introduces another criterion than the BMI, namely whether you are a man or a woman. To use it, here is the formula (the sizes to be entered must be in cm):
For women: Ideal weight (in kg) = height – 100 – ((height – 150) / 2.5)
For men: Ideal weight = height – 100 – ((height – 150)) / 4)
Let’s go back to our example: the healthy weight of an individual measuring 1m60 would be 56 kilos for a woman or 57.5 kilos for a man.
Since we are all very different by default, these formulas very often indicate erroneous results and thus render their usefulness purely informative. Shouldn’t an Olympic champion measuring 1m60 have a higher healthy weight than a woman of the same size spending her days on the sofa? In short, you will have understood that the ideal weight cannot be a precise weight.
These two formulas only serve to give an average healthy weight, varying between 2 extreme weights (thinness and obesity), called the normal weight zone. The ideal weight generated by these formulas is based mainly on the height of the person but can be modified by various factors such as age, gender, build and degree of muscular development.
So how do we really determine our healthy weight?
The weight that appears on our scale covers the sum of the different elements that make up our body without taking into account their respective proportions. For example, the overall weight of a 25-year-old person is distributed as follows: 25% liquid (blood and water), 32% muscle, 15% skin and skeleton, 8% viscera and organs, and 20% fat. So how do we really know if our weight is ideal or not, if our fat does not weigh too heavily on the scale and if everything that composes us is proportionally correct in our body? Thanks to bioelectrical impedancemetry, generally carried out by nutritionists, which consists of placing electrodes on the body to distinctly determine our fat mass and our lean mass of which we are composed.
This technique gives a more precise idea of the objective of the ideal healthy weight that we can hope to achieve, since it determines our muscle, bone or liquid masses. Moreover, this weight is attributed to us by nature, according to our genetics, our morphology (size, frame…) and our experience… Despite our excesses during festive meals or our many times of restrictive diets , it is generally a weight that tends to come back regularly… So, if you went to the nutritionist to really know your healthy weight and stop torturing yourself?