Health, Diet, Fitness and Weight Loss Blog
The Simply Fit Diet
How much should I weigh?
All original contents copyright 2017.
The answer to the question "how much
should I weigh," is highly personal.  A
quick and easy answer is that adults
should have a body mass index (BMI) of
around 22.  For the
average American
man who is about 5'8" tall, that would be
144 pounds.  For the average American
woman who is about 5'3" tall, that would
be 124 pounds.  For rough calculations,
you can use this chart:

BMI For Adults Widget


       

A simple Body Mass Index (BMI) chart.
Or use the BMI
calculator at right
to calculate you
current BMI.
I strongly recommend that you do not
look to the media or to others to
determine your ideal weight.  Looking to
TV and movies for role models leads to
a terribly distorted view of how
Americans should look. To start with,
celebrities are selected because they
are unusually good looking. Even the
villains look good. Further, the people
you see on TV are as much the products
of drugs and plastic surgery as they are
products of nature. It is unnatural for 50-
and 60-year-old celebrities to be free of
wrinkles and blemishes, but turn on the
TV and you see them every night. It is
unnatural for men on TV to have
washboard abdomens and for women to
have perfectly shaped lips, breasts and
buttocks, but you see them every night.

Beauty bought with a needle or a knife is
illusory. If your goal is to look like a
movie star, you are likely consigned to
failure. You have neither the genetics,
nor the professional chef, performance
enhancing drugs and plastic surgery the
movie star has. You need to set a
realistic goal based on you, not based
on someone you see in the movies or
on TV.

Do not look to others for your weight
goals, look to yourself.
There was
likely a time in your life when you were
fit. This could have been in your late
teens or twenties. Choose a time when
your skeletal frame had grown to full size
and remember your weight.
Even if
decades have passed, that weight is still
attainable.
Write down the most healthy
weight you have been in your adult life.
That will likely be your weight loss goal.

Some people have never been at a
healthy weight. If this describes you, you
can usually think of a relative of the
same sex and a similar build who is or
has been a healthy weight. Using
someone with a similar genetic
background can help you to target a
healthy weight.

A final concept that may be useful in
choosing a weight goal is the concept of
"shape." An alternative to the scientific
calculation of BMI is the simple concept
of shape. We use the term frequently,
complaining that we are out of shape or
need to get into shape. The concept has
value. If you think of Leonardo da Vinci’s
1490 diagram of man (Figure 1) as a
healthy outline of the human shape, you
can measure yourself against it to see
how out of shape you have become.










The average American man found in
Figure 1, is 5'8" tall, weighs 200 pounds
and has a 40-inch waist. The average
American woman is about 5'3" tall,
weighs 166 pounds and has a 37.5-inch
waist. The average American is not in
shape.

The concept of shape also includes
waist size, probably a more important
indicator of health than BMI. The wider
your waist, the higher your chance of
disease. Note the difference in the waist
of da Vinci’s drawing and the average
American man.

Simply looking at yourself in the mirror
(or in a private selfie) can help you to
evaluate whether you are "in shape" and
how much weight you need to lose.

Read chapters
1 and 3 of The Simply Fit
Diet for more detailed discussion of
these concepts.
Figure 1.  The Average American, compared to Da Vinci's 1490 drawing, is not in shape.
Da Vinci's Vitruvian man compared to the average modern American Man.