Body Mass Index: A Useful Guide


So what does “optimal health and wellness” look like in practice? As a general rule, a man should not be able to pinch more than half an inch of skin near his belly button, and you ladies should not have any more than one inch. Exceed these limits and you will be putting your health at risk. Don’t delude yourself … most people fool themselves into believing they are at the right weight,whereas the truth is … they are carrying far too much fat on their body.

Here  are some simple formula’s which you can use to work out what your ideal body weight:

5′ 4″                                     =                         95   +   16   =   111 pounds

5′ 6″                                     =                         95   +   24   =  119  pounds

Men: approximately 105 pounds for the first five feet of height and then five pounds for every inch thereafter. 

5′ 10″                                   =                       105   +   50   =   155 pounds

5′ 12″                                   =                       105   +   60   =   165 pounds

The above formulas are very rough guides and do not take into account bone structure and body types.

A more scientific approach is to use your B.M.I – “body mass index” which is a measure derived from the mass (weight) and height of a person. Body mass index is also the measure of body composition.

BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. Alternatively, in imperial measurement, weight in pounds x 703 divided by height in inches squared.

BMI is a convenient rule of thumb used to broadly categorize a person as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese based on tissue mass (muscle, fat, and bone) and height. That categorization is the subject of some debate about where on the BMI scale the dividing lines between categories should be placed. Commonly accepted BMI ranges are underweight (under 18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (18.5 to 25), overweight (25 to 30), and obese (over 30).

BMIs under 20.0 and over 25.0 have been associated with higher all-causes mortality, with the risk increasing with distance from the 20.0–25.0 range.

Ideally your BMI should be below 23.
  • Here is a very useful BMI calculator that may help you: 

Supplied by BMI Calculator UK

The traditional view is that men who have a waist circumference over 40 inches and women with one over 35 inches are significantly overweight with a high risk of health problems and heart attacks. Evidence suggests that abdominal fat measurement is a much better predictor of risk than overall weight or size. This is because fat deposits around your waist are a greater health risk than extra fat in other places, such as hips and thighs.

It is just possible that after a significant period of eating healthfully, you may feel that you have lost enough weight … or even a little too much! The norm is that you lose weight until you reach the accepted level of “healthy” for your height, or the specific target that you have set for yourself. It might be worth mentioning that if you are fortunate enough to find yourself in this situation, it is generally harder to lose muscle than fat so once the fat is off your body, your weight will stabilize. Stabilization at a thin muscular weight occurs because your body gives you strong signals to eat, signals that can be called “true hunger”. True hunger maintains your muscle reserve, not your fat.

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