Your ideal body weight

Diet myth # 9: Our ideal body isn't what we might think

The ideal body weight... um... what exactly defines your optimal body? Now let's see - is it...

• the apparently ‘zero defect’ bodies we see flaunted on magazine covers or shop mannequins?
• those plastic-surgeried stars of all ages with bodies of 35 year olds?

• the insurance ideal?

• possibly something else?

A model body is that your ideal body weight?

shop mannequin

The average New York model is 9% taller than the average woman and 16% thinner than what she should be to be medically healthy. That's way too thin!

Not only that but all the images you see of models are photo-shopped to unrealistic standards.

Why oh why I ask myself with tears in my olive green eyes would I ever want to be so thin as to be medically unhealthy?

But nevertheless once upon a time I have to admit to desperately wanting my ideal body weight to match theirs.
One Scandinavian study found that the average shop mannequin, if scaled up to be life-sized, would have about 14% body fat. Is that our ideal body weight? I think not!

Simple fact - this means they would meet the first criteria for Anorexia Nervosa because with that little body fat their bodies couldn't function healthily. Women need about 18% body fat for our menstrual cycle to function normally. And many fertility problems stem from being 'too thin.'

Is a plastic-surgeried body your ideal body?

Gone is the comfortable gran - make way for the glamor gran. Do they represent the ideal body and weight? Where does this paranoia with anti-aging ome from? Look no further than thoseaging, but 'forever young' and forever thin, stars.

Take your pick.... Cher, Joan Rivers or Dolly Parton etc. etc... They have bodies (and faces) of 30-year-olds even when they're double that age. Of course you can too if you've got a stash in the bank and the desire to have more than just the odd nip and tuck.

Now I'm not against looking as good as we can, but what ever happened to aging gracefully and naturally? Your body is a memorial to your life: it tells the story of pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and the passing of life.

You have other choices as you grow older: to grow more conscious of your maturing wisdom instead of desperately striving to attain the ideal body and weight they represent. So what if your breasts are having a race to see which one is able to touch your toes first? Yours aren’t aberrant - they're just doing what breasts and tummies all over the world do.

Happiness is good for your health!

When you focus on spiritual and personal growth, you'll know it's vastly more wise to be concerned about losing your sense of humor than your 'ideal body'.

Laughter and living with happy thoughts will do a lot more to keep you feeling young and vibrant than any amount of plastic surgery ever will. Focus less on cellulite and not having the ideal body weight that drive you crazy and more about not living crazily enough.

The insurance body weight ideal

Firstly those height and weight tables can be very mis-leading. Because muscle weighs three times what muscle does, if you work out with weights, and have a higher proportion of focus on healthy muscle, you can still fall outside the insurance ideal and be labeled as unhealthy when that isn't even vaguely true.

As an answer to the inaccuracies of the height and weight tables came the Body Mass Index (BMI - divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters). A figure of 30 is the BMI level at which we are apparently obese and unhealthy.

But did you know that you can appear as if you are at the ideal body weight and yet still be over-fat? BMI cannot reliably give us our body weight ideal.

The most accurate of all the body measurement devices is % body fat. The problem is that even experts disagree with what the perfect percentages of body fat are. The most common ones I've found have been 15% body fat for men with women ranging from 18-30% body fat (depending on their stage of life).

Here's a really simple % body test you can do at home in the swimming pool.

Click here to have your % body fat calculated FREE!

Obesity research proves I was wrong

In a study of 1.8 million Norwegians over 10 years, the highest death rate occurred in underweight women and the lowest mortality rate of all was amongst those who were approximately 30% overweight.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia followed 2.3 million Americans. It's conclusion? Overweight people demonstrate a lower death rate than their peers who are underweight, obese or – most surprisingly – ‘normal weight.

(Hold on… isn’t this the level at which we’re told we’re obese and unhealthy?) But get this...even women considered ‘morbidly obese’ had lower death rates than the underweight group.

The natural body weight ideal

Here's what I really think about the ideal body ideal though. BMI’s and goal weights – cannot take into account each individual’s body, situation and lifestyle.

Charts and tables cannot tell you what your natural weight is; only your body can. And it can only do this when you follow a self-loving enough path to have a healthy, normal and consistent eating pattern – while having a fun and active lifestyle – over a sustained period of time, with enough laughter and sleep.

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