It is not uncommon for your doctor to suggest that you lose weight so that you reach your 'ideal' weight. Since I am writing from the US I will be using pounds as an example. I apologize for my nation being so backward in measurements. You'll get the idea even if you are elsewhere. What does the doctor mean by 'ideal' weight? One should always remember that numbers like this while having some basis in mathematics, are but a reasonable estimate based on another rather arbitrary number, Body Mass Index or BMI. Here is what you are looking at with the idea of 'ideal' weight. The number is not fixed, rather, it represents a range of weight that I personally place at ±10 pounds of the published 'ideal' weight. This estimate is but a guess because we are not given all the tools to understand the actual variance in the range being reported. Variance is everything when it comes to statistical measurements. A large variance means that there is leeway in the arithmetic average or mean. Not much variance and the mean is more reliable. So when it is suggested that you lose weight to get to your 'ideal' weight, your doctor is only asking you to be at an average weight for your height. We do not know what else goes into the calculation of average or 'ideal' weight. |
My 'ideal' weight, for example, is a whopping 120 pounds. Now the last time I weighed 120 pounds I looked like I just walked out of Auschwitz. I was all skin and bones. I couldn't pass the mirror test; looking at myself in the mirror and thinking that the way I looked was okay. Today I weigh around 127 pounds ±3 pounds on any given day. The additional 4 to 10 pounds makes a huge difference in the way I look. That affects the way I feel. My 'ideal' weight is right around 7 pounds heavier than my so-called 'ideal.' This is a long way from my peak of 189 pounds, where prominent belly fat ruled my life.
The Mirror Test The mirror test is a powerful tool one should use when trying to figure out an individual 'ideal' weight. Remember, the 'ideal' weight is made up of data points. Those data points are the weights of individual people crunched together to derive an average number. Add your individual number to the data points and you are just one of the hundreds included in the statistic reported. While the 'ideal' weight is an important goal to strive for, it is not a number set in stone. The mirror test is a personal test that no one but yourself participates in. Get naked, stand in front of a mirror and decide whether or not you like the way your body looks each time you reach a weight loss goal. If you are satisfied, stop losing and start to maintain that weight. If you are not, keep working to lose more. This test is meant to be a celebration, not a critique. As you look in the mirror, only you can make that decision. No one else is in the room. No one else can make this decision for you. After all, you are losing weight for yourself and not FOR someone else. Let your body tell you when it is time to stop and move toward a daily routine to maintain your weight.
Sara Dawson is the managing partner at The Science of Permanent Weight Loss. Her personal journey going from ‘chubby’ and unhealthy to thin and healthy is one that anyone who suffers from being overweight or in poor health, or both should know. Sara encourages you to visit her Weight Loss Blog where she shares her story along with tips and ideas for healthy weight loss.
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