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How does an individual know how much weight to lose?

There is not exactly an ideal weight for everyone. Your specific healthy weight goal will depend on several variables such as height, gender, and body type or composition. When using a scale as indicator of health, there is ability to differentiate between lean body mass (muscle, bone, and organs) and fat. Many times people fixate on the number on the scale and forget that overall health is much more important. It is possible to be a “fat, skinny person.” This is not a technical term, but it represents someone who is not overweight but has a high body fat percentage. It is always important to take body fat storage into consideration when weighing yourself. For example, weighing 170 pounds gives little indication of health. Factoring in body fat percentage provides a much better indication of health, and a few simple calculations can help determine a goal weight. For example, assume that the 170 pound person is female with 32% body fat. A body fat level of 32% clinically classifies this female as obese. For a female to be considered healthy, she should have body fat percentage of between 21% -24%. To determine a goal weight for this individual, first calculate the current lean body mass (LBM) and fat mass. 170 pounds at 32% body fat is 116 pounds LBM and 54 pounds of fat, which is determined by multiplying 170 by .32. Through proper exercise and nutrition most of the LBM (116 pounds) will be maintained and the body fat will decrease to 24% of the female's body composition. In this example, 32% body fat is equivalent to 54 pounds of fat, so how many pounds of fat (represented F in the equation) will there be if the female reduces her level to 24% body fat? First, take the LBM (116) and multiply it by 100. Then, divide that number by 76 to determine the weight; in our example, this is approximately 153 pounds. Finally, to determine how many pounds of fat our example female will be carrying if she reduces down to 24% body fat, subtract her lean body mass of 116 from her goal weight of 153 to get approximately 37 pounds of fat. As mentioned earlier, a proper weight loss program of nutrition and exercise helps maximize the results of the fat mass loss and minimize the amount of lean body mass loss while achieving this goal.
Heidi Skolnik, MS
Sports Medicine

Although it might seem obvious, I understand that it is not. Even two people of the same height may have very different body builds, different genetic predispositions and very different weight histories, cultural expectations, and appetites. Typically, however, there is a healthy weight range that most people of a certain height fall within. In the Move It and Lose It Program, your estimated healthy weight range will provide you a goal to move toward. Your natural weight vs ideal weight is the weight you can maintain while you eat healthfully and exercise appropriately to maintain and sustain it. If you have to be overly restrictive or exercise excessive amounts than the weight you have chosen for your self may be unrealistically too low.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
There are a few key numbers to keep in mind: your waist circumference (measured at belly button with you sucking in–you will anyway), your BMI, your body fat percentage, and your waist-to-height ratio. Ladies want their waist circumferences to be 32.5 inches or less and no more than 37. Men should aim for 35 inches or less and no more than 40. And always your waist to be less than half your height. You want your BMI less than 25. Based on how your numbers compare to the targets, you can figure out how much weight you need to lose.
The thing you want to look at is weight is just a number and not overall health. You can have two people of the same gender, height and weight but both be classified in the same category even though one is fatter than the other. If you are look at weight you want to reach a goal that make you feel good and gives you the energy you need for the day. Bottom line though you want to focus on body fat percentage and blood pressure if you are trying to measure health. The lower the blood pressure, body fat and waistline the more healthy you will be. Everyone gets so hung up on the scale weight that they really don't know what it means. You should meet with your fitness professional to find out what a healthy range for your body fat and blood pressure should be.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.