How Much Should I Weigh?

"How much should I weigh?" is a common question and a good one. It shows you are aware of issues around ideal weight.

There are some guideline tables for men and women adults that show weight against height in underweight, normal, overweight or obese ranges and BMI (Body Mass Index).

But it's far better to understand first that 'weight' in itself is faily meaningless. In fact, BMI is pretty meaningless and outdated. Nowadays, we talk about body fat percentages.

A healthy 'weight' should be within the normal percentage body fat for men (12-15%) or women (22-25%). You might want to aim to achieve a lower body fat percentage to have a leaner or more athletic body shape.

You see, your shape is a result of how much body fat you carry, not your overall weight - in other words, the relative proportion of weight from your muscle and from your fat - because muscle weighs more than fat but takes up less space! Once you start to know these kinds of 'figures', you can actually work out your answer to 'how much should I weigh' in quite detailed ways. You can work out your ideal weight and calculate your personal resting metabolic rate (RMR) based on how much your muscle mass weighs. This will tell you how many calories you burn at rest and how much protein you need to protect your muscles when cutting back on calories.

But how does all that stuff help you know how much you should weigh or how to maintain your weight or lose weight?

What I'd like to lay out here, simply are typical calorie needs and normal, lean and athletic body fat %.

First your calorie needs ...

An average woman, of an average height needs to consume approximately 2,000 calories per day, and 2,500-3000 calories for men per day, to maintain weight. However if you are consuming an extra 500 calories per day, over a week you have exceeded your required calorific intake by 3,500 calories.

This may not sound much but that figure equates to approximately 1lb of extra stored fat. Over a period of a month that could be a weight gain of 4lb in body fat and over a year, wow - that's almost three and a half stone!!! Now the 'shape' part ...

On the ideal weight page we explore how your best way to answer the question 'how much should I weigh' is to measure your waist size or the ratio of your waist to hip measurements, not base it on height and weight analysis or Body Mass Index or BMI - as I said above, that's really outdated now.

Put the calorie needs and shape part together ...

If you are at an ideal weight in terms of your shape, and want to maintain that, there is indeed a need to balance the equation of 'calories eaten = calories burned'.

But to improve your shape you need to lose body fat. So for effective weight loss, you need your percentage body fat figure.

You can get this calculated based on your current weight and waist measurements using our Shapemaximiser Body Analyser It's a short survey and you can request a personal email or phone consultation at the same time.


In terms of the energy that our body burns and calculating calorie requirements, you need to factor in two things that impact on you achieving and maintaining an ideal weight.

The first is basal or resting metabolic rate or RMR. This is the number of calories burned when the body is completely at rest, purely to survive. There are various ways you can increase your metabolism through both diet and exercise.

The second is the level of your daily activity - whether you sit down most of the day in an office or in your car or on your sofa! Or if you are walking, going up and down stairs, cleaning, gardening etc., and the amount of specific exercise you take, such as cycling, swimming, jogging, aerobics, and so on.

A neighbor of mine, a large rugby player, used to work in an office all day, all week. Recently, he changed jobs and started teaching, and the pounds just dropped off him over the first term, just because he was on his feet, pacing about all day, rather than on his bum! So daily activity can make a huge difference to how many calories you need and what you burn off just going about your normal routine
The best reference guide I've found on how to get the balance between nutrition and diet for weight loss and exercise for boosting metabolism and muscle health is Tom Venuto's in-depth and world renowned book, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle.

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