The numbers on your body weight scale might seem okay to you, but the numbers on your scale don’t always reveal the whole picture. You could appear thin and weigh the right amount according to a healthy weight table, but still be unhealthy. Or, you could be a little heavy for your height, but still fairly healthy if you eat a balanced, nutritious diet and get the right amount of physical activity. There are several factors about your body weight that average weight scales just can’t tell you.
What is Your Healthy Body Weight?
The right body weight for you is dependent on a combination of your:
- amount of exercise
- amount of muscle
Your healthy body weight is your natural weight when you consistently eat a balanced diet of nutritious foods, are physically active, and balance the calories you eat with physical activity.
Scales Can’t Measure Your Body Fat Percentage
Another question to think about when you weigh yourself is does your scale measure body fat? Because they do not, people who seem the right weight according to their scale can actually have too much body fat.
Your total body fat percentage is the total weight of your fat divided by your weight. Most health care professionals consider 18% to 32% body fat a healthy body fat percentage in an adult woman, and 10% to 25% body fat a healthy body fat percentage for an adult man. Women require 10% – 13% of essential fat in their bodies, and men require 2% – 5% essential fat in their bodies. These essential fat percentages are necessary to survive and reproduce. Women require more essential fat for hormonal functions and childbearing. Healthy body fat percentages vary between different age groups and populations.
Your body fat percentage indicates your overall fitness level better than any scale. If you have above average lean muscle mass, your body fat percentage will indicate that you are in good physical condition, whereas a scale or a body mass index might indicate incorrectly that you are overweight.
Achieving Your Healthy Body Weight
If you are in good health, the best way for you to reach your ideal body weight and the right body fat percentage for you is by eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet and getting regular physical activity. A balanced diet of food from the basic food groups including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nonfat or low-fat dairy products, lean meats, beans, and healthy oils combined with exercise will help you reach and maintain your naturally healthy body weight. It is also recommended that you limit your fat intake to between 20% and 35% of your total calories. Try to consume most of your fats from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils from nuts, fish, and olive or canola oils for optimal health.