Women form the majority of people dieting, joining a slimming club, trying the next ‘quick-fix’ solution to weight problems and they are the main purchasers of low-calorie and low-fat foods. It’s also a fact that four times as many women as men will be diagnosed with an underactive thyroid which can affect your weight.
Your ideal weight
How do you know what your ideal weight should be? According to the height and weight tables formulated for insurance companies, you’d think that everyone of the same height should weigh the same. Obviously this isn’t the case!
All of us are built differently, and our body shape can make a big difference to the amount of weight we can carry healthily. Furthermore, fit women will always look slimmer and weigh more, largely because muscle weighs so much more than fat. It’s even possible to be a normal weight but with unacceptably high levels of body fat.
It became clear that another method of assessing weight needed to be developed, and this is where the body mass index comes in.
Body Mass Index
If you want a rough idea of your ‘ideal’ weight then the Body Mass Index (BMI) is the best indicator. It tries to identify the percentage of body tissue that is actually fat. It does have disadvantages in that it cannot allow for variations in fat, bone, organs and muscle, but it provides a broader range for what is considered to be normal.
Your BMI is the ratio of your height to your weight and is calculated as follows:
BMI = your weight in kg divided by the square of your height in metres.
For example if my weight is 63.5 kg (10 stone) and my height is 1.68m (5ft 6in), my BMI is 63.5 – 1.68 x 1.68 = 22.5