Nutrition 101: Ideal Body Weight - Weekend

Nutrition 101: Ideal Body Weight

By Justinne Lou Go

WE ALL come in different shapes and sizes. Most people, however, are not satisfied with their body shape or size, and so they subject themselves to certain lifestyle adjustments such as diets, exercise regimens or a combination of both.

People have their own ideal body image in mind, which is mostly influenced by media and society, and pegged at a particular celebrity or public personality. Unfortunately, when people think of their ideal body image, physical attractiveness is the only goal and nutritional health is the least concern. Aspiring for a celebrity’s body shape is also unrealistic because we all have different body types. Case in point, a person weighing a hundred pounds with a height of 5’5 will definitely look different on a person who is only five feet tall. Not to mention, the varying builds people are born with — some people are naturally muscular, some are lanky and stick-thin, some big-boned, just to name a few.

In achieving one’s ideal body image, weight loss is the more common problem or goal. Most people tend to have the notion that when one loses weight, he or she will be able to achieve the body shape of the celebrity or supermodel that he or she aspires for. However, as just mentioned earlier, we all come in different builds so, even if two ladies may have the same height, a weight of hundred pounds may still look different for both.
With the varying perceptions on what one’s ideal body weight is, I would like to take the privilege of enlightening you on the true context of this common misconception. Between medical professionals, the term body weight is usually referred to as Desirable Body Weight (DBW) more than Ideal Body Weight (IBW). This is the weight for a given height that is associated with the lowest risk for developing lifestyle or chronic diseases. The goal or recommendation is, of course, to achieve a healthy body weight. So, how do you find out what your ideal or desirable body weight is? A Nutritionist-Dietitian, such as myself, can help you determine this.

Besides the obvious reason for aspiring to achieve a healthy body weight (which is, to prevent the development of chronic diseases), let me just elaborate on why it is highly recommended for one to have a healthy body weight. First of all, you must know that although being overweight or obese is more prevalent these days than being underweight, our country faces a double burden in malnutrition. This double burden is the continually growing problem of both overweight or obesity and undernutrition, wherein worst cases are manifested in stunting and “wasting” in children. One of our three Filipino adults is either overweight or obese, and undernutrition contributes to about one-third of all child deaths.

Being either underweight or overweight both have their corresponding health risks. For overweight or obese individuals, there is a great risk for developing several chronic diseases such as type two diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and cancer. Not only that, discomforts in breathing and movement, such as sleep apnea and gout are common as well. For underweight individuals, health risks include susceptibility to bone diseases from having a low bone mass, anemia, infertility, and hypothyroidism.

So, the next time you wish to lose some weight and imagine the body you want to have, I hope you prioritize your health and well-being because there’s more to life than just looking good. Choosing the lowest calorie count from meal deliveries may not be the wisest choice. And, eating whatever you want because you think you can burn all the calories in exercise is not exactly the right mindset as well. You can’t outrun a bad diet.

Life is about healthy relationships and this starts with having a healthy relationship with yourself — having a healthy body to spend quality time with people who matter to you and being able to do the things you are meant to do in life. Besides, skinny is no longer attractive. It never was. Fit is the new sexy, so aspire to be fit for your health. And when you’re healthy, you’re automatically happy.

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