Midsection of a woman measure her waist size.

Do you know how much you’re supposed to weigh?

Most people have a rough idea of how much they want to weigh, but is that really the right number for your weight, height, age, and sex? Knowing how to calculate your ideal body weight can give you an idea of just how much weight you need to lose or gain.

Factors to Consider

Before you can calculate your ideal body weight, take a moment to write a few things down on a piece of paper:

  • Your age
  • Your height (in centimeters)
  • Your weight (in kilograms)
  • Your sex (“yes please” isn’t the right answer)

These things all affect your ideal body weight, but writing them down is just the first step in the process.

Calculating Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your BMI is how much you weigh in relation to how tall you are. Many experts will tell you that calculating your BMI is the best way to determine what your ideal body weight is, but it’s just one of the methods of calculating your body weight.

How To Calculate Your BMI

Kilograms ÷ height squared = BMI

Say you weigh 100 kilograms, and you are 1.9 meters tall.

  • 1.9 meters squared is 3.61
  • 100 divided by 3.61 is 27.7

Your BMI is 27.7.

Now, What Does That Number Mean?

The BMI scores are as follows:

  • If your BMI is over 30, you are categorized as obese.
  • If your BMI is between 25 and 30, you are categorized as overweight.
  • If your BMI is between 18.5 and 25, you weigh just the right amount.
  • If your BMI is under 18.5, you are categorized as underweight.

You need to understand that the BMI formula doesn’t account for your waist, hips, and chest size. You may weigh a lot more than you should, but it could be due to extra muscle instead of fat.

An Olympian may weigh just as much as a couch potato and be the same height, but the fat percentage of both people will be very different. The formula also doesn’t take into account bone mass, so it’s not the most reliable formula for determining your ideal weight.

Waist to Hip Ratio

The Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR) is usually used for women, as it will calculate if they are the ideal weight.

The Formula for WHR

Size of waist ÷ size of hips = WHR

Say your waist is 28 inches and your hips are 38 inches. Divide 28 by 38, and you have a total of .73.

What Does This Number Mean?

For Men:

  • Ideal WHR is lower than 0.9
  • Between .9 and .99 means that you are at a moderate risk of heart problems due to excessive weight
  • Higher than 1 means a high risk of heart problems

For Women:

  • Ideal WHR is lower than 0.8
  • Between .8 and.89 means that you are at a moderate risk of heart problems
  • Higher than 0.9 means a high risk of heart problems.

This is usually a reliable indicator of whether or not you’re at the ideal weight, but it doesn’t tell you how much muscle and fat you have. It also doesn’t take into account body shapes, but it’s a better method of determining your ideal weight than BMI.

Body Fat Percentage

Calculating your body fat percentage will give you an idea of your overall fitness level. It is a test that you’ll have to do with a professional nutritionist or fitness trainer, and they’ll give you a number that tells you what your body fat percentage is.

  • Lower than 18% is ideal for men, and lower than 21% is ideal for women
  • Between 18% and 25% is acceptable for men, and between 21% and 24% is acceptable for women
  • Between 26% and 37% is overweight for men, and between 32% and 41% is overweight for women
  • Higher than 38% is obese for men, and higher than 42% is obese for women.

A Rough Formula

If you want a rough idea of how much you should weigh — without taking bone density, body fat, or body shape into consideration — use the formula below:

For Men:

  1. Determine how many inches over 5 feet you are. 6′ is 12 inches, 5′ 8″ is 8 inches, 6′ 5″ is 17 inches, etc.
  2. Multiply this number by 6.
  3. Add the product of the multiplication to 106.
  4. Add and subtract 10% to the final number to get a rough range of your body weight.

Example You are 5′ 8″.

  • 8 x 6 = 48.
  • 48 + 106 = 154.
  • 154 +/- 10% = 138 to 169

Your ideal weight is between 138 and 169 pounds.

For Women:

  1. Determine how many inches over 5 feet you are.
  2. Multiply this number by 5.
  3. Add the product of the multiplication to 105.
  4. Add and subtract 10% to the final number to get a rough range of your ideal body weight.

You are 5′ 4″.

  • 4 x 5 = 20
  • 20 + 105 = 125
  • 125 +/- 10% = 112 to 137

Your ideal weight is between 112 and 137 pounds.

Conclusion

Using these formulas can help you determine what your ideal body weight is, and you’ll know if it’s time to get cracking with the weight loss or not!

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About The Author

Helen Sanders's picture

Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives. Follow on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/healthambition

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