This post is going to deal with what is considered a sensitive subject for most women. I’ve decided to write about it because, during an Introductory Assessment with a client, she very politely asked me how much I weigh and I had to think for a split second whether I was comfortable disclosing the information. Why I had to think about it boggles me as I’m generally quite comfortable talking about my weight and so forth… or am I?
Having always been extremely weight conscious as a teenager due to my chosen profession and requirements of having to look good on stage, I knew what weight I was comfortable at and what number on the scale was an absolute no-no! What I didn’t know was that as my body was changing, so was my ideal weight and trying to maintain the same weight as fellow dancers (with completely different body types might I add) was an utterly ridiculous undertaking!
I think as women, being exposed to the “ideal body” set by sources other than ourselves almost daily in magazines, on television and now through social media our idea of what “ideal” is has become extremely warped. In my opinion, the things that should determine what an “ideal body” looks like is what is medically considered HEALTHY. By healthy, I mean what allows a body to move, operate and function as efficiently as possible for the said body’s lifestyle and desired life expectancy and what feels comfortable and ideal to the body in question.
For example; if you are a happily sedentary, chain smoking, serial take-out eating human and only want to live to 45, then your healthy, ideal body and body weight should be calculated according to those factors. (Sorry, that was cheeky) 😉
Generally speaking, most humans I’ve met want to live a full, happy and healthy life. They want to be able to walk up mountains, play with their children, wear beautiful clothes, enjoy good food and wine and be comfortable in their skin! The ironic thing is that striving to reach an unrealistic goal weight can take all of this goodness away from you and can be an utter waste of time! In a nutshell, I don’t give a sh*t about how much you weigh unless you are heading towards unintentional death because of it.
When I hit 60 kilograms (I must have been about 18 years old at the time) I nearly had a meltdown! 60kg’s as far as I was concerned was a disgusting weight for a dancer and I couldn’t bear having to tell anyone how much of a heffalump I was! …What I wasn’t taking into account was how much of me was muscle. In hindsight, I was almost at the height of my career, as powerful, centred and fearless as I’d ever been and unbeknown to my warped self, in REALLY good shape! But in my poor little 18 year old head, I was disgusting and didn’t deserve to be on stage or praised for my achievements because I didn’t weigh what I was “supposed” to therefore didn’t look ideal. How sick is that?
I guess that’s what went through my head when my client asked me how much I weigh. I had to check with myself whether she was going to criticise me for my current weight and I needed to decipher whether my current weight is acceptable for a Personal Trainer/Pilates teacher. In those spilt seconds I had to remember that my job is to inspire my clients. I preach health, not warped social ideals of what women should look like. I am a woman of 28 now, not an athlete of 18 anymore.
At a height of 163cm, current weight of 61kg’s and a body fat percentage around 23% I am a functioning, healthy and happy human. I don’t suffer from any illness or allergies. Am I satisfied with my weight for what I do, my lifestyle and when I want to die? Yes. I know I’m more content with a lower body fat % and function more optimally but I try not to obsess over it and quietly strive to lower it. The heaviest I have ever been is 66kg’s. For myself, me, the spirit, the soul and maybe the body, 66kg’s was too much for me to be comfortable with. I was also somewhat miserable at the time and had to quickly shake myself out of the shadows before I spiralled out of control. The only way to do this (I find) is to surround yourself with people who love you, make healthy food choices and move your body. If you are dealing with a deeper depression, please don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
With all the above being said, there are some healthy guidelines which can help you to know what a healthy weight range for your height is. Some of these formulas don’t take your frame size (small, medium or large) in account, so just keep that in mind. Here is an Ideal Weight Calculator for you to play around with that calculates your “ideal weight” from 5 different formulas.
The gist of this post however, is to say that I feel the only two factors that should determine what your ideal body weight is, is what your doctor medically recommends as healthy for your body and most importantly what feels comfortable on an emotional and physical level for you! Find your happy and healthy place.