When it comes to weight, we often obsess with numbers. So many young women want to be a size zero and one hundred pounds. It doesn't help when magazine covers focus on celebrity weight loss and weight gain.
While it is a good thing to take care of your body, there is a fine line between building a healthy lifestyle and starting an unhealthy obsession. When we compare ourselves to supermodels and celebrities, we set ourselves up with the latter, and it's a dangerous path.
According to Epidemiology of Eating Disorders, in America, 20 million woman and 10 million men will suffer from what is considered a clinically significant eating disorder during their lifetime. These include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or OSFED.
Additionally, when you sign up for a fad diet, the habits aren't sustainable and you'll probably end up yo-yoing. As a general rule, if you eat well and stay active at levels that you can realistically incorporate into your lifestyle, you're more likely to keep it up.
But that doesn't mean numbers are all bad. Numbers can be good when portioning food so that we eat only until we are satisfied, not overly full, and calculating our BMI (body mass index, while not a perfect measure, is a useful indicator for you if you are age 20 or older because it helps determine how much fat is in your body).
Scroll below to learn more and see a reasonable Ideal Height and Weight Chart for Women. Your height is a good predictor for your weight, but keep in mind that your DNA and environment are also key factors.
Body image is a deeply sensitive topic for many people, especially young women.
There are many societal pressures that may affect how people feel about their own body.
Magazines make sure to highlight celebrity weight gain.
As a public figure, it isn’t all glamour. You’re scrutinized not only for the things you do but also for the way you look.
They also celebrate their weight loss.
While it isn’t a bad thing to celebrate weight loss, especially if someone worked hard for it, magazines often use unrealistic titles that lead us to set unrealistic goals for ourselves.
Body-image pressure comes from the media, peers, and sometimes even family.
We can’t exactly escape any of these things. So, if a young person’s friends are always talking about weight or if a family member often brings it up (this happens in certain cultures), it could be affecting them in a negative way.
Many of us end up with unhealthy eating habits.
Some of us come to a point when food is all we think about, especially if you’re depriving yourself of it. Some people end up going on periodic binges.
We also feel bad when our clothes don't fit.
Another main contributor to negative body-image is clothing size. We think that we have to wear a certain size and when we don’t fit into it like other people do, we wonder if something is wrong with us.
What factors play a part in your ideal weight?
When we’re younger, our bodies are constantly changing. For women, our bodies continue to grow throughout our early 20s. If you’re interested in finding a healthy target weight, it really depends on your age, body mass, and height.
Here's the chart we mentioned earlier.
You might have noticed that although other charts have taken your height into the account, they’ve left out your frame.
This is not a perfect chart, because it does not factor in things like medical conditions, but it is a more reasonable starting point than others.
How do I get to my ideal weight?
If you’re outside of your ideal weight, try to figure out why. Don’t assume that everything you’re doing is wrong, because there are some things that you can’t change, like your DNA.
One of the first things you should review is your diet. Are you eating clean? Are you eating enough of a variety to get all the nutrients you need?
In addition to eating well, stay active.
Stay active and challenge yourself, but don’t push yourself over the edge. Hate running? Find some other form of cardio. Make it fun and interesting. If you don’t have time, implement some small changes. Park further away. Make it a thing to go on a walk after lunch.
The point is to start something that you can continue for a very long time. If you can only keep it up for a month, then chances are that the results you’ve worked so hard for will slip away to old habits.
The next time you obsess over numbers, remember this.
If you’re working out a lot and wondering why you aren’t seeing any changes in your weight, remember that you might burn some fat initially, but you’re also going to be building muscle. You’ll feel stronger and more lean if you continue to exercise. It’s much more important to focus on how you feel.
It's slowly getting better.
Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign received both positive and negative feedback from critics and consumers alike. Some women expressed that they felt as though Dove was reflecting their insecurities back at them while others celebrated its message, to embrace the bodies we’re born with. One ad isn’t an answer, but it’s a good conversation starter.
This chart shows how different bodies and frames support different strengths.
Even athletes vary differently from one another. What strengths are important to you? What exercises are important to you? Try some new things out to find out.
It isn't always bad to compare.
When you find celebrities with a similar body shape, you can steal their outfit ideas. They often have professionals to style them to look their most attractive. If you focus on the way your clothes hang on your body rather than obsessing over the size, then you’ll always look and feel great.
Here's another helpful chart.
If you can’t find your body shape, keep looking! There’s nothing wrong with the shape of your body. We all have different ones.
Wherever you're at, we hope that you can learn to love your body.
Loving your body means you take care of it. You don’t try to jam pack it in size zero jeans (unless that’s your normal size), you eat a variety of food for all the right nutrients, and you stay active.
Next, one man's photograph was Photoshopped by people in different countries to show their standards of perfection.