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What Is A Healthy Weight?

8/17 14:35:42

What Is A Healthy Weight?


Since my childhood there has been an epidemic of obesity in America. Obesity is associated with the most common diseases that kill people. Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S. It is closely associated with obesity. The fact is your weight matters when it comes to your health and living an abundant life. So what is a healthy weight? Let's first consider some history...

When I was in elementary school there was one morbidly obese fellow. We didn’t treat him very nicely and I am sure his spirit was broken by that. The school had over 500 children in it…all but one were at an acceptable body weight. The school had over 50 teachers, administrators, and other support personnel…all were at acceptable weight.

Something has happened to cause the increase in obesity among Americans (and worldwide too). The dramatic increase in average body weights is not due to a genetic mutation. Random mutations would never affect a culture as swiftly as obesity had affected America and the world.

The answer must be in the environment. Environmental effects can be immediate. Just think of recent epidemics of Ebola, or Polio, or Breast Cancer, or Lung Cancer…sudden increases in the incidence of disease (incidence is defined as the number of new cases of a disease per year in any given group) is reflective of an environmental cause.

Epidemiological studies (the study of epidemics) have shown that the food and eating habits of people have changed. Most developed cultures moved from a farm based economy to an industrial economy at the turn of the 20th century. Instead of people growing their own food or purchasing it directly from farmers, they began to buy food from centralized stores. Doing this removed the direct accountability that the farmer had to the consumer.

The post WW II consumer trusted the providers of their food for its’ production and preparation. As the small, organic farms (nearly all farms were organic at the turn of the 20th century) were replaced by mega-farms, the accountability to the consumer decreased further. The mega-farms exchanged the organic farming methods for high tech processes that included huge utilization of herbicides (organic farming removes weeds from cash crops by hand).

In addition to the farming changes, eating habits changed. People mostly ate their own prepared food for centuries until the post WW II era. As a child I cannot recall going out to dinner. We nearly always ate dinner at our home or someone else’s. As our cultures industrialized (and more recently turned to a white collar-technical base) people ate prepared food. The prepared food did not have the focus on health that self-prepared food does.

The key to your achieving your “ideal body weight” will be you dedicating yourself to eating organically and preparing your own food.

Now let’s proceed to what Ideal Body Weight is…


Ideal Body Weight (IBW) is a concept. The calculation of IBW is a general estimate of what your body weight should be by certain parameters (click here for calculation) such as age, gender, and height.

Like any physiologic calculation, the formula has certain assumptions that are important but cannot be mathematically accounted for. For instance, you can be very physically fit but be below you IBW. This is what is seen in a marathon runner. Body type varies from person to person and cannot be easily accounted for in a mathematical formula.

Furthermore, IBW may vary under different circumstances. You may need to carry extra body weight if you anticipate a long period of not eating (such as a Special Operations soldier). The IBW formula does not account for extremes of activity.

So really IBW is an estimate or starting place for health.


IBW was devised by observing longevity statistics (variables associated with long life), disease statistics (variables associated with disease), and other variables that could be measured. Therefore, IBW is not an absolute measure of your health. It is not necessarily the best weight for you under all circumstances.

One cannot make prophetic statements that you will live longer if you are at IBW. The formula does not take into account if you are going to contract an infection that could take your life. It also does not take into account if you will be hit by a car or some other sort of trauma.

IBW does not take into account your familial genetics. Although we can now measure you unique genetic tendencies with some skin cells from your mouth, the correlation with future disease is still being researched.

Finally, IBW does not take into account your temperament or spirituality. Both of these qualities dramatically impact your longevity. There is no mathematical construct for these.

So IBW is a guide that should not be used as the “holy grail” of health.


IBW is used to give people a starting point for health. When human beings are followed over time it is very apparent that, as a group, the people at IBW live longer and more actively. You can think of it as a journey that has no end (even if you achieve the calculated IBW…you will have to maintain it).

IBW makes sense. The more weight a person carries the more general strain there is to their anatomy and physiology. Longevity physicians estimate that every human body has a maximal life expectancy if taken care of (the latest statistic is estimated to be 160 years).

The heart has to pump harder the more tissue there is that needs blood (and nearly all human tissue needs blood). Every physiologic system of the human body is connected so with more weight comes a greater strain on these systems too. You need more hormones, more neurotransmitters, and more nutrients as your weight goes up.

In like manner, by reducing your weight towards IBW the general strain on all your body systems goes down. If you already possess certain diseases and you lower your body weight towards IBW you may notice the diseases disappear or reduce (consider Diabetes Mellitus for instance).

It should be the goal for every human being to attempt to achieve their IBW (or as close as possible).

Just how would you do this? I discuss this in the next section…


It actually isn’t complicated. What you must do is reduce your total calorie intake below what you need every day and you will lose weight. Even if you do not think you eat too much, if your weight is stable (but not at IBW) you are in an equilibrium of being overweight. Once you achieve any stable weight you are in equilibrium between your caloric intake and energy needs.

To lose weight you have to disrupt the metabolic equilibrium. To lose weight you have to take in less calories than you need every day. The easiest way to do this is to prepare your meals as you usually do then divide the meal in half (to be eaten the next day).

This way you will only have to prepare meals every 2 days. You will have decreased your total daily intake of calories by 50% without having to enroll in an expensive diet program. While doing this increase your plain water intake at each meal. You can drink as much water as you like as it contains no calories.

You do not have to increase your activity, or buy special food, or join a gym to do this. A little trick to dieting is to eat all your daily food in a 12 hour period. What you essentially are doing is fasting 12 hours every day.

Nutritional studies in mice showed that 2 groups of mice fed the same amount of calories, 1 group given all their calories in 12 hours, the other group given their calories over 24 hours…the 12 hour group gained less weight. The same has been observed in humans.

So by simple portion control, a 12 hour fast daily, and plenty of water you can reduce your body weight. The result of lowering your body weight towards IBW may be dramatic. Energy increases, alertness improves, and your sex life will improve.

Just think of it…all these benefits and all you had to do was read this article.


I have reviewed for you the history of obesity in the US, the calculation of Ideal Body Weight, what IBW is and isn’t, and a very simple diet. You are now ready to change your health and begin to live a more abundant life.

If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me.

Wishing you a long and healthy life,


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