How Much Should I Weigh?

How Much Should I Weight - 1Are you wondering how much should I weigh? To determine how much you should weigh, the following factors have to be considered:

  • Gender
  • Height
  • Age
  • Muscle to fat ratio
  • Body frame

But before we go into that much detail, let’s do a quick high-level check using the BMI (Body Mass Index) approach. There are limits to it, but the BMI gives you a fairly good estimate of how much you should weigh. You can use the BMI calculator below to determine how healthy your current weight is, and use the BMI table below to determine what you should weigh.

Another quick way to determine how much you should weigh is the famous ideal weight table for men and women depending on body type (small frame to large frame) published by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

In terms of BMI score, here are general guidelines of what your BMI score means:

  • BMI score of 18.5 or less: You are underweight
  • BMI score between 18.5 and 25: Your weight is ideal
  • BMI score between 25 and 30: You are overweight
  • BMI score over 30: You are obese

BMI Calculator


BMI Chart

You can see in the below chart what weight ranges are considered Normal, Overweight, Obese or Extremely Obese, based on the person’s height.

How Tall Are You? Normal Weight (in lbs.) Overweight (in lbs.) Obese (in lbs.) Extremely Obese (in lbs.)
4 ft 10 in 91-118 119-142 143-190 191 or greater
4 ft 11 in 94-123 124-147 148-197 198 or greater
5 ft 0 in 97-127 128-152 153-203 204 or greater
5 ft 1 in 100-131 132-157 158-210 211 or greater
5 ft 2 in 104-135 136-163 164-217 218 or greater
5 ft 3 in 107-140 141-168 169-224 225 or greater
5 ft 4 in 110-144 145-173 174-231 232 or greater
5 ft 5 in 114-149 150-179 180-239 240 or greater
5 ft 6 in 118-154 155-185 186-246 247 or greater
5 ft 7 in 121-158 159-190 191-254 255 or greater
5 ft 8 in 125-163 164-196 197-261 262 or greater
5 ft 9 in 128-168 169-202 203-269 270 or greater
5 ft 10 in 132-173 174-208 209-277 278 or greater
5 ft 11 in 136-178 179-214 215-285 286 or greater
6 ft 0 in 140-183 184-220 221-293 294 or greater
6 ft 1 in 144-188 189-226 227-301 302 or greater
6 ft 2 in 148-193 194-232 233-310 311 or greater
6 ft 3 in 152-199 200-239 240-318 319 or greater
6 ft 4 in 156-204 205-245 246-327 328 or greater

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company – Ideal Weight Table

Starting in the 1940s, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company has calculated the ideal weight to determine who would get their best life insurance rates. Their thinking was that if you have a healthy weight, the likelihood of your dying prematurely is minimized.

IDEAL Weight Chart for Women

Below table shows ideal weight in pounds with indoor clothing (assumed to weigh 3 pounds)

Height with 1-inch heel shoes Small Frame Medium Frame Large Frame
4 ft 10 in 102-111 109-121 118-131
4 ft 11 in 103-113 111-123 120-134
5 ft 0 in 104-115 113-126 122-137
5 ft 1 in 106-118 115-129 125-140
5 ft 2 in 108-121 118-132 128-143
5 ft 3 in 111-124 121-135 131-147
5 ft 4 in 114-127 124-138 134-151
5 ft 5 in 117-130 127-141 137-155
5 ft 6 in 120-133 130-144 140-159
5 ft 7 in 123-136 133-147 143-163
5 ft 8 in 126-139 136-150 146-167
5 ft 9 in 129-142 139-153 149-170
5 ft 10 in 132-145 142-156 152-173
5 ft 11 in 135-148 145-159 155-176
6 ft 0 in 138-151 148-162 158-179

IDEAL Weight Chart for Men

Below table shows ideal weight in pounds with indoor clothing (assumed to weigh 5 pounds)

Height with 1-inch heel shoes Small Frame Medium Frame Large Frame
5 ft 2 in 128-134 131-141 138-150
5 ft 3 in 130-136 133-143 140-153
5 ft 4 in 132-138 135-145 142-156
5 ft 5 in 134-140 137-148 144-160
5 ft 6 in 136-142 139-151 146-164
5 ft 7 in 138-145 142-154 149-168
5 ft 8 in 140-148 145-157 152-172
5 ft 9 in 142-151 148-160 155-176
5 ft 10 in 144-154 151-163 158-180
5 ft 11 in 146-157 154-166 161-184
6 ft 0 in 149-160 157-170 164-188
6 ft 1 in 152-164 160-174 168-192
6 ft 2 in 155-168 164-178 172-197
6 ft 3 in 158-172 167-182 176-202
6 ft 4 in 162-176 171-187 181-207

4 Measures To Determine Your Ideal Weight

Now let’s go into more detail factoring in:

  • Gender
  • Height
  • Age
  • Muscle to fat ratio
  • Body frame

There are 4 measures (BMI, Waist to Height Ratio, Waist to Hip Ratio, Body Fat Percentage) to determine what your ideal weight should be. If you are looking for an answer that would tell you what your exact weight should be (for example that YOU should be weighing 115.2 pounds or 180.3 pounds), no measure will be able to tell you that.

What the 4 measures will be able to tell you is, given your circumstances, what is a healthy weight range for you where you have no increased health risk of developing illnesses like cancer, diabetes or heart problems.

How Much Should I Weigh - 21. Body Mass Index (BMI)

This measure just focuses on weight and height. This is a good method for people with an average body frame and average muscle-fat ratio. If you are very muscular, this measure will not work for you. Since this measure focuses just on weight and height, it does not differentiate between a 200 pound muscular athlete and a 200 pound couch potato. Read more about Body Mass Index.

How Much Should I Weigh - 42. Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR)

This measure focuses on your waist measure and height and has shown to be a better predictor of health risks than the BMI. Source: Wikipedia Read more about Waist to Height Ratio.

How Much Should I Weight - 33. Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR)

This measure focuses on your waist measure and hip measure and has shown to be a better predictor of health risks than BMI or WHtR. Source: Wikipedia. Read more about Waist to Hip Ratio.

How Much Should I Weight - 4a4. Body Fat Percentage

This measure focuses on how much fat you have in your body (total fat in pounds divided by your total weight in pounds). While the body fat percentage can be used by everyone, it is especially useful for athletic people with significantly more muscle mass than average. Read more about Body Fat Percentage.

 

Which Method Should You Use?

How Much Should I WeighIf you are not a muscular athlete or body builder, BMI, while not perfect as explained above, is a very good tool for figuring out how much you should weigh.

In addition, you should also measure your Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR) and your Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR) periodically to determine if you are at risk of developing health issues like cancer, diabetes or heart problems in the future. Just remember to use the adjusted BMI ranges (10% up or down) if you have a large or small body frame.

If you are a muscular athlete or body builder, BMI will not work for you. It will show you as overweight, when you are really fit. The best solution for you is to check your body fat percentage, and also measure your Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR) and your Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR).

As explained above, there is no tool out there that can tell you exactly (in pounds and ounces) how much you should weigh. However, the tools explained above can tell you if your weight is in the normal range, and if you have an increased risk of developing health issues like cancer, heart problems or diabetes. If you are not an above average muscular person, if you have a good BMI score, a good WHtR score and a good WHR score, you are most likely in really good shape from a body weight perspective.

How the “Ideal” Figure Changed Over the Last 500 Years

Just for fun, it’s interesting to see how the “ideal” figure for women changed over time. As we grow up in a certain time and place we tend to accept whatever we see around us as normal, and may evenmake the assumption that things have always been that way. But that is not true. Take a look at how much the “ideal” or “desirable” figure changed just in the last 500 years.

How Much Should I Weigh - 1600sIn the 1600s….
This is how the famous painter Peter Paul Rubens depicted the ideal female body around 1600. Looking voluptuous was a sign of good health and wealth. Obese by today’s standards, but seen as the perfect body back then.
How Much Should I Weigh - 1880sIn the 1880s…..
The full figured body is still seen as the ideal female body, as depicted by the famous painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Looking voluptuous was still considered a sign of good health and wealth. Also looking pale meant that you did not have be outside in the sun, which at the time was a sign of wealth.
How Much Should I Weigh - 1920sAround 1920s….
The 1920s brought a big change. Out was the typical female figure, in was a more boyish figure (no chest, no waist) and shorter hair. Some women would even bind their chests with strips of cloth to achieve a more boyish look.
How Much Should I Weigh - 1950sAround 1950s...
Starting in the 1940s and certainly in the 1950s, the fully figured woman was back to being the ideal figure. Marilyn Monroe (shown left) was the sex symbol of the 1950s. By today’s Hollywood standards she may be seen as a little chubby.
Around Mid-1960s…
In the 1960s the ideal female body meant to be thin again, very thin. Twiggy (Lesley Lawson) became the sex symbol in the 1960s, barley skin and bones.

How Much Should I Weigh - 1980s 1990sIn the 1980s & 1990s…
Starting in the 1980s women started working out and exercising, keeping their bodies fit and toned, and curves started to be back in fashion.
The 1990s was the age of Madonna, Cindy Crawford and Pamela Anderson continuing the trend of skinny yet fully figured and toned women.
How Much Should I Weight - 2010sIn the 2010s…
It has become slightly complicated. Thin is still in, but curvier women are making their way back into the scene.
On the left is Christina Hendricks from the TV Show “Mad Men.”
In summary, the ideal figure today is ideal by today’s standards, and every generation thinks they have the truth cornered. As you are trying to determine and reach your ideal weight and figure, it’s helpful to keep that mind 🙂

 



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One Response to How Much Should I Weigh?

  1. Ashley Cook says:

    This is a really helpful article. Thanks for making everything so easy to understand.

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